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Spring Blooms at Christie's Japanese and Korean Art Sale
Park Sookeun, Two Seated Women, 1964. Estimate: $350,000-400,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010.
NEW YORK, NY.- On March 24, Christie’s will offer Japanese and Korean Art, which will include over 160 traditional and modern works of art. The Japanese section of the sale will feature a noteworthy group of paintings of beauty and the erotic, and the Korean section will offer an exquisite group of ceramics and an array of classical to contemporary paintings.

Japanese Art
Leading the sale is an enchanting pair of six-panel screens entitled Cherry Blossoms at Mount Yoshino by an anonymous artist (16th-17th century) (estimate: $350,000-400,000). The charming panorama of delicately painted white blossoms and gold-leaf clouds unfolds over the two screens with the Yoshino River in the foreground. Though there is no narrative or any architecture present, the stunning landscape of Yoshino has been praised by generations of poets and artists over many centuries.

A superb selection of Japanese erotic art by Utamaro, Hosukai and Kyosai, three of the most prolific artists in Japanese history, will be offered. Utamakura (Poem of the Pillow) by Kitagawa Utamaro is an early, complete set and includes twelve erotic scenes that range from the tender to the terrifying (estimate: $100,000-150,000). The sale will also include Namichidori (Plovers above Waves) by Katsushika Hosukai, a famous erotic set from the 1830’s edition (estimate: $120,000-180,000); and Hell Courtesan (Jigoku dayu), a hanging scroll by Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-89) (estimate: $250,000-$300,000), a highly published and exhibited scroll that features the beautiful Hell courtesan attaining redemption with the aid from the eccentric Buddhist priest and poet Ikkyu.

Arms and armor are well represented in the sale and features a striking white and orange-laced Gomaido Gusoku with the helmet signed by Masanobu, Edo period (17th century) (estimate: $80,000-100,000) and a Bizen Katana, Kamakura Period (late 13th-early 14th century), a fine and rare work by the first Normitsu who worked in the school of Nagamitsu of Bizen province (estimate: $70,000-90,000).

The sale also features several exceptional examples of contemporary tea bowls. Leading this section is an earthenware tea bowl named “Gyoin” (Imperial Seal) by Raku Kichizaemon XV (b. 1949) (estimate: $80,000-100,000). Kichizaemon XV is the current generation of the illustrious Raku family and superstar in the world of modern chanoyu, the practice of tea. He succeeded as the 15thgeneration head of the Raku lineage in Kyoto that has made tea wares for tea masters since the Momoyama period. Like his predecessors over the past four centuries, Kichizaemon XV makes tea bowls, water jars and vases, forming his wares by hand, without use of the potter's wheel and firing in a small, bellows-driven kiln.

Additional highlights include a wonderful group of Noh masks including a Muromachi period Noh mask of Yase Otoko (Emaciated Man) (estimate: $50,000-60,000) and a Noh mask of Manbi, named “Kohime” (Little Princess), Edo period (estimate: $35,000-45,000).

Korean Art
The Korean Art portion of the sale includes both ancient and contemporary pieces. Leading the group of blue and white porcelains is a rare blue and white porcelain jar, Joseon Dynasty (18th century) (estimate: $500,000-700,000). Dating to the 18th century, its amazing condition is a true testament to Korean craftsmanship. A jar of this scale and quality was probably made for the royal family and was decorated by a court painter. Other prized porcelain pieces include a large white porcelain jar and cover, Joseon Dynasty (15th century) (estimate: $400,000-450,000) and a blue and white porcelain bowl, Joseon Dynasty (19th century) (estimate: $30,000-35,000).

Christie’s also will offer several examples of modern Korean paintings such as Park Sookeun’s Two Seated Women, 1964 (estimate: $350,000-400,000). Consigned by a private collector, the poetic work features women clothed in hanbok, or traditional Korean costume. In its original frame, the figures are simplified almost to the point of abstraction. The sale also features contemporary art including Kang Ik-Joong’s Happy Buddha H 10 H, a colorful mixed media of Buddha on wood, 2006 (estimate: $18,000-22,000); and Kim Myong Hi’s Dongja (estimate: $15,000-20,000), a large oil pastel of a young boy riding an ox, with a background of Korean Buddhist sutra verses. Additional contemporary works include Mother and Child, 1973, by Han Kisuk (estimate: $5,000-6,000), Byun Chonggon’s Mona Lisa and typewriter, 1996 (estimate: $5,000-6,000), and three paintings by Wonsook Kim with estimates ranging from $5000 to $10,000.

Christie's | Japanese and Korean Art Sale | Utamaro | Hosukai | Kyosai |

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