NEW YORK - Christie’s is delighted to announce the sale of Property from the Collection of the Ping Y. Tai Foundation in its Fall 2008 season of sales at Christie’s in Hong Kong and New York. The series of three single-owner sales of 151 Chinese classical paintings, ceramics and works of art is expected to realize between US$22 million to $28 million. The collection was formed by the late Ping Y. Tai and is predominantly comprised of gifts to her from her husband Jun Tsei Tai who, until his death in 1992, was internationally renowned as the dean of Asian art dealers in the United States and affectionately known as J. T. Tai. Like her husband, Ping Y. Tai had exquisite taste and a deep knowledge of Chinese art and the present collection, now belonging to the Ping Y. Tai Foundation, is a testament to the ethos of refined connoisseurship and love of Chinese art that was widely prevalent in Europe and America around the mid-20th Century. Proceeds of the sale will benefit the Ping Y. Tai Foundation that regularly donates to American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, UNICEF, City Meals on Wheels, Lighthouse International and Memorial Sloane-Kettering Hospital.
Theow H. Tow, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Americas and Asia says: “We are honored to have been entrusted with the Collection of the Ping Y. Tai Foundation for Christie’s autumn sales in New York and Hong Kong. The Ping Y. Tai and J. T. Tai provenance is revered by noted collectors, museums and dealers of Chinese art and we consider it a privilege to present this legendary collection to our clients and to the public. The three sales are a rare opportunity for collectors to own objects from a collection formed with the same connoisseurship with which all objects handled by the Tai family were chosen. Many of these objects are now in innumerable important private collections and museums.”
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art- New York
On September 17, Christie's New York will introduce the collection by offering Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art from the Ping Y. Tai Foundation, a group of archaic bronzes and ceramics which date from the Shang Dynasty (c.1600 to 1100 BC) through the 20th century. Leading the sale is the extremely rare Early Ming "sweet white" Vase, meiping (image left- estimate: US$600,000-800,000). The distinctive tianbai or "sweet white" glaze on this elegant vase appears to have first been used on fine Imperial porcelains of the Yongle reign (1403-1425). Such porcelains especially appealed to the Emperor Yongle, who was known for his love of the color white, and who on one occasion rejected most of the gifts offered to him but retained only those items made of white jade.
Also on exhibition at our Rockefeller Center galleries in September will be highlights from two succeeding and highly important sales of the collection to be offered in Hong Kong. Over one hundred Chinese classical paintings dating from the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) to the 20th century will be sold on December 2nd and a magnificent and extremely rare famille rose “Butterfly” vase, Qianlong mark and period (1736 – 1795) that once was part of the famed Fonthill Heirlooms Collection will be sold on December 3rd.
Chinese Classical Paintings- Hong Kong
On December 2, Christie’s Hong Kong continues the sale from the Ping Y. Tai Foundation collection with Chinese classical paintings. Among the exceptional paintings, Lotus Picking (image right- estimate: HK$12,000,000-15,000,000/US$1,500,000-2,000,000) by Qiu Ying (ca. 1495-1552) is the highlight. Qiu Ying exquisitely captures the atmosphere of a leisurely, humid summer day at river’s edge with his delicate depiction of a scholar reclining in a pavilion watching ladies gather lotus seeds. The artist’s meticulous brushwork and elegant style are echoed by a series of accompanying famous poems celebrating this seasonal pastime. One of the most highly esteemed artists in the Ming Period and now regarded as a great master of the brush by collectors and curators today, Qiu Ying created this work for the senior official Zhou Yuhuang and it was later treasured by Emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-1796).
The Pine Hill Studio (estimate: HK$9,000,000-11,000,000/US$1,200,000-1,500,000) painted by Tang Yin (1470-1523) exemplifies the refined and contemplative lifestyle, lived in close harmony with nature that was so cherished by China’s scholarly elite. Not only was Tang Yin renowned for his talent as a painter but he was also lauded for his academic accomplishments and poetry. This painting is complemented by accompanying inscriptions by Tang’s friends, the literati luminaries Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), Zhu Yunming (1460-1526) and Wang Chong (1494-1533).
The Fonthill Heirlooms Imperial famille rose pink-ground "Butterfly" vase- Hong Kong
On December 3, this masterpiece of Qing Imperial porcelain will be the centerpiece of the Hong Kong sales (Estimate on Request). Qianlong vases of this large size decorated with such delicacy on an engraved enamel ground are extremely rare. Each of the butterflies is exquisitely painted in brilliant multi-colored enamels with meticulous attention to detail while the other elements of the design such as the flower sprays, ruyi band and the yellow-petal panels at the foot are equally well-rendered and balance the whole design creating a tour-de-force of Qing enamelling technique.
The beauty and rarity of this vase is enhanced by its impeccable provenance. Formerly in the collection of Alfred Morrison (1821-97), one of the most famous 19th century English collections of Chinese Art, this remarkable vase is also published by Soame Jenyns in his seminal 1951 volume Later Chinese Porcelain - The Ch'ing dynasty. Christie's has a long and successful association with the Fonthill Heirlooms collection, having conducted the first sale of the collection on May 31, 1965, again on October 18, 1971 (when the present lot was sold as lot 65) and more recently in London on November 9, 2004.