Bonhams Magazine

Issue 54, Spring 2018

Page 80

In and out of Bonhams salerooms

Asia Week

To mark New York's Asia Week in March, Bonhams will host six carefully curated Asian art sales. Buddhist sculpture is particularly well represented this year. In the Chinese Works of Art Sale (19 March) there is a rare grey limestone figure of Maitreya [right] from the Northern Wei dynasty, and an exquisite Celadon-glazed double-gourd vase from the Qianlong period (bottom left, estimate $60,000 - 90,000). A stunning Edo era (1615-1868) tagasode folding screen (shown above), depicting garments against a background of gold leaf, will be offered in the Fine Japanese Art Sale. The screen, which shares a number of features with a notable pair in Tokyo̓s Nezu Museum, is estimated to fetch $25,000 - 35,000. The sale will also feature an awe-inspiring pair of temple guardians (left, estimate $50,000 - 70,000) from Japan's Kamakura era (1185-1333). These enormous figures are most commonly seen outside temple gates, whre their fierce expressions keep the grounds free of demons. Meanwhile, a fine ten-panel Korean screen depicting Pyongyang in the 19th century (below) will be offered in the Korean sale, estimate $25,000 - 35,000. The week also includes works by masters such as Xu Beihong and Qi Baishi, both from the collection of Dr Gregory Dahlen, which will lead the Chinese paintings sale, along with art by other 20th-century masters.

Roaring success

Each February, the imposing glass domes of Le Grand Palais in Paris, provide a dramatic backdrop for Les Grandes Marques du Monde, Bonhams̓ opening European motor-car sale of the year. Highlights of this year̓s €15 million sale included the Tiffany blue ex-Earl Howe, ex-Pierre Levegh 1935 Bugatti Type 57T, which sold for €713,000, and a new world record was set by the sporting 1926 Bentley 3-litre Red Label Speed Model Tourer when it sold for €701,500. Diamond watches, bronze sculptures and Lalique glass mascots were also offered during the marathon eight-hour sale.

Charity auction

In November, Bonhams teamed up with the Anglo Jordanian Society to host to a charity auction of contemporary art. The sale, held at New Bond Street in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Hassan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan, featured works by leading Jordanian and Arab artists. The profits raised by the sell-out sale will be used to support the princess̓s work providing much needed food parcels and clothes for some of the poorest families in Jordan.

Venus in furs

In 1968, Richard Avedon photographed Judy Garland for a Blackglama fur company ad campaign. The advert, which showed the Hollywood legend wrapped in a luxurious mink, was for Andy Warhol the epitome of glamour. Later, in 1985, when he created the silkscreen portfolio Ads, which comprised ten advertisements that he felt had changed American culture, he included this one, Blackglama. The original ad campaign was in black and white, but Warhol's silkscreens were issued in colour in an edition of 190 prints. Bonhams is offering one of the unique trial proofs on 22 May in New York at the Prints and Multiples auction. Over the years, six of these portraits have come to auction, but in this one Warhol has captured the haunting quality of Garland's face, and – with the mink almost unrecognisable – the tag line "What becomes a Legend most?" takes on a completely different meaning, as if Warhol were asking that question about his own place in the pantheon of the artworld.

Enquiries: Deborah Ripley +1 212 644 9059

Poster boy

Richard Barclay has joined Bonhams as its Vintage Poster consultant. Barclay established the poster department at Christie's in the 1980s and has since advised numerous collectors, auction houses and museums – including the V&A, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. Barclay said, "Vintage posters have been a lifelong passion, and I look forward to placing my knowledge and enthusiasm at the service of our clients." Barclay's first offering, a selection of vintage travel posters, will be part of the 12 April Decorative Art and Design sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge.

Enquiries: Richard Barclay

Field of gold

One of the most sought-after female artists in the world, Marisa Merz (b. 1926) recently enjoyed a major solo exhibition at the Met Breuer in New York. An exquisite and rare painting by her from 2013, the year in which she was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale, is now offered by Bonhams in the Post-War and Contemporary Art sale in London on 7 March. It is estimated at £30,000-50,000. The apparent simplicity of this work is belied by Merz̓s complex choice of materials and the way she handles three-dimensional space. The painting seems timeless, its gold-painted surrounds and intimate presentation within a wooden box making it a kind of contemporary devotional icon.

Enquiries: Giacomo Balsamo +44 (0) 20 7468 5837

Movie magic in Hong Kong

In January, at the newly opened Murray Hotel in Hong Kong, Bonhams partnered with FilmAid Asia as the official auctioneer for the charity̓s glittering annual Film Gala. The sale raised HK$3.8 million, which will improve the lives of those displaced by war and natural disasters in Asia and Hong Kong. FilmAid uses films, radio and journalism created by refugees to engage their communities, providing them with information about rights, safety, health and well-being, as well as running public information campaigns. The gala event was attended by celebrated names from the art and film industries, both in Hong Kong and across the globe. Among the film stars, models and singers in attendance were Celina Jade, Jamie Campbell Bower, Cissy Wang, Ludi Lin, Josie Ho, Chin Han, Michelle Goh, and Nadia Hatta.

Monumental alabaster
The sculptor and artist Antoni Casamor – often known simply as Antón – was a contemporary and friend of Salvador Dalí, whose artistic influence he absorbed. His figures of St Joseph and St James appear on the façade of Girona Cathedral. Casamor used to display his renowned collection of art and antiques in his villa, close to the historic Catalan city. That collection, which will be offered in London on 21 April, boasts several works by the master himself, as well as wonderful Italian and Spanish paintings, sculpture and furniture dating from the 12th to the 20th century. Highlights include a breathtaking 15th-century Sicilian alabaster figure of the Trapani Madonna, which is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

Enquiries: Charlie Thomas +44 (0) 20 7468 8358

Tender is the Knight

When Laura Knight painted the charming portrait of the de Peyer family on their seaside holiday in 1931, she knew her friends were a talented musical bunch. She could hardly have predicted, however, that young Gervase – depicted confidently astride a horse – would grow up to be a world-famous clarinettist, with the Principal desk at the LSO and countless recordings to his name. On Knight's death in 1970, Gervase bought her London home and hung the painting, A Seaside Holiday, in her studio as a tribute to a lifelong friendship. Dame Laura, as she became, is Britain's best-loved 20th-century artist. A Seaside Holiday (estimated at £100,000-150,000), offered in the 19th-Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art sale in London on 14 March, is a key example of her pivotal role in the development of mid-century British painting, as well as an affectionate tribute to the family it portrays.

Enquiries: Charles O'Brien +44 (0) 20 7468 8360

Barrelling along

The great and the good from the world of wine gathered at Bonhams in November for a spectacular charity dinner and auction in aid of the Institute of Masters of Wine Endowment Fund. Thanks to the astonishing generosity of the Institute's members and supporters, bidders competed for some never-to-be-repeated lots, including an evening with Screaming Eagle winemakers – and their wines, of course – which went for £150,000; a mouth-watering exclusive stay at Bordeaux superstar châteaux, Le Pin and Cheval Blanc, sold for £145,000; and a tour-to-end-all-tours of top Burgundy Domaines across the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, that secured a winning bid of £90,000. In all, the evening raised more than £1.1 million for the Fund, which will enable the Institute to extend its global scope, enhance the support it gives to Members worldwide and, crucially, encourage the Masters of Wine of the future.

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