Modern Sculptures and Eastern Treasures
07 July 2016
Fine Art Auction 28 & 29 June
The June Fine Art Auction had an excellent induction to the inaugural dedicated Modern & Contemporary Sculpture section on day one, with German artist Heinz Mack, clearing estimates of £8,000 – £12,000 and reaching a final price of £24,600 for his Untitled, Light Relief dated ’59, [Lot 465] as it was fought out by two European buyers on the telephone and internet.
Founder of the art movement: Group Zero, abstract sculptor and former painter; Mack works mostly in sheet metal or aluminium – exploring movement, textures and the effects of light. He continues to live and work in Dusseldorf and the offered lot comes with a certificate of authentication from the artist.
Continued highlights from the Modern Sculpture section saw impressive results for works by British artist Adrian Sorrell, his Bronze ‘Owl’ numbered 1/10 including a foundry stamp ruffled feathers by exceeding it estimate and reaching £2,335 [Lot 457]
The afternoon continued with strong sales in paintings notably; [Lot 611] ‘Ron’s Plaice’ by Brian Hagger’s oil on canvas dated from 1978 surpassed all estimates realising a final amount of £1,660.
Brian Hagger, British 1935 – 2006, was best known for his work of Fulham & Chelsea and later Brighton. During the 1960s and 70s Hagger took to the streets of Chelsea and documented the scruffy side of life, before Chelsea became the fashionable area it is today.
While his name didn’t reach national acclaim, his body of work is one that shows a valuable history of the areas, His illustrative style appeals to many, creating a steady stream of sales, which would eventually lead him to exhibiting in many London galleries and having a spot at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
He moved to Brighton in the early 70s to teach and continued to document the world around him – An avid drawer he took sketchbooks and pencils with him wherever he went.
Family circumstances meant he eventually settled in Norwich, painting Coastal scenes but, was quoted as saying “I have not yet found a theme to replace the London series.”
A final highlight from the painting section was [Lot 662] from Iranian painter – Yervand Nahapetian 1916-2006.
Exterior of a Mosque; in watercolour, signed and dated 1955: together with two other watercolours by the same artist depicting gardens and architectural elevations by a Mosque, and camel trekking near a mountain range, both signed and dated 56 & 53 respectively saw a high sale figure.
Born to a relatively poor family in Esfahan, Nahapetian was forced to leave his studies to work to support his family. He worked as an accountant and was also drafted into the Persian military. He trained under Iranian artists such as Kachaturian and Hagg Mosaver Molky. Bidding finished at £2,580.
Day two had an older feel in comparison to the first day with the Tribal Art section presenting a number of ancient eastern treasures – [Lot 1038] An Egyptian serpentine shabti fragment of Late Period, probably depicting Akhenated, the lower section only, inscribed with four vertical lines of hieroglyphs, with name erased from lower left corner, proved popular among bidders across all platforms. It reached a final price of £2,460.
Asian Arts saw international bids across all platforms and with a strong presence in the room saw furious battles ensuing over the more unusual pieces in the curated sale.
Lot 1374 A large Chinese porcelain bitong, Kangxi, painted in underglaze blue with a continuous scene depicting an Emperor at court with attendants and warriors, partially unglazed flat base with glazed recess, unmarked, 16cm high x 18cm diameter. With provenance from Sir Anthony Hastings George KCMG impressed buyers. Bidding concluded at £7,625.
Sir Anthony Hastings George KCMG was born in 1886 at Drumalla, Ballymena Ireland. In 1903 he left Malvern College to read for the diplomatic service exam, and in 1908, was posted to the legation in Peking as a student interpreter, having entered the Diplomatic Service in China Consular Service. In 1915 he was promoted to be second assistant and after ten years of service in 1926, he was appointed a Vice-Consul in China.
On 27 September 1929 Sir Anthony was appointed as Consul-General in China and only months later, in January 1930, he was further promoted to Commercial Secretary, of the Second Grade, at the Legation in Peking to Minister Sir Miles Lampson. In 1938 he was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for his service to the embassy and two years later he became British Consul-General in Shanghai and in 1943 he was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George and in that same year moved to the USA as His Majesty’s Consul-General to five states. Sir Anthony died on 9 January the following year having never fully recovered from amoebic dysentery contracted during his internment in Shanghai.
Lot 1468 A large Chinese porcelain vase, iron red Qianlong seal mark but Republic, finely painted in iron red and gilt heightened with a folktale scene and inscribed with part of related poem by Fengbo (the ‘Mad Monk’), painted to the shoulder with the emblems of the Eight Immortals, 33cm high
Provenance was acquired in the 1950s by Francesco Turnaturi, Italian trade minister and close friend of Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, and thence by descent.
The bearded official depicted on this vase is Qin Kuai, a chancellor or high official of the Song dynasty. He is widely regarded as a traitor for his role in the execution of the general Yue Fei and folktales have been written to condemn his actions. This vase shows a scene from Tale of the Eastern Window where Fengbo the ‘Mad Monk’ meets Qin at the Lingyin Temple to have his fortune read. Fengbo confronts him about his treachery and ‘sweeps his broom’ across Qin’s face causing him great embarassment and shame.
The Eight Treasures, or babao, are represented by four main categories of symbols or antique objects. Depicted on this vase are eight emblems which represent each of the Eight Immortals of Taoism.
Bidding escalated to an impressive £4675.
The star lot of the auction was lot 1474 a further piece from the collection of Sir Anthony Hastings George KCMG proving once again good provenance really is important in achieving top prices.
A Chinese porcelain famille noir brushwasher, underglaze blue, Kangxi six character mark and of the period, with petal moulded sides and painted to the interior in famille verte enamels with a carp amidst crashing waves beneath clouds and the moon, partially unglazed base, 14cm diameter.
Chinese scholar’s objects are always highly sought after, and this particular brushwasher is a rare shape, exhibits a rare and popular famille noir ground and is painted with an interesting scene. The scene depicts a carp beneath a moon in crashing waves. As this depiction appears on a scholar’s brushwasher, the more imaginative connoisseur might consider this to have been a gift to an official during emperor Kangxi’s reign, to congratulate him on passing his civil service exams; the leaping fish in this instance is a metaphor for a scholar, having passed civil service exams, rising out of obscurity to high official status
Objects which were included within the Asian Art of Symbolism sub-section sold particularly well, showing that the market is still incredibly strong and bidding competition is fierce for particular objects, in this case, objects which carry an interesting subtext through their decoration and good provenance.
The single plate surpassed all estimations with figures climbing into the tens of thousands. The hammer finally came down to a bidder in the saleroom at £34,440.
The next Fine Art Auction takes place on the 6 & 7 September with a featured section of Decades of Design.
Prices include Buyers Premium of 23%.
For further information please contact Charlotte Meddings email@example.com +44 (0) 20 8761 2522
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