BEVERLY HILLS, CA.- Last year I.M. Chait took a different approach in planning their Asia Week sale. Rather than conducting the popular annual auction in New York amid the frenetic environment of Asia Week, they opted to hold the sale in the comfortable, low-key environs of their Beverly Hills gallery. That way, reasoned company founder Isadore M. Chait, visitors traveling from Asia to New York could stop over in Los Angeles and get a relaxed head start on their buying. Chaits experimental 2013 California-based sale was a smashing success, taking in $3.4 million. This year, their Asia Week auction will be held at the firms Beverly Hills gallery on March 23rd, the Sunday immediately following Asia Week New York.
Were confident that Asia Week buyers will say the best was saved for the last stop on their itineraries before returning home this year, said I.M. Chait Director of Operations Joshua Chait. The selection weve prepared reflects our clients broadening tastes and interest in exploring new areas of art. In addition to the ongoing demand for classic Chinese porcelains and antique ivories, which hold a place of reverence with collectors, weve noticed that Asian art buyers are becoming more interested in bronzes, calligraphy, carved jades, fine jewelry and gems; embroidered silks, and Japanese prints and screens. We kept those trends in mind in curating the collections and pieces chosen for March 23rd.
Several noted collections lead the auction lineup, including the exceptional Chinese snuff bottle collection of real estate developer F. Trammell Crow (1914-2009), which opens the sale. Nearly 100 bottles are cataloged, including examples carved from ivory, agate, glass, chalcedony, quartz crystal, jadeite and jade; and other precious and semi-precious materials. A rare and exquisitely detailed lac burguate snuff bottle is in the form of a lady in a mother-of-pearl inlaid dress, playing a stringed instrument. Estimate $1,500-$2,000. Another figural bottle, depicting an empress holding a fan and a musical instrument, doubles as a brooch/pendant and is estimated at $1,200-$2,500.
Fine Chinese ceramics from two collections include treasures of the Han, Tang, Yuan and Ming Dynasties, plus Transitional and numerous Qing pieces. Large (15½ inches) and important, a 14th-century Yuan Dynasty blue and white porcelain jar exhibits ovoid form with unusually molded dragon-fish handles. The body is decorated with narrative scenes depicting Xiao He on horseback pursuing Han Xin by moonlight. Exceptional in every way, it is estimated at $150,000-$250,000.
Leading the bronzes is a superb 15th-century early Ming Dynasty Xuande gilt-bronze Bodhisattva in a graceful seated pose. The 9 7/8-inch figure is elaborately decorated with cast jewelry, headdress and other adornments, and is expected to make $250,000-$350,000 at auction.
A selection of rare, scholarly Chinese calligraphy scrolls comes to auction with provenance from the Songwon Collection and the Young-Ig Min and Pyong-U Min family. Among the offerings is a pair of finely detailed ink and color on silk scroll paintings, each with a depiction of a Lohan or one who has followed the Eightfold Path and achieved deliverance of earthly existence. Each of the signed and sealed scrolls measures 94½ by 27 inches, and together they are expected to achieve $12,000-$15,000. A Chinese ink and color on silk landscape painting by Pu Ru is inscribed and signed, with two artists seals and an additional collectors Chongsog (Pyong-U Min) seal. The 22½-inch-long artwork is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.
An exercise in perfection, a 16-piece carved ruby matrix tea set with gilt mountings and accents includes a covered teapot with carved dragon inside, a chocolate/water pot, creamer, four claw-foot shallow dishes, four dragon-form tea cups, serving accessories and a carved dragon centerpiece. A thick ruby zoisite freeform slab serves as the tray. A sensational work of art, the set is entered with a $160,000-$180,000 estimate.
An antique oil-on-panel painting by Ivan K. Aivazovsky (1817-1900) adds a Russian accent to the sale. Dated 1849, the 10¾ by 15½-inch seascape depicts a ship in the distance beneath a softly diffused sun, with cresting blue-green waves in the foreground. Auctioned previously at Sothebys (in the 1970s), the painting is offered by I.M. Chait with a $70,000-$90,000 estimate.
Magnificent jewelry may be found in many forms in the March 23rd auction. A pair of chic, square-cut ruby-with-diamond cluster earrings in the style of Van Cleef & Arpels replicate flowers with distinctly formed petals. The earrings have a total ruby weight of (approx.) 40 carats and are mounted in 18K yellow gold. Estimate: $12,000-$15,000. Among the other treasures in this category are Imperial jadeite pieces, diamonds and other gems; watches and clocks; fine pens, Tiffany and Chinese export silver; and Faberge-style objects.
Superior-quality prints and screens from an estate local to Beverly Hills include pieces by Toko Shinoda, Kyoshi Saito, Karhu and other prestigious artists. Pre-Columbian and South Pacific primitive art from two other California collections will also be offered.
I.M. Chaits Asia Week Important Chinese Paintings, Ceramics & Works of Art Auction will take place at the Chait gallery on Sunday, March 23, 2014, commencing at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. The gallery is located at 9330 Civic Center Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com.