Asian Works from the Vérité Collection to Go Under the Hammer at Encheres Rive Gauche

. June 17, 2009

On Sunday, October 18, 2009, in Paris Enchères Rive Gauche will put some one hundred Asian works from the Vérité Collection up for auction at Hôtel Drouot.

bouddhaStarted in the 1920s by Pierre and Suzanne Vérité and then expanded by Claude and Janine Vérité, this collection was created by two couples impassioned by shapes.

In reference to these works, Claude Vérité confided: “Each object was like an encounter for me…” Because they tell how a work of art is born from a dialog between man and the object, in which man resonates; these words echo those of André Malraux: “Art is not learned, it is encountered”

A passion, a discriminating eye
Ever since they were acquired by the Vérité family, these Asian works have remained far from the art market. Still, they reflect the discriminating eye of the Vérités, who had a knack for revealing their indisputable quality.

Pierre and Suzanne Vérité established ties with the artistic and intellectual milieus of Montparnasse in Paris starting in the 1920s, which was then capital of art. They often visited dealers, where they first fell in love with African and Asian art. Happing upon a Fang fetish or a Chinese Buddha, Pierre and Suzanne Vérité brought art from the Far East into their home.

Claude Vérité joined the gallery with his wife Janine in the 1950s. At that time, they became familiar with Asian esthetics and cultures; they gradually acquired Indian and Southeast Asian works. Those works were not intended for the gallery at the time; they became part of the family heritage.

Asian statuary and spirituality
Sculptures, sculptures, and still more sculptures… Made between the 2nd and 19th centuries, they were fashioned out of wood, stone, or bronze. These various works had multiple origins: China, Japan, Afghanistan, Tibet … The collection is tied together by what is sacred, which is essential in the Asian statuary form. “The Asian artist,” wrote André Malraux in the Imaginary Museum , “had translated the shapes into a style that gave them access to the sacred, according to values among which the most constant was the eternal.”

China is represented by some fifteen objects without a single major period of Chinese sculpture being left out. The corpus gives ample space to Buddhist art, illustrated in particular by two large serene faces carved out of wood. Several bronze sculptures from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing periods (1644-1911) recall the close ties between Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism.

The perennial nature and majesty of Hinduism take shape in nearly twenty statues illustrating the wealth of its pantheon and the variety of the cultures living under this age-old religion, from Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu, not to mention Madhya Pradesh. Vishnu, the Protector of Humanity, Shiva, the Destroyer and Restorer, and Brahma, the Supreme Principle; all the major gods are there accompanied by their spouses Parvati or Shri Devi. Their children surround them: Skanda, the god of War, Chamunda, Protector of the Faith, and Ganesh, the elephant-headed god.

Southeast Asia is also very much present; the clash between the Khmers and Thais is written in stone and bronze. A large bronze representation of the god Shiva dating from the beginning of the 10th century singlehandedly summarizes the importance of Khmer art in Asian statuary… before it was supplanted with the Thai schools of Lanna, Sukhothai, or Ayutthaya starting in the 14th century.

One hundred works from the Vérité collection take us on a voyage throughout Asia . The staging design is by Nathalie Crinière. Thus the mind, led by the eye, can travel in a blink from the mountains of Afghanistan to the temples of Angkor Vat, from sensual India to inaccessible Tibet … without losing its way or becoming winded.

Image:Tête de Bouddha, Bois, Chine, Yuan, XIVème siècle

Category: Auction News

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