A yellow « dragon » bowl, Mark and Period of Jiaqing (1796-1820), 15 cm. Estimate: HKD 15,000-25,000. Price Realized: HKD 48,300. ©2014 China Guardian Auctions Co.,Ltd.
China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 Autumn Auctions.
1949 - 1950, 1960-1961, Alberto Giacometti, Annette Giacometti, Annette sitting atelier, Bust of Annette, ca. 1927-1930, ca. 1960, Four women on a pedestal, Grande femme IV, Grande woman IV, Great woman IV, La Boule Suspendue, La Cage, La Clairière, La Femme qui marche, Le Couple, Quatre femmes sur socle, The Cage, The Glade, Woman walking
Annette Giacometti, Alberto Giacometti in the courtyard of the studio with the cast of the Great woman IV, 1960. Archives of the Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
MILAN.- The ‘Alberto Giacometti’ exhibition which opened today at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan covers the entire artistic trajectory of one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. The show features absolute masterpieces like La Boule suspendue, Femme qui marche, La cage, Quatre femmes sur socle, Buste d’Annette and the monumental Grande femme IV.
Curated by Catherine Grenier, chief curator and director and of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti in Paris, which is providing 60 works from its collection. The show is promoted by the Milan City Council – Culture and produced by the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, and 24 ORE Cultura – Gruppo 24 ORE. It is the first of four major sculpture exhibitions that will be staged by the recently refurbished GAM.
Sculptures, paintings and drawings executed between the 1920s and 1960s enable the visitor to follow Giacometti’s artistic development, from his beginnings in Switzerland to his mature period, spent mostly at the studio in rue Hippolyte-Maindron, Paris. The works are arranged chronologically and divided into five sections, each based on different themes. This will make it possible to follow the artist’s entire career, from his debut influenced by Post-Cubism and Surrealism to his late period marked by a constant quest for a truth that eluded him.
The exhibition is accompanied and completed by a selection of drawings and sketches, archive images, personal and masterpieces of great photographers, which will help the visitor to contextualize Giacometti’s artistic process from the Surrealist period to his last years.
The sections of the exhibition
The first section introduces the visitor to Giacometti’s private world through sculpture portraits of his father, his mother Annetta, his brother Diego and sister Ottilia, and then to the works he made in Paris – where he moved on his father’s advice – after 1922, which were the product of the Cubist climate in the city during that period.
Alberto Giacometti, Head of the father, Round III, ca. 1927-1930. Bronze, 28 x 19 x 22.8 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
In 1931 Giacometti adhered to Surrealism, to which he had been introduced by Cocteau, Masson and the Noailles. The second section features works created during this intense period (he drifted away from the movement in 1935): real masterpieces, such as La Femme qui marche, conceived as a mannequin for the Surrealist Exhibition in 1933; Le Couple, which clearly reveals his interest in African art, and the still more famous La Boule Suspendue, described by Dalì as the prototype of “objects with a symbolic function” – a key issue in Surrealist thought.
Alberto Giacometti, sphere suspended, in 1931 (version 1965). Gypsum and metal, 60.6 x 35.6 x 36.1 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
Alberto Giacometti, The Couple, 1927. Gesso and traces of pencil, 60.4 x 37.7 x 18 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
Alberto Giacometti, Woman walking [I], 1932 [1936 version]. Bronze, 150.3 x 27.7 x 38.4 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
The third section attests to the innovative research Giacometti conducted by working from life: the portraits were made on a reduced scale – they were only a dozen centimetres high – and the head soon became his main focus. On display are the two versions of Tête de femme, from 1935 and 1938, which prefigure the painted and sculpted heads from the 1950s and 1960s.
This section also documents the period when Giacometti began working again after the war, upon his return to Paris in 1945. It was then that he started to create his stringy effigies, hieratic, motionless figures rigidly arranged on thick bases or inside cages that determine their spatial limits. These are represented in the show by Quatre femmes sur socle of 1950, La Clairière and La Cage of the same year.
Alberto Giacometti, Four women on a pedestal, 1950. Bronze, 73.8 x 41.2 x 18.8 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
Alberto Giacometti, The Glade 1950. Bronze, 58.7 x 65.3 x 52.5 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
Alberto Giacometti, The Cage, first version, 1949 – 1950. Bronze, 90.5 x 36.5 x 34 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
The fourth section illustrates the artist’s research on the rendition of the head, anticipated in the portraits of Rita and Diego, and well evident in the paintings and sculptures of Giacometti’s maturity. He chose as models the people closest to him, such as his wife Annette (Buste d’Annette, 1962), his brother Diego (Buste de Diego, 1964), the Japanese philosopher Yanaihara (Buste de Yanaihara, 1961), and his mistress Caroline. Both in painting and in sculpture Giacometti worked intensely in his ceaseless quest for the truth of the model.
Alberto Giacometti, Annette sitting atelier, ca. 1960. Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
Alberto Giacometti , Bust of Annette [said Venice], 1962. Bronze, 46.2 x 26.5 x 16.2 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
The fifth section features the artist’s late works, bringing the exhibition to a close. In 1958 Alberto Giacometti worked in the creation of the monumental sculptures Grande tête (1960–1966) and Grande femme IV (1960–1961), whose rugged surface heightens their dramatic quality. They are the largest ever executed by the artist. In the exhibition these sculptures are juxtaposed with two portraits of a man and woman with their arms resting on their thighs in the manner of ancient sculptures. The four pieces share an intense gaze, directed straight ahead and lost in an almost prophetic beyond.
Alberto Giacometti, Grande woman IV, 1960-1961. Bronze, 270 x 31.5 x 56.5 cm. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate by SIAE in Italy, 2014
The Feuilles de Groseillier brooch, part of one of the most beautiful parures of the 19th century, was commissioned by Empress Eugenie to Bapst Jewellers in 1855. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd, 2014.
GENEVA.- On November 11, 2014 Christie’s Geneva will present Empress Eugenie’s Feuilles de Groseillier brooch, which has not been seen at auction for over 125 years.
The French Crown Jewels once constituted one of the largest jewellery collections in the world, but very few examples in original condition survived to this day. It is therefore extremely rare for a jewel of such historic importance to be offered for sale.
The Feuilles de Groseillier brooch, part of one of the most beautiful parures of the 19th century, was commissioned by Empress Eugenie to Bapst Jewellers in 1855. It is designed as a cluster of three openwork currant leaves centering upon a larger cushion-shaped diamond, suspending three detachable articulated pampilles, set throughout with old mine-cut diamonds. Of exquisite design, this jewel is a stunning example of the exceptional quality of the creations of Bapst Jewellers. This fabulous historic jewel is estimated at CHF 1,900,000-2,900,000 / $2,000,000-3,000,000.
Born into a family of ancient Spanish nobility in 1826 in Granada, Eugénie de Montijo married Emperor Napoleon III in 1853. A woman of great elegance, beauty and charm, she was a leader of European fashion and assembled a large collection of jewels, mostly commissioned from Bapst Jewellers, Court Goldsmiths for generations and safe keepers of the French Crown Jewels. Empress Eugenie favoured Alfred Bapst’s subtle creations, in particular his foliage designs suspending aiguillettes or pampilles of which the present brooch is an iconic example.
The Parure de Feuilles de Groseillier comprised a guirlande, worn as a necklace; a tour-de-corsage, worn directly on the dress and a devant-de-corsage brooch. In 1870, at the fall of the Second Empire, Empress Eugenie and her husband Napoleon III moved to England, leaving behind most of the Crown Jewels. 17 years later, the French government conducted a 12 day-auction, from May 12 – 23, 1887 where all the belongings of the French Royal Family were offered for sale, including the jewellery. Several of the larger pieces were broken up prior to the auction so the stones could be sold individually. The guirlande was sold as 8 parts of lot no. 11 and the present brooch was acquired by Tiffany & Co., who was the largest buyer at this legendary auction.
A few decades later the Feuilles de Groseillier brooch was gifted by the Metropolitan Opera of New York as a tribute to the famous opera singer Madame Lucrezia Bori (1887-1960). A Spanish soprano, who had sung at La Scala in Milan, Madame Bori made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1910 singing the title role of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. During 20 seasons at the Met, she appeared 654 times, performing the leading roles in 39 operas. Her immense contribution to the Metropolitan Opera and famous portrayals of Mimi in La Bohème and Violetta in La Traviata led her to be the first performer elected to the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera Association.
On the night of her farewell gala, on 29 March 1936, the Feuilles de Groseillier brooch was presented to Madame Lucrezia Bori by Mrs. Vincent Astor, on behalf of colleagues of the Metropolitan Opera Board and a large group of friends and admirers. A devoted member of the Board of Directors, Madame Lucrezia Bori continued to work actively for the Metropolitan Opera until her death in 1960 and in her will, she bequeathed the brooch to the Metropolitan Opera where it has been exhibited since.
Empress Eugenie by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1853. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd, 2014.
Empress Eugenie’s Feuilles de Groseillier brooch. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd, 2014.
‘Landscape’ Brushpot, Calligraphy, Dong Qichang, Fish-Basket' Vessel, grisaille-decorated, Huang Binhong, Imperial Famille-Rose Beijing Enamel, Imperial Famille-Rose Beijing Enamel Gu-Shaped Vase, Liu Guosong, Lou Zhenggang, Marco Polo, Pan Tianshou, Qi Baishi, Qianlong, Qing dynasty, ru-type, Seal Mark And Period Of Qianlong, Wen Zhengming, Xiao Xu, Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian, Zhang Lu, Zhu Yunming
Telephone bidding operators at the China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 Autumn Auctions, JW Marriot Ballroom, Oct. 6.
HONG KONG.- Following two days of intense bidding, the China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 Autumn Auctions successfully concluded yesterday with a total auction turnover of HKD 343 million.
China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd. President Ms. Hu Yanyan expressed: “We are happy to see China Guardian’s highlight categories of Chinese paintings and calligraphy and contemporary art do continuously well, with results exceeding those achieved in the Spring Auctions. Meanwhile we are also excited to see a marked increase in interest in our ceramics and jadeite auctions, reflected in the session’s transactions results nearing HKD 100 million. Overall, we are pleased with the total results, which were very much in line with our estimates.”
Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Four Seas
The China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 Autumn Auctions took off on Monday, October 6, in the ballroom of JW Marriot. Starting off at 10am, the first auction session “Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Four Seas” attracted strong competition throughout the day between collectors raising their paddles onsite and those bidding over the phone. Finally ending shortly after 7pm, the session saw a number of outstanding results, including “Sailing Boats” by Pan Tianshou going for HKD 6,325,000; achieving HKD 4,370,000; “Seven-Character Couplet in Running Script” by Xu Beihong achieving six times its price estimate at HKD 3,910,000; “Cottages Shielded by Trees“ by Huang Binhong reaching over four times its price estimate at HKD 2,300,000, and “Pomegranates” by Qi Baishi fetching over twice its price estimate at HKD.
Pan Tianshou (1897-1971), « Sailing Boats », 64 x 49 cm. Hanging scroll; ink and colour on paper;Signed Leipotoufengshouzhe, dated 1964, with three seals of the artist. Estimate: HKD 1,200,000-1,800,000. Price Realized: HKD 6,325,000. Photo China Guardian
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), ”Green and Blue Landscape“, 50 x 73 cm. Mounted for framing; ink and colour on paper;Signed Yuanweng, dated dingsi, 1977, with three seals of the artist. Estimate: HKD 1,800,000-2,800,000. Price Realized: HKD 4,370,000. Photo China Guardian
Xu Beihong (1895-1953), “Seven-Character Couplet in Running Script”, 177 x 33 cm. Hanging scroll; ink on paper;Signed Beihong, dated jimao, 1939, with two seals of the artist;Illustrated: Refer to Chinese text. Estimate: HKD 600,000-800,000. Price Realized: HKD 3,910,000. Photo China Guardian
Huang Binhong (1865-1955), “Cottages Shielded by Trees“, 34 x 103 cm. Mounted for framing; ink and colour on paper;Signed Huang Binhong, dated gengchen, 1940, with two seals of the artist. Estimate: HKD 600,000-800,000. Price Realized: HKD 2,300,000. Photo China Guardian
Qi Baishi (1864-1957), “Pomegranates”, 133 x 39 cm. Hanging scroll; ink and colour on paper;Signed Jieshanlaoren, Qi Huang, with one seal of the artist. Estimate: HKD 1,000,000-1,800,000. Price Realized: HKD 2,185,000. Photo China Guardian
Knowing: Classical Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Le Yi Studio Collection
Starting at 8:30pm on Monday, October 6, the second session “Knowing: Classical Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Le Yi Studio Collection” was particularly popular with collectors, with Wen Zhengming and Zhu Yunming’s “Attractive Scenery of Wu Shan Mountain; Calligraphy” setting a record price for the session at HKD 9,027,500. Other highlights included Zhang Lu’s “Landscapes and Figures” achieving HKD 5,175,000, and Dong Qichang’s “Five- Character Poem in Running Script” exceeding its price estimate by three times at a transaction price of HKD 4,485,000.
Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), Zhu Yunming (1460-1526), “Attractive Scenery of Wu Shan Mountain; Calligraphy”, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), 35.5 x 295 cm. Handsroll; ink and colour on paper; ink on paper. Signed Zhengming, Zhishan Yunming, dated gengwu1510, xinsi1521, with four artist seals and ten collector seals. Estimate: HKD 6,000,000-8,000,000. Price Realized: HKD 9,027,500. Photo China Guardian
Zhang Lu (1464-1538), “Landscapes and Figures”, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), 33 x 59 cm. Alubm of six; ink and colour on paper. Signed Pingshan, with ten artist seals and two collector seals. Estimate: HKD 4,000,000-5,000,000. Price Realized: HKD 5,175,000. Photo China Guardian
Dong Qichang (1555-1636), “Five- Character Poem in Running Script”, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), 174 x 58.5 cm. Hanging scroll; ink on satin. Signed Dong Qichang,with three artist seals and one collector seal. Estimate: HKD 1,800,000-2,800,000.Price Realized: HKD 4,485,000. Photo China Guardian
The Enchantment of Neoteric Chinese Ink
As the last session of the day, “The Enchantment of Neoteric Chinese Ink” ended the first day of the China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 Autumn Auctions on a high note with several highlights, including “The Sun and the Moon – 97” by Lou Zhenggang fetching HKD 1,322,500; Liu Guosong’s « Moon Rising » achieving over twice its price estimate at HKD 874,000, and Xiao Xu’s “Poems from Marco Polo” selling for HKD 437,000.
Lou Zhenggang (b.1966), “The Sun and the Moon – 97”, 144×75 cm. Ink and colour on Paper. Estimate: HKD 1,000,000-1,500,000. Price Realized: HKD 1,322,500. Photo China Guardian
Liu Kuo-sung (Liu Guosong) (1921-), « Moon Rising« , 134×46.5 cm. Ink and colour on paper. Estimate: HKD 400,000-450,000. Price Realized: HKD 874,000. Photo China Guardian
Xiao Xu (b.1983), “Poems from Marco Polo”, 96×55 cm. Ink and colour on paper. Estimate: HKD 120,000-180,000. Price Realized: HKD 437,000. Photo China Guardian
Important Watches, Jewellery and Jadeite
The Autumn Auctions marked the second time for China Guardian Hong Kong to hold an « Important Watches, Jewellery and Jadeite » auction category, Pieces in this category hailed from some the world’s most prestigious watch and jewellery makers, including the ‘evergreen of watches’ Rolex, the ‘timeless’ Patek Philippe, the ‘glamorous’ Cartier. The auction’s variety of dazzling and sumptuous precious stones and important watches truly captured the imagination of attending collectors from across the region.
20th Century and Contemporary Chinese Art
On the second day of auctions on October 7, China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 carried on with its next auction session: “20th Century and Contemporary Chinese Art.” Featuring distinctive artistic styles, fine execution and a broad international appeal, the auction items in this session included prized pieces, carefully selected through China Guardian’s highly rigorous and professional consignment process. Among the highlights of the auction were Zao Wou-Ki’s “5.11.93”, achieving a transaction price of HKD 10,350,000, Chu Teh-chun’s “Aspirations” fetching the high value of HKD 8,625,000, Wu Dayu’s “Colourful Rhyme NO.27 – Noon Dream” selling for HKD 6,555,000, and Wu Guanzhong’s “Ocean Waves” achieving HKD 5,520,000.
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Marking the end of the China Guardian Hong Kong 2014 Autumn Auctions, the final session “Ceramics and Works of Art” attracted a full house on Tuesday evening, as collectors filled the seats and spectators flowed in at the back of the auction room. Shortly into the auction session, a flurry of paddles came up successively in a bid to secure some of the rarest and most unique jade, ceramics, sculptures, writing utensils, and bronze pieces available on the market. Excitement peaked with the announcement of the rare and extremely fine under-glazed blue and yellow enamel ‘floral scroll’ bottle lot, which after a bout of intense competition achieved the impressive transaction price of HKD 27,600,000. Other highlights from the session included a “Ru-Type ‘Fish-Basket’ Vessel, Mark and Period of Qianlong (1736 – 1795)” fetching HKD 13,800,000, a “Pair of Large Imperial Famille-Rose Beijing Enamel Gu-Shaped Vases, Marks and Period of Qianlong (1736 – 1795)” exceeding five times their price estimate at HKD 5,865,000, and a “Grisaille-Decorated ‘Landscape’ Brushpot, Mark and Period of Qianlong (1736 – 1795)” selling for over eight times its price estimate at HKD 4,945,000.
A Ru-Type ‘Fish-Basket’ Vessel, Mark and Period of Qianlong (1736 – 1795), 25 cm. Estimate: HKD 12,000,000-22,000,000. Price Realized: HKD 13,800,000. Photo China Guardian
Pair of Large Imperial Famille-Rose Beijing Enamel Gu-Shaped Vases, Marks and Period of Qianlong (1736 – 1795), 63 cm. Estimate: HKD 1,000,000-2,000,000. Price Realized: HKD 5,865,000. Photo China Guardian
A Grisaille-Decorated ‘Landscape’ Brushpot, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong (1736-1795), 10cm. Estimate: HKD 600,000-900,000. Price Realized: HKD 4,945,000. Photo China Guardian
A diamond three-stone ring, provenance Agatha Christie. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- A mystery worthy of the one of the great writer’s own books reached its conclusion in Bonhams Jewellery sale in Knightsbridge earlier today.
Setting the room buzzing with excitement, bidders in the room, on the telephones, and online competed for Christie’s diamond brooch and three-stone diamond ring, pushing the prices ever higher. The ring, originally estimated at £3,000-5,000, sold for £21,875 (including buyer’s premium), and the brooch, estimated at £6,000-8,000, sold for a whopping £27,500 (including buyer’s premium).
The two pieces were long thought to be lost, having been mentioned as family heirlooms by Christie in her autobiography, but their whereabouts were unknown.
Eight years ago, a die-hard fan took part in the 2006 house contents sale of the Greenway estate, Christie’s childhood home. Paying £100 for an old travelling trunk which had belonged to Christie’s mother, she had no idea that the locked strongbox inside contained the hidden treasure of the Christie family jewels.
Carole Gordon, Head of Jewellery at Bonhams Knightsbridge, commented: “We are very pleased to have been able to offer these two fine pieces, coming as they do not only with an illustrious provenance but with such a wonderful story of discovery by the vendor. The astonishing prices achieved today are just the icing on the cake”.