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Sotheby's announces highlights included in the Asia Week Sales Series in New York
Francis Newton Souza, Golgotha in Goa. Oil on plywood. Signed, titled and dated 'F.N. SOUZA / Golgota in Goa (sic), 1948' on reverse. Bearing distressed label with 'Date of Painting 1948 / ... Exhibit II / ... Medal if previously won No! / ... (Title) of Picture GOLGOTA IN GOA ((sic) / 400 / ... Artists Francis Newton SOUZA / Name & Address 174 Carnac Rd. / Crawford Market' on reverse, 35 ½ x 35 ⅜ in. (90.1 x 89.8 cm.) Painted in 1948. Estimate $250/350,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s unveiled the contents of its upcoming Asia Week sale series in New York. Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Asia Week New York, the sales feature an exceptional group of over 1,150 lots spanning centuries of artistic production. All eight auctions in the series open for public exhibition in Sotheby’s New York galleries beginning 14 March, with auctions taking place from 18 – 23 March.

Christina Prescott Walker, Senior Vice President & Division Director of Asian Art, commented: “We are pleased to offer a wide range of high-quality Asian Art once again this season, at price points from $500 to over $1,000,000 and ranging from Contemporary to Ancient in date. A large number of the works offered have exceptional provenance, and many appear on the market for the first time in a generation.”

Auction 18 March @ 11:00AM

The Asia Week series opens with our auction of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art. Highlighted by a spectacular array of art by some of the most important and avant-garde artists from India, the sale is highlighted by F.N. Souza’s Golgotha in Goa – a rare work painted in Bombay in 1948 and included in the artist’s fourth solo show at the Bombay Art Society that year, which demonstrates the profound influence of Catholicism on Souza’s personal and artistic development (estimate $250/350,000). While Souza was an incredibly prolific artist across his nearly-seven-decade career, works from this formative period remain incredibly rare – less than 20 paintings by Souza from the 1940s have ever appeared at auction, marking this as a major event in the artist's market. The work remained in the artist’s personal collection until just a few years prior to his passing, and was acquired by a fellow Goan private collector who cherished it as long as he lived.

Further auction highlights include several early Maqbool Fida Husain paintings from his Japan and Banaras series, as well as iconic works by Jagdish Swaminathan, Sayed Haider Raza and Ram Kumar. The auction also features a diverse selection from the Bengal School of Art, as well as Pakistani contemporary art.

Auction 19 March @ 10:00 AM

The week continues with an exceptional selection of Chinese gilt-bronzes, weapons, jade animals, Buddhist sculpture and pottery collected by Stephen Junkunc III. The works span China’s antiquity, dating from the Neolithic to the Ming Dynasty periods, offering a fascinating insight in the rituals, religions and politics of the times.

At its height in the mid-20th century, the Junkunc Collection numbered over 2,000 examples of exceptional Chinese porcelain – once including two examples of the fabled Ru ware – jade, bronzes, paintings and Buddhist sculptures. The collection serves as a testament to a period of unprecedented abundance of important Chinese material available in the West, as well as Junkunc's limitless intellectual curiosity, coupled with the means and savvy to acquire internationally from the leading dealers in the field.

Many rare works highlight the 19 March auction, including an Exceptional Gilt-Bronze Dragon that belongs to a small number of free-standing sculptures produced during the Six Dynasties period (estimate $100/150,000). Striking for its powerful dynamism and slender elegance, the dragon, beyond its well-documented associations with the heavens and as a symbol of the emperor, also represented one of the four cardinal directions (the Green Dragon of the East). An Exceptionally Rare and Important Archaic Bronze Ceremonial Halberd Blade (GE) from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, Early Spring and Autumn Period (estimate $200/300,000) also highlights the sale. This bronze halberd blade bears an important twenty-character inscription that reveals the name of its original owner Qu Shutuo of Chu. Twentieth century scholars, using only published ink rubbings and drawings of the present halberd, have attempted to match Qu Shutuo to members of the Qu family recorded in historical texts. The reemergence of the Chu Qu Shutuo Ge provides a great opportunity for the advancement of scholarship, as the inscription raises fascinating new questions in understanding the true identity of its original owner and the historical context surrounding him.

Auction 19 March 2019 @ 11:00AM

Sotheby’s will present jades from the private collection of Robert Youngman in dedicated auctions in both New York and Hong Kong this spring. The sales kick off in March with a sale offering more than 70 jades from the collection across 4,000 years of Chinese art, from the Neolithic to Qing dynasty.

A menagerie of jade animals and figures spanning from 1200 – 1800 AD will highlight the sale, featuring: a Ming Dynasty Yellow and Russet Jade Figure of Zhou Yanzi, a carving depicting the Confucian parable of Zhou Yanzi, a boy who bravely cloaked himself in deerskin among a herd of does to collect milk to reverse his elderly parents’ blindness (estimate $40/60,000); a White and Gray Jade Carving of a Hare, which embodies the Song dynasty approach of essentialist carving in which the fundamental nature of the animal is conveyed through its body language alone and stripped of superfluous detail (estimate $30/50,000); and a rare Song-Ming Dynasty Yellow and Russet Jade Carving of a Tapir, known for its mythical properties believed to eat nightmares in East Asian legends (estimate $80/120,000). Jade carvings of tapirs are exceptionally rare, and within this small group, the present carving was produced particularly early and bears atypical physical features and exceptional quality of stone and carving.

Auction 19 March @ 2:00PM

Following the success of KANGXI: The Jie Rui Tang Collection in March 2018, we are pleased to present another selection of Kangxi-era ceramics from the Collection of Jeffrey P. Stamen. Built over a 30-year period, the Jie Rui Tang collection is one of the finest, most comprehensive assemblages of Kangxi porcelain in private hands.

This upcoming sale features examples of major ceramic categories representative of the period, led by The Fonthill ‘Phoenix’ Vase, a Magnificent and Rare Rose-Verte Rouleau Vase from the Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period (estimate $300/500,000). The vase previously belonged to famous Victorian era collector Alfred Morrison, who designed his Fonthill estate to display his impressive collection of Chinese porcelains, including the present piece. Only one other similar vase of this form, massive size and distinctive palette is known, sold in our April 2017 Hong Kong auction.

Auction 20 March @ 10:00AM

The Important Chinese Art auction features nearly 300 works dating from the Neolithic to Republic periods and comprising all major collecting categories – notably early bronzes, Buddhist sculpture, ceramics, imperial porcelain, jades and classical furniture. The selection is highlighted by an Exceedingly Rare and Important Complete Set of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment by the Qianlong Emperor, Dated Qianlong Bingyin Year, Corresponding to 1746 (estimate $300/500,000). Every detail in the production of this Sutra reflects the supremacy of imperial quality, executed to the highest standards overall. The Lotus Sutra is known to have been copied by the Qianlong Emperor to celebrate the birthday of his mother, the Empress Dowager Chongqing. The present Sutra also has a long collecting history in the West, that can be traced to Bernard Alfred Quaritch, a German bookseller who opened a bookshop in London in 1847 specializing in old and rare books, which still exists today.

The sale is also led by a group of 22 jades offered from The Art Institute of Chicago. Many of the works were previously held in the Nickerson Collection, gifted to the Art Institute in 1900 and exhibited in the museum the same year. Highlights of the collection include two exceptional Qing dynasty jade brushpots, A Rare White Jade ‘Imperial Procession’ Brushpot (estimate $800,000/1,200,000) and A Finely Carved Spinach-Green Jade ‘Scholars’ Brushpot (estimate $400/600,0000), each fashioned from superlative quality stone and deeply carved in the round to form a virtual diorama. Produced during the mid-Qing dynasty, the cylindrical forms of jade brushpots yield a suitably large, continuous, and regular pictorial surface onto which they could translate complex compositional narrative scenes. Jade brushpots of this type possess not only the continuity of a scroll painting but also the volumetric illusionism of sculpture.

Auction 21 March @ 10:00AM

The week continues with an array of objects created over the course of 20 centuries in South Asia and the Himalayas, including sculptures in bronze and stone such as an impressive 7th Century Buddha from Eastern India, as well as fine miniature paintings and ritual and devotional works such as a spectacular cloth painting (Paubha) from Nepal. A group of exceptional thangkas is led by A Thangka Depicting a Hevajra Mandala, numbered 26th in a series of which at least 18 other paintings are known (estimate $800,000/1,200,000). The series represents perhaps the finest of all mandala painting from Tibet in the fourteenth century. Designed and painted with exquisite attention to detail and vibrant palette, this painting has been unseen since it was first acquired by a collector in the early 1970s.

Auction 22 March @ 10:00AM

The Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy sale will offer an outstanding group of works with exceptional provenance. The auction is led by Poems on Falling Flowers in Running Script, a rare and extraordinary handscroll previously collected by Wu Hufan and kept in wonderful condition, written by Shen Zhou in the style of Huang Tingjian during his late period (estimate $1.2/1.8 million). Following the loss of his son, Shen Zhou wrote a set of ten poems with a falling flower theme, perhaps inspired by seeing their colors in nature or because he was then able to allow his feelings of sadness to be expressed. In the spring of 1504, Shen Zhou shared these poems with his students at the Wu School, who composed poems in response, resulting in an exchange of 90 poems which became a celebrated story in the study of Chinese calligraphy and literature. The sale also features an exceptional Lotus and Rock painting by Chen Hongshou (estimate $1/1.5 million). Marked by exceptional provenance, the work was previously in the private collection of modern ink master Zhang Daqian.

Auction 23 March @ 10:00AM

Asia Week concludes with Saturday at Sotheby’s: Asian Art, presenting over 350 lots of fine and decorative Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art. Set at attractive estimates ranging from $500 to $30,000, offerings include ceramics, imperial porcelain, furniture, lacquerware, thangkas, jades, snuff bottles, paintings and calligraphy. Highlights include A Set of Four Iron-Red and Gilt Porcelain “Three Kingdoms” Panels, Republic Period from The Junkunc Collection (estimate $20/30,000); He Huaishuo’s Travellers & Passing Through (estimate $15/25,000); Weng Luo’s Flower and Insects (estimate $6/8,000); and the second and final tranche of Indian and Himalayan art from the Estate of the late Mrs. Angela Jucker-Grunauer, following the successful presentation of the first half of her Estate in our September 2018 Saturday sale.

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