Christie’s New York Indian and Southeast Asian Art Auction

. August 21, 2009

On September 16th, Christie’s New York will offer over 200 selected works in the sale of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, including exceptional bronzes, stone sculptures and Indian miniatures. A selection from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Manheim will highlight the sale along with property from various other private collections.

Works of Art from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Manheim
Paul Manheim (1906-1999) was a rare early American collector of Asian art whose insight and vision distinguished him as one of America’s most astute and discerning connoisseurs. Professionally, Mr. Manheim joined the New York’s Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers in 1928, and became a partner in 1944. For over two decades, the generous collector was one of the fundamental contributors to the Brooklyn Museum, where he served on its Board of Trustees and helped expand its outstanding collection of Asian art.

His collection, encompassing India, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia, is extraordinary for its sophistication, rarity and beauty.

The works span the Buddhist and Hindu realms, including a rare silver inlaid bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara, Kashmir School in Western Tibet, 10th/11th century (estimate: $150,000-250,000). The deity is shown holding a lotus stem of an eight petal lotus and wears a dhoti meticulously incised with bands of floral scrolls. The Manheim collection also includes an important black granite figure of Nandi from South India, Chola Period, circa 13th century (estimate: $100,000-150,000); a bronze bust of Buddha from Thailand, La Na Period, 14th/15th century (estimate: $25,000-35,000); and a sandstone stele of Vishnu from Nepal, 16th/17th (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

The sale also includes a fine selection of Himalayan bronzes, such as a large and important gilt bronze figure of Atisha from Tibet, circa 16th century (estimate: $250,000-350,000), previously part of the Pan-Asian Collection and now from the Collection of Robert E. Ellsworth. The figure is seated in dhyanasana and accompanied by an elaborate inscription on the reverse describing contents of the consecration, including part of the sitting mat of the historical Atisha himself. Also offered is a gilt bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara, Tibeto-Chinese, 15th century (estimate: $100,000-150,000), which was acquired by the Estate of Raymond J. Saulnier in December 1970.

The cover lot of the sale is a highly important set of seven thangkas of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and his lineage from Tibet, circa 1815 (estimate: $250,000-350,000). This superbly painted set of thangkas was likely commissioned by the immediate entourage of the Ninth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatso, to celebrate his lineage. The thangkas are painted in an innovative style combining motifs from both Central Tibet and Kham painting from the Chamdo region. Details such as the knots in the trees, the intertwining creepers of flowers, and the burnished gold robes are depicted with great delicacy and attention to detail, and have become the hallmarks of this master’s style.

The sale also comprises a superb group of Indian miniatures including a painting of The Annunciation, India, Oudh, second half of the 18th century (estimate: $20,000-30,000), depicting the kneeling Virgin Mary dressed in white alongside the archangel Gabriel who has multicolored wings. The painting is signed on the front and there is a panel of calligraphy that is also signed and dated on the verso. Also presented in the sale is a rare and large kalighat painting of Krishna, India, Kolkata, 19th century (estimate: $15,000-20,000); and three folios from the distinctive Bhagavata Purana, Nepal, circa 1775 (each $15,000-20,000), illustrating different moments in the life of Krishna and his brother, Balarama.

Image: A rare silver inland bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara, Kashmir School in Western Tibet, 10th/11th century. Estimate: $150,000-250,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2009

Category: Auction News