FOREST HILLS, N.Y., Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Kyo Wu, the trusted art historian who founded Lester Ramsey Auctions in 2010, said his team left no stone unturned in preparing for a Dec. 6 Fine Chinese Works of Art Auction. "We went off the beaten path to track down exciting discoveries that would be fresh to the marketplace," Wu said.
More than half of the goods in the top-tier 260-lot auction selection came directly from American collections with noteworthy provenance, Wu said.
Important jades include examples from the Yuan Dynasty (1160-1368) all the way through to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). "Using large, beautifully carved Chinese jades as lamp bases was a practice made popular by Bensebott's in Chicago as well as Yamanaka and Edward I. Farmer (1872-1942) of New York City. These lamps were popular among America's elite industrialist families from around 1900 through the Art Deco period," Wu noted.
Lot 75 is just such a piece and can be traced to the estate of Senator William Andrews Clark (1839-1925) of the immensely wealthy Clark family, which earned its fortune from mining and banking and was on par with the Vanderbilts and Morgans. The white jade carving turned lamp base depicts an immortal carrying a branch of peaches, a flywhisk and a gourd. It stands 11½ inches tall and is attributed to the Qianlong period (1735-1796).
"We've seen interior pictures of Senator Clark's 100-room Fifth Avenue mansion. It was filled with extraordinary Chinese and European art. This jade came from the senator's collection, which passed by descent through the Clark family and was auctioned at Christie's in a sale titled 'The Clark Family, An American Dynasty,'" Wu said. The venerable jade is expected to make $25,000-$35,000.
Like the Clark family jade, Lot 57, an intricately carved soapstone tableau depicting eight Chinese immortals, was mounted to a lamp base attributed to eminent Chinese art collector and silversmith Edward I. Farmer. The 14-inch landscape carving comes with provenance from an important Cape Cod collection.
Lot 69 meets all the criteria for a genuine Chinese jade from the Yuan Dynasty (1160-1368). The celadon jade carving, which comes from a Texas private collection, depicts the mythological winged beast "Chimera" and exhibits distinctive Yuan characteristics. "The style of ears, the upward-turning nose, and the subject matter itself are all evocative of carvings from the very desirable Yuan period," Wu said.
Several particularly fine gilt-bronze Ming Dynasty Buddhas will take the auction spotlight. Lot 19 might be concealing a "gift with purchase," but only an X-ray can reveal the truth, said Wu, describing an antique Chinese bronze Buddha that has attracted multiple queries regarding its sealed base. "For its size, this is a very heavy Buddha – the type that could have been sealed with precious items inside, sometimes things made of solid gold."
An intriguing mystery, Lot 124 is an antique Chinese silver pocket watch that Wu described as "an unfinished story that's still being researched." Wu explained that the Chinese have had a fascination for clockwork mechanisms that goes back to the 18th century. "The little moving gears, the ability to track the movements of the sun – to the Far East at that time, it was like magic." Wu believes the pocket watch in his sale, which has elaborate Chinese hallmarks and writing both inside its case and on its face, was made in China for the Chinese market, but that its clockwork movement is likely European.
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SOURCE Lester Ramsey Auctions