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Christie’s Europe and Middle East Sales Highlights

Written by Aksel Ritenis

November and December 2010

500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe ~ King Street ~ 4 November


The November 500 Years of Decorative Arts Europe sale will offer over 100 lots
with estimates ranging from £3,000 to £200,000. The auction will mostly feature early European furniture, sculptures and tapestries. Highlights include an important piece of Flemish tapestry which depicts the Annunciation, when Archangel Gabriel communicated to Mary that she was bearing the child of God, (estimate: £150,000 – £250,000). A superb North Italian ivory and mother of pearl walnut table is estimated to realise £60,000 to £100,000. The second European Decorative Arts sale of the month at King Street, on 18th November, will be dominated by 18th century English furniture, as well as providing a good cross section of traditional English long-case and table clocks.

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art ~ King Street ~ 9 November


Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
at Christie’s London will feature over 250
lots dating from the Shang Dynasty (1600c – 1100c BC) to the Republic Period (1912-49), with estimates ranging from £2,000 up to £1.2 million. The auction features a Private Italian collection comprising approximately ten cloisonne enamel wares, which date to the 16th century through to the 18th century; estimates start at £6,000 and go up to £50,000. Highlights from elsewhere in the sale include an important and rare ‘guanyao’ vase, Hu, Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) which is estimate on request, and an Imperial embellished gilt-bronze and painted enamel Da Ji panel, Qianlong/Jiaqing Period (estimate: £40,000- 60,000), illustrated left.

Japanese Art and Design ~ South Kensington ~ 10 November


This November, Christie’s South Kensington’s Japanese Art and Design sale
covers a vast period spanning the mid-late Jomon period (3000 – 300 BC) through to the 20th century, including ceramics, lacquer, bronzes, prints and screens that can be displayed not only in period interiors, but alongside contemporary works of art. Estimates range from £1,000 to £40,000. The sale contains a fascinating group of post war art expressing the Art School ambitions during this exciting period of development in design and technology. Highlights include a Satsuma Vase and Cover, estimated to fetch between £3,000 – £4,000, and a lacquer tea box (Chabako in Japanese), with an estimate of £2,500 to £3,000.

20th Century British Art ~ King Street ~ 11 November

4aChristie’s announce the landmark sale of 21 works by the iconic British artist Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887- 1976) to be offered at auction on Thursday 11 November 2010 from the private collection of Selwyn Demmy (b. 1932), renowned bookmaking magnate, boxing organiser and club owner. Only the very best collections illustrate, as this one does, the true breadth and depth of a single artist’s oeuvre. Comprising drawings and paintings which span the 1920s to the 1960s, this Lowry collection is the most important and extensive to be offered at auction in recent memory, as it celebrates not only the artist’s world renowned industrial cityscapes, but his landscapes, seascapes and explorations of architecture. They are at times intense, often humorous and playful, many bustling with life and others distinctly quiet and poetic in tone. Each work reflects the different dynamics of line, colour, composition and subject explored and skillfully depicted by Lowry; an artist who captured the many aspects of the ‘human condition’ with a remarkable honesty and power which resonates across age groups. A separate press release is available.

Chinese Works of Art and Textiles ~ South Kensington ~ 12 November


The Chinese works of Art and Textiles sale will draw Asian Art week at Christie’s London to a grand close on Friday 12th November at South Kensington. Offering over 400 lots, estimates range from £1,000 to £25,000. The categories include porcelain, jade, cloisonné enamel, cinnabar lacquer, wood, Canton enamel, ivory, agate, amber, lapis lazuli, paintings, scrolls and textiles, from the 14th through to the 20th century. Several private collections from the Far East, Europe and the UK with magnificent pieces will also be featured. Highlights include a 19th century jadeite “phoenix” vase and cover, (estimate: £9,000 – £11,000), a famille verte and underglaze blue baluster vase, also from the 19th century (estimate: £3,000 – £5,000), and a mid 19th century blue, summer gauze Manchu robe, embroidered with large floral roundels and deep horseshoe cuffs (estimate: £2,000 – £4,000).

Avedon: Photographs from The Richard Avedon Foundation ~ Paris ~ 20 November

Christie’s Paris is proud to offer an extraordinary group of works by Richard Avedon (1923-2004) in Avedon: Photographs from The Richard Avedon Foundation. One of the most important artists of the 20th century, Avedon’s work covered the most prominent figures of his time – icons of political and social significance – as well as groundbreaking fashion. Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris (estimate: €400,000-600,000), his best-known image from Paris, is one of the highlights of the sale. Avedon’s classical works being offered range from a unique, vintage print of his iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe (estimate: €80,000-120,000); to rare prints of fellow artists such as Pablo Picasso (estimate: €30,000-50,000). Also included is The Beatles Portfolio, London, England (estimate: €250,000- 350,000), Avedon’s well-known but rarely available set of four psychedelic portraits of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Christie’s set the world record for Avedon at auction for the same work, which sold for $464,000 in October 2005. A separate press release is available.

Jewels ~ King Street ~ 1 December

The London Jewels sale on 1st December includes a wide selection of
stunning Art Deco and contemporary jewels including the traditional section devoted to Cartier, a collection of signed modern jewellery by Van Cleef & Arpels and Dior. The jewels of the late Fleur Cowles (1908-2009) the socialite, painter, distinguished journalist and editor of Flair, one of America’s top magazines during the 1950s, will also be featured and include charming pieces such as an abstract gold and diamond bangle, which would add flare to any outfit (estimate: £4,000-5,000), illustrated left.

Fashion Through The Ages ~ South Kensington ~ 2 December


An important date in the fashion calendar for this coming season is Christie’s
annual Fashion Through The Ages sale, with estimates starting at £800. For those wanting to be truly original, this sale of over 150 vintage and historical items is not to be missed. Items featured date from the 17th century right up to the present day, and range from fashion and couture clothing, historical pieces, handbags and luggage, costume jewellery and more. Highlights include a stunning Schiaparelli sapphire blue velvet evening gown from the 1930s (estimate: £3,000-5,000), illustrated left, and a pair of 18th century lady’s shoes of green silk (estimate: £5,000-6,000). A selection of fifteen lots from an important Dutch collection of 18th century costume is led by an 18th century formal court dress of striped yellow silk, French, circa 1760 (estimate: £10,000-15,000). These sales are popular with Private collectors and modern fashionistas, as well as A-list celebrities and international institutions, so visit the public exhibition from 27th November to 1st December or attend the sale, and find out what you are missing.

Elegance ~ South Kensington ~ 8-9 December

8aThis December, Christie’s is providing the perfect opportunity for luxurious Christmas shopping with Elegance. The sales will offer a glamourous selection of over fifty Hermès handbags – one of the most coveted items in fashion history. Including every colour of the rainbow in a variety of sizes, dating from the 1960s to the present day, one particularly festive example is a red and green bicolour ‘Birkin’ bag, Hermès, 1998 (estimate: £6,000-8,000). A distinctive assortment of traditional and contemporary jewellery designs includes everything from rings and necklaces, to bracelets and brooches, as well as men’s watches and cufflinks. And to honour the 150th anniversary of the birth of René Lalique is a celebration sale of a beautiful selection of works by the famous glassmaker. The glassware on offer perfectly demonstrates his extraordinary vision and technical skill, and a beautiful car mascot or paperweight could make the perfect unusual gift.

500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe ~ King Street ~ 9 December

The 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe Sale on 9th December concludes the London season for the category. With an outstanding and carefully selected array of only the best quality and most important pieces of European and English furniture, sculptures and clocks, estimates range from £5,000 to £100,000. Early highlights include a large suite of important late 18th century Russian furniture, which is estimated to fetch between £250,000 and £400,000. A star lot of the sale is a huge and magnificent Russian ormolu and Imari-style porcelain chandelier, which has been attributed to Felix Chopin and the Imperial Porcelain Factory from the Yussupov Palace in St. Petersburg (estimate: £200,000- 300,000).

Victorian and British Impressionist Pictures including Drawings and Watercolours ~ King Street ~ 15 December

9aThe Victorian & British Impressionist sale on 15 December will contain a broad array of works executed in Britain between 1850 and 1970. Amongst the Pre-Raphaelite and Last Romantic pictures will be Frampton’s Nativity (£80,000-120,000), illustrated left, and the sale will also contain a rare reredos (which goes above a church alter) by Spencer Stanhope (£150,000-200,000). The sale of approximately 120 lots will further feature figurative works by Millais and Tissot and landscapes by Edward Seago and Edward Lear such as Lear’s View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (estimate: £20,000-30,000); The Arab Encampment (estimate: £7,000-10,000) and Philae at Sunset (estimate: £7,000-10,000).

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Aksel Ritenis

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