In 2019, Asia Week New York is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Over the years, our participant dealers have placed countless works of art in the collections of major museums around the world. Here are a few examples.
Fukuda Kodöjin, Japanese, 1865-1944, Meiji period,1868-1912, White Cloud Album and Colored Cloud Album. 2 albums; ink and color on silk. On view at the Princeton University Art Museum
If you find yourself in New York City during the holidays, here is your guide to Asian art exhibitions on view this month in the metropolitan area's museums. We have selected one exhibition from each institution, prioritizing exhibitions that will close—and must therefore be enjoyed—before the March 2019 edition of Asia Week New York. We wish you an art-filled holiday season!
BROOKLYN MUSEUM Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations
South Korean artist Kwang Young Chun combines hundreds of paper-wrapped parcels to create sculptural compositions, called Aggregations, that look like crystal formations, asteroids, or the surface of the moon.
CHINA INSTITUTE Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens
In Chinese legend, mountains are the pillars that hold up the sky. Mountains were seen as places that nurture life. Their veneration took the form of rituals, retreat from social society, and aesthetic appreciation with a defining role in Chinese art and culture.
JAPAN SOCIETY Yasumasa Morimura: Ego Obscura Ego Obscura highlights Morimura's 30-year-long project of excavating "the self" from layers of art history, Japanese postwar history, and personal history.
NEWARK MUSEUM KIMONO REFASHIONED 1870s-Now!
Featuring a diverse range of fashions, this exhibition showcases more than 40 extraordinary garments created by more than 30 Japanese, European and American designers from the world-renowned collections of the Kyoto Costume Institute and the Newark Museum.
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM Picturing Place in Japan
The representation of place has been a dominant subject of Japanese painting throughout history. Sometimes these scenes evoke the topography of an actual location, but often the place depicted was imagined or based primarily on past images.
RUBIN MUSEUM The Second Buddha: Master of Time
Celebrated by Tibetans as “The Second Buddha,” Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born, is believed to have been instrumental in converting the land and people of Tibet to Buddhism. His legends carry universal relevance about triumph over obstacles, the power of human emotions, transformation, impermanence, achieving liberation from life and death, and notions of time—all of which transcend specific cultures and eras.
As we look towards Asia Week New York's tenth anniversary in March 2019, we're also taking a look back at the event's most memorable works of art. This is part 4 of a multi-part series in which we are showcasing the most important objects sold by our participants over the last decade. Check back here often or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated. Below, the stories of four incredible objects:
AN IMPORTANT PORTRAIT FROM CARLO CRISTI
Portrait of Phagmotrupa
Distemper on cotton
Tibet, 13th c.
15 3/8 x 11 5/8 in. (39 x 29,5 cm)
This important tangka shows the portrait of Lama Phagmotrupa (1110-1170 CE), guru of Tashipal, founder of the Taklung monastery (founded in 1180 CE), and one of the main seats of the Kagyu sect. On the reverse, a dedication by Onpo Rimpoche, a successor of Tashipal who was shortly abbot of the Taklung monastery, confirm the date of this tangka to the 13th century. Portraiture of the gurus (masters), produced as realistically as possible but with iconic signs of divinity, coincided with the development of monasticism in Tibet. Phagmotrupa seems to have been one of the first Lamas to be represented on canvas, and there exist only a small number of his portraits. These paintings were made for meditation, to pass on teachings to disciples, and to recognize the historical importance of the master.
The tangka was sold in 2008-2009 to a private European collection.
AN EXQUISITE VASE AT ZETTERQUIST GALLERIES
In the words of dealer Eric Zetterquist:
"In 2012, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of my gallery, I had the immense pleasure of handling this exquisite and rare Guan-Yao vase. Authentic Guan-Yao (“Official Ware”) is one of the most rare and sought-after of all Chinese ceramics. Produced exclusively for the Imperial Court in the Southern Song Dynasty, adjacent to the Imperial Palace grounds in the Laohudong Kiln Site. Very few of these pieces survived, and most are in public collections. Originally influenced by the Northern Song Dynasty Ru-Ware forms, this piece possesses not only a fine Southern Song form, (often repeated in Longquan celadons), but an ideal Guan-Yao glaze. It is bubbly and slightly opaque with a blue-green hue, and is covered overall with an intentional craquelure that has colored to alternating translucent silver and brownish-gold colors. An identical piece is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London."
A SYMBOLIC CONTEMPORARY DRAWING AT KAI GALLERY
Hui Chi Lee
Graphite & color pencil on paper
28.5 x 36.5 inches
During Asia Week New York 2018 at Kai Gallery, this piece by Taiwanese artist Hui Chi Lee caught the eye of a curator from the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, and the museum subsequently acquired the work. Lee’s name for this series, “Lián: Liàn,” derives from a pair of Chinese homophones, which, depending on the context, mean “to connect” and “to enchain.” To Lee, the seemingly powerless mannequins evoke life in contemporary society. The artist writes, “I am interested in the obscure and anonymous quality of the human form, and I want to guide the viewer to consider the subject matter in a critical, holistic manner… In Chinese tradition, lengthy hair symbolizes longevity. Hair signifies the duration of a life span, an expanse of time of which we are often hardly aware. While we may acknowledge the finitude of life, time is envisioned as somehow endless. Humans favor stability and continuity. Thus, even when one’s comfort and status is threatened or entangled by a chaotic environment, ambivalence seems inevitable. Color is introduced here in a symbolic, metaphorical way. Red symbolizes both a warning and an awakening moment in life.”
A MONUMENTAL GUARDIAN AT GISÈLE CROËS S.A.
Buddhist Guardian Weituo, courtesy of Gisèle Croës S.A.
Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), most likely 15th century
Total height of figure with stand: 93 in (236.22 cm)
Photo by Maggie Nimkin Photography
This monumental bronze, standing over six feet in height even without its stone base is a representation of Weituo, a Buddhist guardian figure whose mythology emerged well before the Ming. Dressed in full armor and wearing the ornate helmet of a Chinese general, Weituo, his hands pressed together in prayer and reverence, stands resolute on a square stone base, faithfully guarding the Buddha, his teachings (the dharma), and Buddhist monasteries, monks, and treasures. This extraordinary, powerfully conceived bronze sculpture of General Wei exquisitely captures in his stance and facial expression his dual role as fierce defender of and unwavering believer in the Buddha, the dharma and the daily life of the Buddhist community or sangha. Appropriately, Weituo was also considered a symbol of determination in spiritual training and practice.
The following is an account of the history of the object by dealer Gisèle Croës:
A few years ago, I was walking through a very large private park in company of the owner, and suddenly we arrived at a beautiful pond where I saw from a distance a magnificent sculpture (above). I had a visual shock and asked about this wonderful piece in such a remote area. After a while, I had the good fortune to acquire it.
With enthusiasm we decided to study the piece and researched its provenance. This piece was purchased in Beijing in 1918 by a prominent Japanese dealer from Kyoto, Yamanaka Sadajirō. More than a hundred years ago, Yamanaka & Company opened its first shop at 20 West 27th Street in New York City. Several decades later, the main overseas branch of Yamanaka & Company in New York occupied a five-story building, on fashionable upper Fifth Avenue, and there were equally prestigious branch offices in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Nara and Kyoto. The main Japanese office remained in Osaka. Many people contributed to the success of Yamanaka & Company, but Yamanaka Sadajirō provided the vision that guided the international operation through its formative years.
We asked Professor Annette Juliano from Rutgers University to write an essay on the Weituo. This essay was published in “Gisèle Croës, Matter and Memory Part II,” Brussels, Belgium, 2014, (pages 9–28).
When exhibited in New York at Gagosian Gallery in March 2014, the piece raised an immense interest and was admired by a very large audience of collectors, Institutions and museums. The object was sold in 2014 to a private Chinese collector.
From September 7–15, it's September 2018 Asia Week in New York. Several of our regular dealer participants are open to the public, showcasing traditional and contemporary examples of the best of Asian painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and more. Think of it as a teaser for the March 2019 edition of Asia Week New York! Here's our guide to the exhibitions on view. Many shows remain open past September 15—please check each listing below for details.
HIRUMA Kazuyo 昼馬和代(1947- ) Soaring 飛翔
H16.5” x D8.6” x W22.5”, H42 x D22 xW57cm
Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. is presenting the work of contemporary Japanese ceramic artist HIRUMA Kazuyo 昼馬和代, which will be the first time her award-winning ceramics are shown in New York. "HIRUMA Kazuyo: Memories of Water and Earth" will feature a series of works that highlight Hiruma’s investigation of how memory and erosion come forth in aquatic and terrestrial forms. Ceramic sculptures depicting water and earth inspire nuanced explorations of how these two natural forces interact with time. The works presented are fastidiously constructed yet remain anchored in natural phenomena. Hiruma layers thin sheets of clay horizontally or vertically to create each work, finally glazing and firing the ceramic after spending a month or two building it. The exhibition is on view September 7–21 from 10am to 5pm, at 18 East 64th Street, #1F.
Qiu Mai (Michael Cherney, b. 1969) Shadow Curtains #9A:A Tang-dynasty Gingko
Photography; ink on mitsumata paper
Four-panel folding screen
Kaikodo's exhibition "The Bountiful Tang" features a photographic portrait of a stunning ancient tree, a gingko planted in China during the 7th century in the early Tang dynasty (618-907), which explodes into breathtaking fall foliage yet today. Michael Cherney, whose work Kaikodo has carried for nearly a decade, felt this particular photo image to be an artistic breakthrough and Kaikodo saw the opportunity to exhibit works of art that were produced contemporaneously during this golden age of Chinese art and literature. Tang-dynasty ceramics, metalwork and sculpture, along with later paintings inspired by Tang styles and subject matter, join the portrait of the tree to celebrate this extraordinary time. The exhibition will be available online and will be on view in the gallery from September 8 to November 9, at 74 East 79th Street, #14B.
Peter Hamann Blue-White Porcelain Box with Bamboo Pattern
h. 9 1/4 x dia. 13 in. (23.5 x 33 cm)
Onishi Gallery presents "Carving White Translucence: Peter Hamann," a solo exhibition of leading ceramic artist Peter Hamann. Born in Nebraska in 1956, Hamann moved to Japan as a young adult to study Yabunouchi-style tea ceremony. His passion for Japanese culture led him to stay in Japan and pursue the ceramic arts, ultimately enabling him to teach Japanese ceremonial tea techniques and gain his Japanese citizenship. This exhibition showcases the stunning and innovative ceramic pieces that Hamann has refined over the decades, uniquely drawing upon his American roots and Japanese aesthetics. The show is open September 6–22, Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm, at 521 West 26th Street. An additional exhibition of photography by Koshu Endo entitled "Faces of the Moon" will be on view September 11–22.
Hai Ja Bang (b.1937) Untitled
35.8 x 29.5 in. (91 x 75 cm)
HK Art and Antiques LLC presents the “Life of Women," an exhibition of work by female artists from both East and West. There are three Korean artists, one British artist and one Scottish artist: Hai Ja Bang, Su Kwak, Elizabeth Keith, Tricia Wright, and Myong Hi Kim. These artists, whose work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, use different techniques and materials. In addition to the paintings, there are two Korean 20th century Bojagi (traditional Korean wrapping cloth) on view. The exhibition will be held September 7-18, 11:00am-5:30pm, Saturday and Sunday by appointment only at 49 East 78th Street, Suite 4B.
Sueharu Fukami (b. 1947) Ko (Splendid Solitude)
Pressure-slip-cast porcelain with pale-blue glaze, on granite base
H 70 in. (177 cm)
Erik Thomsen Gallery presents an exhibition of porcelain sculptures by Sueharu Fukami (b. 1947), who is widely regarded as one of the greatest ceramic artists of the last forty years. The show will feature around twenty porcelain works with pale-blue glazes created between 1980 and 2018, including two larger scale vertical works, Kei from 2015 and Kō (Splendid Solitude) from 2018, and a true tour-de-force titled Ten (Firmament) from 2013, a wheel-thrown vessel of imposing proportions. The show will also include smaller works, such as vases and incense boxes. The exhibition opens September 10 and runs through November 2 at 23 East 67th Street, 4th Floor. Opening hours are Monday-Friday, 11am–5pm.
Myungwon Kim Untitled 06
Dry pigment, ink & acrylic paint on Mylar
50 x 40 inches (127 x 101.6 cm)
Kai Gallery presents a group exhibition by nine contemporary artists, including Jared FitzGerald, Han Bing, Min Yiming, Beili Liu, Zhou Rong, Hui Chi Lee, Soon Sik Kim, Gan Daofu, and Myungwon Kim. Aligning with KAI Gallery’s mission, these artists view traditional East Asian culture as a continuous source of inspiration to their artistic creations. Featured above is Myungwon Kim’s Color Study series, which invites viewers to experience not only visual sensations but also physical engagement. In her work, Kim applies her training in printmaking, using its processes, techniques, and materials to create her large-scale gestural works, and implicating her body in the process.
Ranging from Han Bing’s environmentally conscious photographs to Jared FitzGerald’s pioneering porcelain panel paintings, the works in the exhibition continue a dialogue between tradition and innovation. This group exhibition generates discussions of our world in the past, present, and future. The exhibition will be on view September 7–15 at 78 Grand Street. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Kokutani Square Plate
Mid 1600’s, Japan
21 x 21 cm
Zetterquist Galleries will be holding an informal exhibition of Chinese and Japanese Ceramics during September Asia Week. This exhibition features a rare mid-17th century Kokutani plate with notched square form and a masterful painting of a Peacock standing on a rock, surrounded by water. Other works include a large Bizen Horn-shaped wall vase and Chinese Tang Dynasty - Yuan Dynasty ceramics. Open September 10–14 at 3 East 66th Street, #1B.
18 5/8 in. (47.4 cm)
Kapoor Galleries is presenting a group of Indian and Himalayan art during September Asia Week. One of the highlights is this outstanding large and richly gilded Vajrapani bronze. Dated to the 12th century, this sculpture is a rare early image of Vajrapani of majestic size and naturalistic detail of the highest quality. It is one of a group of three which are very closely matched in style, iconography and size. The other two are a Vajrasattva and a Maitreya held in the British Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art respectively. Other works include an illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: The Liberation of Nalakuvara and Manigriva, attributed to Manaku, and a 15th century Ngor Mandala. Open September 10–14 from 11am to 5pm, at 34 East 67th Street, Floor 3.
Kobayashi Kiyochika (1868-1912) Fireworks at Ikenohata
9 ¼ by 14 in., 23.5 by 35.7 cm
Scholten Japanese Art's exhibition "KIYOCHIKA: On the Threshold of Modern Times" features a selection of woodblock prints by the influential Meiji-period (1868-1912) self-taught artist, Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915). Born Kobayashi Katsunosuke, Kiyochika was the ninth and last child of a samurai retainer with a hereditary position at a rice granary located on the eastern bank of the Sumida River in the city of Edo. His mother’s family were also of samurai rank and operated a similar granary on the opposite side of the river. While the financial stipends for both families were likely modest, as members of the samurai class they would have enjoyed social status and surely pride in their heritage. In January of 1868, at the age of nineteen, Kiyochika fought for the last shogun in his doomed battle against the Choshu clan in Osaka. He followed the defeated shogun to Shizuoka and managed to support himself as a performer in traveling fencing shows for a few years. Eventually, Kiyochika returned to Edo (by then, renamed Tokyo) in 1874 and began pursuing an artistic career.
By his own account, he never formally trained with any master or school, although his own self-proclaimed influences were those of the ukiyo-e artists. Ironically, although his birthright as a samurai was obliterated due to the elimination of the shogunate which crumbled under pressures from foreign powers forcing Japan to open up to trade, in his artistic pursuits Kiyochika embraced foreign influences. He blended his interpretation of the ukiyo-e school with Western-style perspective and realism. Unhindered by formal training within any artistic lineage, Kiyochika’s innovative style helped pave the way for a new outlook on the genre which would be picked up by future print artists, particularly the artists and publishers associated with the shin hanga (‘new print’) movement. The exhibition runs September 7–15, 11am-5pm (otherwise by appointment), at 145 West 58th Street, Suite 6D.
Koike Shōko White Form
20 1/2 x 15 3/3 inches
Joan B Mirviss LTD is featuring the work of Koike Shōko in September and October with "Shifting Rhythms: The Sculpted Moments of Koike Shōko," the gifted artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Koike has always taken inspiration from the hues of blue created by the sky reflecting off the sea. Early in her career, she began to add glass flakes to her glazes creating a blue “pool” through which she incised shell-like forms. She next gave those “shells” dimensionality by sculpting them in clay. These shell-like shapes, coupled with the puddled blue glaze in shades ranging from Persian blue, to turquoise, to the most recent cerulean, serve as the conceptual foundation for her clay works. While their spiral forms occur in nature, the centrifugal force generated by Koike when using the potter’s wheel to create them evokes for her the rhythms of the universe beyond simply those of the ocean. The clay cores thrown on the wheel then serve as the base for further hand-building and glazing, which ultimately results in pleated, dancing vessels bursting with energy. “First I imagine the shape that dances a certain pulsating rhythm, which then extends to my hands and leads them to weave a form from the mound of clay before me," explained the artist in 2009. "Shifting Rhythms" runs September 11 through October 19, at 39 East 78th Street, 4th floor. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 11am to 6pm, with additional opening hours on Saturday, September 8, from 11am-5pm, and Sunday, September 9, from 11am-4pm.
Christie's Highlight — The Xining Gujian, catalogued 'Zuo Bao Yi Gui,' a highly important and extremely rare bronze ritual four-legged food vessel from the early Western Zhou dynasty, 11th-10th century B.C.
Our regular auction house partners are holding auctions and viewings during September 2018 Asia Week, from September 7–15. We have compiled a listing of all the sales for your convenience:
As we look towards Asia Week New York's tenth anniversary in March 2019, we're also taking a look back at the event's most memorable works of art. This is part 3 of a multi-part series in which we are showcasing the most important objects sold by our participants over the last decade. Check back here often or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated. Below, the stories of four incredible objects:
A SILK PORTRAIT FROM ALAN KENNEDY
A rare portrait on silk was acquired by a museum from Alan Kennedy during Asia Week New York in 2016. This painting will soon be exhibited in a major exhibition entitled, "Empresses of China's Forbidden City." The exhibition opens at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts on August 18th, and will travel to the Freer/Sackler Museum in Washington, DC.
The painting depicts the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) in the guise of Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva sometimes referred to as the Goddess of Mercy. It was painted by a court artist in the Forbidden City, and was created at the request of an American missionary named Reverend Issac Taylor Headland. His wife was a physician who treated several of the women in Cixi's entourage.
One of the unique aspects of the portrait is that it depicts the face of the Empress Dowager in a realistic manner, without hiding the effects of age. Other paintings of her show Cixi in a more idealized manner, looking younger than her actual years. The Empress Dowager would not have been pleased if she had seen this portrait.The painting was reproduced in a book by Reverend Headland (Court Life in China, 1909), and he described the unusual circumstances behind the making of the painting. The portrait remained in the possession of his descendants until recent times, and will now be seen by the many visitors to the upcoming museum exhibitions.
RUNJEET SINGH'S BEJEWELLED DAGGER
This wonderful Khanjar or Jambiya dagger is of almost identical form to a well-known example in the Dresden Armoury (Rustkammer, Staaliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden), Inv. No. Y143, illustrated in Holger Schuckelt, The Turkish Chamber (2010), p124-5, which was captured as booty at Varna by the Russians in 1828, and presented to Prince Carl of Prussia by Tsar Nicholas I.
This example, with a similar pale nephrite jade hilt and scabbard mounts, has more complex and abundant decoration with large flower heads and fruits in groupings of cabochon rubies, and leaves with cabochon emeralds. The base of the hilt features a row of small rubies and larger emeralds of ascending size, and the apex of the pommel has a double row of rubies terminating with green emerald tendrils on each side. The stones are all set in the ottoman style, secured within silver gilt shaped collets and straps in imitation of Indian kundan work.
On the wavy snake-like blade of watered steel, traces of gold decoration remain at the forte as well as a gold border along the edges. The original wooden scabbard, recovered in its later life, is fitted with original throat piece and chape of matching jade.
The dagger was sold by Runjeet Singh to a private collector during Asia Week New York 2018.
A PAIR OF CERAMIC CHAIRS AT DAI ICHI ARTS
SUZUKI Goro 鈴木五郎 (1941- )
Left: Los Angeles Oribe Chair ‒Foot- ロス織部 椅子 ( 座面に足 ) H18.8” x W10.2” x D9.4”, Stoneware
Right: Los Angeles Oribe Chair ‒Mt. Fuji- ロス織部 椅子 ( 富士山 ) H19.4” x W10.8” x D10.2”, Stoneware
From Dai Ichi Arts: "This is a pair of ceramic chairs created by our artist SUZUKI Goro (1941- ) who is pushing his own limits in the pursuit of his art. He combines his skills in throwing and building with a lifetime's knowledge of material. You can truly say that he was born in clay and plays in clay. This pair was exhibited in our window during Asia Week New York 2018, and they attracted many people's attention with their playful and whimsical form and design. Both chairs were sold to a private collector who admires Suzuki's work."
A SYMBOLIC UNION AT KAPOOR GALLERIES
Radha and Krishna Intertwined, Folio from the Kangra 1775 Gita Govinda
The Kangra 1775 Gita Govinda is seen by scholars and connoisseurs alike as the most profound illustration of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda, which translates as “Song of Dark Lord”. Created in the late 12th century, Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda is a monumental work of literature from Indian culture. Superficially it portrays the ageless story of the arduous love between man and woman, it is also an allegory for the love of god. The Gita Govinda is the only example of miniature painting in which such a vast illustration of romantic encounters is explored.
In this image, the passionate lovemaking and climactic union of Radha, a symbol of the “goddess”, and Krishna, the love of god, is depicted with full emotion. Radha has boldly and confidently aligned herself directly atop Krishna in order to control the lovemaking, which represents the transcendent union of humans with the Divine, forgetting about ego and dissolving in supreme ecstasy.
This folio was sold at Kapoor Galleries during Asia Week New York 2016 to a private European collection.
As we look towards Asia Week New York's tenth anniversary in March 2019, we're also taking a look back at the event's most memorable works of art. This is part 2 of a multi-part series in which we will be showcasing the most important objects sold by our participants over the last decade. Check back here often or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated. Below, the stories of four incredible objects:
GIUSEPPE PIVA'S RARE SAMURAI ARMOR
An exceptional samurai armor from the Inaba clan
Mid Edo period (1615 - 1867), 18th century
Helmet signed: “Masuda Myochin Minbu Ki no Munesada Saku” and dated: "A lucky day in February in the 7th year of Horyaku" (1757)
Provenance: Iyo no kami Inaba clan
The helmet is made in the style of a Kamakura period kabuto, with an 18 plates rounded bowl showing large protruding rivets. The exquisite parcel giltwood front decoration is shaped as a shachihoko, a mythical creature often represented as protection against fire. The neck guard is covered with a rare horsehair red and white decoration. The cuirass is richly decorated in maki-e lacquer over a black ground, with a red figure of Raijin—the god of Thunder—creating a storm beating his drums among clouds. The same black lacquer is used to cover all the other armor’s parts, except for the helmet’s bowl.
The Inaba family originated in 16th century Mino Province; during the Edo period, as hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa, the clan was classified fudai and its members were appointed daimyō of large and strategic provinces; they also covered various important administrative, political and military roles. Myochin Munesada, who signed and dated the kabuto, is reported to be son of the famous Muneakira; his works are very rare.
The armor was sold by dealer Giuseppe Piva during Asia Week New York 2016 to a private European collector.
A SONG WITHOUT A SOUND AT M. SUTHERLAND FINE ARTS
A Song Without a Sound
Ink on Xuan paper
33.5 x 63 inches
Dealer Martha Sutherland shares some vivid memories below:
I first saw this piece in Jia You Fu’s studio outside of Beijing one hot, sultry summer day. It was one of only several “da hua” that Jia painted over the previous winter. He usually kept one or two very large scale paintings and then did several more slightly smaller versions on a similar theme.
“Song without a Sound” stopped me in my tracks when I entered the studio. Painted only in ink and ink wash with no colored mineral pigments, the composition is like a vortex, spinning within the rocky precipices of a Northwestern Chinese mountainscape, as if you were hypnotized and lured into the scene. The more one studies the brushwork, the more one is amazed at the artist’s control of the layers of ink washes and brushwork.
A new client walked into my gallery during Asia Week New York. Having done his homework, he requested a private appointment for a more relaxed and intimate look at other Jia Youfu pieces in the inventory several weeks hence. When he saw “Song Without a Sound” for the first time, he reacted much like I did in Beijing. I knew then that he would buy it.
M. Sutherland Fine Arts is lucky to still have a handful of pieces by Jia in our inventory. Each year, Asia Week New York turns out more new serious collectors who come to New York from throughout the States, Europe and Asia.
THREE GIANTS AT JOAN B. MIRVISS LTD
Kamoda Shōji (1933-1983)
Slightly flattened ovoid vessel with blue enamel decoration and striped matte black ground
12 1/4 x 9 1/2 x 7 in.
31.3 x 24.5 x 18.3 cm.
Photo by Richard Goodbody
Trevor H. Menders, during an internship at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd, reflected on the gallery's seminal Asia Week New York 2018 exhibition:
Asia Week New York 2018 witnessed contemporary Japanese clay assuming its rightful place as fine art in the American public eye. The transformative 20th-century Japanese ceramists Kamoda Shōji, Matsui Kōsei, and Wada Morihiro featured in our exhibition Three Giants of the North each appeared by both name and image in numerous publications. While these appearances were significant, the biggest victory for the entire field of modern Japanese ceramics comprised two New York Times articles: “Asia Week’s Rare and Unusual Objects for Art Lovers and Collectors” and “21 Art Exhibitions to view in NYC This Weekend.”
In the first, only three works were illustrated: the National Treasure 17th-century screens of Pines by Hasegawa Tōhaku [Japan Society], the second an ancient Tibetan mandala [Asia Society], but the third prominently featured a stoneware vessel by Kamoda Shōji from Three Giants. Modern ceramics were clearly equated with benchmark master paintings from the bygone eras. For us, this was a transformative moment for both East and West.
The second NYT article stated: “the work ranges from religious statuary to textiles, prints and paintings. The collection of ceramics by the excellent 20th-century potter Kamoda Shōji at Joan B. Mirviss is a notable highlight.” Giants appeared as the second exhibition listed, directly following a discussion of a show on modern Brazilian art at MoMA. The same stoneware vessel by Kamoda appeared at the top of the page.
The appearance of works by 20th century Japanese clay artists next to the likes of Momoyama period folding screens or Latin American modernist pioneers has always been an aspiration for us, but never an expectation. Introducing Japanese ceramics to the West has been a process spanning four decades. Having a luminary of modern ceramics appear on the same page as a major MoMA exhibition in the New York Times marks a coming to fruition of this challenge, and a triumphant start to the gallery’s fifth decade.
A VESSEL-SHAPED TABLE AT NICHOLAS GRINDLEY
A jichimu table in the form of an archaic fang ding
China, probably Daoguang (1821-1850)
33 3/4 x 63 5/8 x 19 1/2 in
(85.7 x 161.6 x 49.5 cm)
Rebecca Gardner, manager at Nicholas Grindley Works of Art, writes:
The most unusual item we have shown during the 10 years we've participated in Asia Week New York was the archaic-form table we exhibited in March 2017. This attracted attention from both furniture enthusiasts and archaic bronze collectors alike.
The table, made from jichimu, was in the form of an archaic fang ding, a bronze ceremonial vessel, but was constructed during the Qing dynasty—probably Daoguang 1821-1850. Before we acquired this table, only two other examples of tables of this archaic fang ding form were published, and these might well have been the same table, although the dimensions vary in the two publications. The first was in the catalogue of the Guanfu Museum, Beijing, page 75. The Guanfu Museum is a non-profit museum in the PRC with its main location in Beijing; Ma Wei-Du is the founder and director of the museum. The second was published in Tian Jiaqing’s ‘Classic Chinese Furniture of the Qing Dynasty’ no. 90, page 200, where it is attributed to “Antique Shop, Beijing."
We sold our table to a prominent private collector, who in turn lent it to the Art Institute of Chicago for their exhibition early in 2018, Mirroring China’s Past: Emperors and Their Bronzes.
As we look towards Asia Week New York's tenth anniversary in March 2019, we're also taking a look back at the event's most memorable works of art. This is part 1 of a multi-part series in which we will be showcasing the most important objects sold by our participants over the last decade. Check back here often or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated. To start, scroll down to read the accounts of three of our participating dealers:
ONISHI GALLERY'S "RING OF FLOWERS"
Tokuda Yasokichi III (1933-2009), Living National Treasure
Plate Rinka (Ring of Flowers)
Porcelain with vivid colored glazes (yôsai)
h. 4 x dia. 22 inches
This stunning, vividly colored porcelain piece "Ring of Flowers" by Japanese Living National Treasure Tokuda Yasokokichi III was exhibited at Onishi Gallery during Asia Week New York 2013 and was acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art through the William R. Appleby Fund. It is now on view at the Met in the Contemporary Japanese Ceramics gallery.
INTRICATE GOLD EARRINGS AT SUSAN OLLEMANS
A large pair of gold filigree drop earrings from the Silla Period, 6th Century, Korea. Length: 8.7 cm.
Gold earrings were worn by both men and women of the Silla and Gaya elite, and are the most prevalent type of jewelry found in tombs. Goldsmith techniques on display here range from simple hammering to the more complex method of granulation, in which tiny gold beads were adhered to the surface to create intricate designs.
The earrings were sold to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2013. Similar examples exist in the collections of the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
A DECCANI MINIATURE AT OLIVER FORGE & BRENDAN LYNCH
An Illustration to a Romance Written in Deccani Urdu, the Gulshan-i 'Ishq (Rose Garden of Love) by Nusrati, Court Poet to Sultan 'Ali Adil Shah II of Bijapur (r.1656-72 A.D.): Angels descend from the heavens to visit a princess
Deccan, India, circa 1700-20
Opaque watercolour on paper heightened with gold and silver
Miniature: 22.3 by 14.4 cm.; 8 ¾ by 5 5/8 in.
Page 39.5 by 23.5 cm.; 15 ½ by 9 ¼ in.
"This painting was bought by an English collector, Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Lloyd, one of seven offered at Christie’s in 1979," explain the dealers. "In 2010 the Lloyds asked us to sell their collection and, via our Asia Week New York 2011 catalogue, we were able to establish not only the great significance of the manuscript from which the painting comes, but that of this particular painting."
The unique design and palette of this evocative Deccan night-scene painting dramatically contrast the cascade of colour heralding the descent of the angels with the monochrome world of the cool, silent, moonlight-suffused palace. This is probably the finest page from what is unquestionably the finest Deccani manuscript of the period, outstanding for its calligraphy, its superb technical accomplishment and its poetical fantasy. The unpublished colophon (Christie’s, 1979) notes that the work was written by an unnamed author who ‘lived during the reign of ‘Ali ‘Adil Shahi, under whom I grew prosperous’. This would be ‘Ali ‘Adil Shah II of Bijapur (b. 1637) who ruled 1656-72 A.D., although there was no indication of a royal patron for the manuscript.
The painting was acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it is currently on view in their Islamic Art galleries.
For the second consecutive year, a snowstorm has befallen New York City during Asia Week New York—and once again, our fearless dealers opened their doors despite the inclement weather. Here are a few photos they've shared throughout the day!
BachmannEckenstein | JapaneseArt even decided to offer discounts today—1% off for every inch of snow! And lucky for you, they will be open an additional day tomorrow as their flight back to Switzerland has been delayed.