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Two day auction at Bonhams San Francisco showcases Chinese art from private collections
A fine Ruyao-type vase, Qianlong mark and of the period. 10 3/8in (26.4cm) high. Estimate: $100,000-150,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- More than 400 lots of Chinese works of art from American collections will be offered on the first day of a two-day auction dedicated to Asian art in San Francisco, December 17 and 18. Featuring fresh-to-the market private collections of jade, scholar’s objects, textile works of art, ceramics and paintings - many collected in the 1920s and 1930s, this exclusive auction of Fine Chinese Works of art on December 17 offers exceptional objects in every category of collecting for the discerning collector.

The sale commences with fine jades and scholar’s objects from the collection of Emmanuel Gran, an architect and major collector of Chinese art who brought his collection to the United States in 1941 after living and collecting in China for more than 20 years. Residing in California in the 1940s, he then moved to New York where he worked as an architect for the Hilton hotels. He sold many pieces from his extensive collection to major collectors and dealers prior to his death in 1969. The 100-plus superb small jades and scholar’s objects from the 17th-19th centuries to be offered here at Bonhams have been retained by the family until now. This collection is complemented with fine jades from the Harold E. Stack collection, and a fine white jade covered censer, Qianlong, from the collection of Mary J. Reynolds, among many other exceptional jade carvings.

Fine textiles and works of art from the collection of Mary Snite Boardman will be featured in this sale. Collected in Beijing, China in the late 1930s, they are part of an important collection passed down through the family, which Bonhams is offering this auction season in San Francisco and New York. The textile collection features fine late 18th and 19th century embroidered and brocade throne covers, along with elegant silk carpets and runners. A rare partial suit of ceremonial armor, Late Qing dynasty, from the collection of William G. Thompson (1896-1978) (est. $60,000-80,000) is among the offerings, along with Late Ming/early Qing rank badges from the same collection. A fine gilt bronze figure of Ushnishavijaya, 18th century, from a private Denver collection, is one of many Chinese and Tibeto-Chinese gilt bronzes to be sold.

Early ceramics from the Myers collection and the Russell Wherritt Trust will also highlight the sale. A collection of Daoguang blue and white and enameled bowls will be featured. A rare Ruyao-style vase, Qianlong six-character mark and of the period, from a Pacific Northwest collector, as well as a fine Geyao dice bowl, Qianlong, will be among the Qing imperial porcelains to be offered. A very rare pair of enameled plaques by Wang Qi, dated 1932, is among a large East Coast collection of Republic period plaques to be offered. Sixty lots of classical, modern and contemporary ink paintings will close the sale, featuring paintings by Qi Baishi, Liu Haisu, Deng Feng, Zhao Shao’ang, Zhang Daqian, Li Keran and Liu Guosong.

The Asian Decorative Art auction on the second day consists of more than 700 lots of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Himalayan and Southeast Asian works of Art. Top lots include a Meiji period monumental exhibition bronze by Suzuki Masayoshi (est. $20,000-30,000), a Korean Goyreo bottle vase (est. 4,000-6,000) and a Nepalese bone necromancer's headdress and apron (est. $4,000-6,000). The largest portion of the sale is devoted to Chinese works of art, featuring more jades and scholars' objects from the collection of Emmanuel Gran; a large dragon panel, 19th century (est. $5,000-7,000); and other textiles from the estate of Mary Snite Boardman; a good selection of Ming and Qing porcelains from the estate of Oskar Gerson; and 60 lots of Chinese classical and modern paintings.

The illustrated catalogs for the two-day sale will be available online at

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