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Carlton Rochell Asian Art to Participate in Winter Antiques Show at Park Avenue Armory
Seated Buddha. Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India. Kushan Dynasty, c. 150-175 C.E. Red sandstone. Height: 47 ¾ in. (121.5 cm.).

NEW YORK, NY.- Carlton Rochell, specializing in art from India, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia, will exhibit museum-quality works ranging from the 1st century A.D. to the 19th century at the Winter Antiques Show, a first for this collecting category at the fair. The Winter Antiques Show, celebrating its 57th year as the preeminent antiques show in America, will showcase 74 renowned international dealers specializing in American, English, European, Antiquities and Asian fine and decorative arts. Carlton Rochell will add a new dimension to this already multi-faceted art show, and his exhibition will include works from several prestigious private collections.

The highlight of the exhibition is a monumental seated Buddha carved from mottled red (sikri) sandstone, representing an important moment in the formation of Indian art. This sculpture is probably the largest surviving extant seated Buddha associated with 2nd-century Mathura in North India, the center of the Kushan Empire. The Kushan Dynasty (1st-3rd century CE) represents a turning point, or watershed, in the history of Indian art. The ateliers at Mathura built upon earlier pre- Kushan artistic traditions and forged a style that exerted an incalculable influence upon subsequent centuries, notably in the formation of Gupta art, beginning in the 4th and 5th centuries. The Gupta style was in turn instrumental in the direction artistic styles took in Central Asia and early China. Powerful yet reassuring, this exquisite early image of the Buddha would be an important addition to any major museum or private collection.

Another ancient Buddhist image, also created during the Kushan period, is a preaching Buddha imbued seated in a meditative posture and imbued with a sense of dignified serenity. This work was created in the ancient region of Gandhara (located within the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan), which is well known for the Hellenistic artistic influence derived from trade with the Mediterranean. The Buddha wears a long-sleeved monastic robe (sanghati) of heavy material that covers both of his shoulders and falls over his body in thick folds, masking his underlying physique. In front of his chest his hands are poised in dharmacakra mudra, a gesture of teaching. His heavy-lidded eyes are downcast beneath gently arching brows, and his lips are turned up in a gentle, benevolent smile. The circular urna in relief at the center of his forehead is the only interruption to his otherwise flawless complexion. His hair, on the other hand, is arranged in finely carved, wavy strands that have been drawn up on top of his head to cover his domed usnisa. Behind his head a circular nimbus, an indication of his enlightened status, is adorned with a fragmentary cylindrical finial at the top. Ancient Gandharan art has always been a popular style in early Indian art for museums and collectors in the West. A major traveling exhibition focused on Gandharan art will open at the Asia Society in February 2011.

From South India, three important Chola Dynasty sculptures cast in bronze will also be exhibited. Two images of Shiva and a charming, youthful image of Krishna are included, ranging in date from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The ateliers in the Tamil Nadu region were producing many artistically superb images for the massive Hindu temple complexes that dot the eastern side of the southern peninsula of India. Even the French artist Rodin wrote about the tour-de-force casting and quality exhibited in the sculpture from this period in India. Many of the sculptures retain a rich, emerald-green patina created from being buried in soil for centuries. The image of Krishna depicts him in his most popular form as a young boy dancing joyfully and holding his right hand in a gesture (mudra) of reassurance, or “freedom from fear”, directed towards the worshipper. The deity’s left hand is gracefully outstretched in a movement of dance. The young boy is naked except for his sumptuous jeweled ornaments alluding to his status as a pampered, royal child.

From the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet, several sculptures and paintings will be shown. Of particular note is a Tibetan scroll painting (thanka) depicting a portrait of Tashipal, also known as Taglung Thangpa Chenpo (1142-1210), the founder of the Taglung monastery and the Taglung lineage within the Kargyupa school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is represented here in the company of his guru and spiritual ancestors, as well as numerous protective deities. Through translation of inscriptions on the reverse of the painting, and based upon careful stylistic comparisons with other portraits of Tashipal and paintings of the 13th century, this work may be placed as one of the earliest known portraits of the hierarch, perhaps even 1st quarter of the 13th century. The condition and color preservation is simply magnificent.

As a precursor to the sculptural glory of Angkor, works from the Bakheng period are magnificent and stately in their grand scale, elegant proportions, and dignified presence. Such stylistic tendencies are visible in this torso of a female divinity whose hourglass form is clothed in a long sarong (sampot), beautifully pleated and held in place by an ornate, jeweled girdle as is characteristic of the period. Although majestic, the figure is also imbued with a wonderful sensuality, which is even more prominent in later Baphuon figures. Rarely offered in the current market, several superb female Bakheng figures are housed in various museums internationally. A complete female in the collection of the Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet in Paris, and the torsos of two devatas, one in the collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the other in the collection of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, are comparable to the present example in scale, proportion and style.

Carlton Rochell spent the first eighteen years of his career at Sotheby's, where he founded the Indian and Southeast Asian Art Department in 1988. He handled important works of art from such well-known collections as Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller, Carter Burden, Alice Heeramaneck, William S. Paley, Mrs. James Alsdorf, Mr. and Mrs. Klaus Perls, and Earl Morse. Later, he became the Managing Director of China and Southeast Asia and Head of the Asian Departments worldwide, as well as a highly regarded auctioneer. Souren Melekian wrote “At Sotheby’s, Carlton Rochell in New York raised his auctions of Indian art, now held during Asia week, to world eminence in the last two or three years.”(International Herald Tribune, July 26, 1997) Carlton Rochell opened his gallery in October of 2002 and has handled important works of art from renowned collections including Mr. and Mrs. Jack Zimmerman, Dr. David R. Nalin, and Wesley and Carolyn Halpert. Holland Cotter of the New York Times in his review of the inaugural exhibition wrote “The arrival of a new, open-to-the public gallery devoted to Indian and Southeast Asian art is an event for the city; such showcases are few and far between…although Himalayan and Cambodian bronzes are among the most exquisite items, the gallery is dominated by several large-scale sculptures of a kind we rarely see outside museums.” Mr. Rochell has sold to well-known institutions in the field including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Gallery of Australia, as well as to distinguished private collectors.

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