Bonhams – Estate of Liza Hyde Auction

Collectors with a love for fine Japanese screens are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to bid on exceptional lots from the Estate of Liza Hyde, a beloved New York dealer who passed away in December 2008. The auction, comprising 200 lots, will take place in Bonhams New York’s Madison Ave. salesrooms on March 19, 2009.

liza-hyde.jpgIn her later years, Liza Hyde was best known for her impeccable taste in Japanese art. Her well-developed sense of style started early during her former career as a much sought-after model in the 1950s and ‘60s. With clients including Estée Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and Revlon, Ms. Hyde, née Liza Prokoff, was in a unique position to understand how objects of beauty and refinement can make a bold and lasting statement.

Boasting no fewer than forty-nine Japanese screens, the auction of Ms. Hyde’s collection is an unparalleled opportunity for bidders to acquire many superb examples dating from the 17th to the 20th century.

Perhaps the most prized lot of the collection is a screen from the Momoyama period. Estimated at $40/60,000, the large six-panel screen depicts aristocracy participating in the seasonal activity of maple tree viewing. While a 16th/17th century work, the scene actually evokes the earlier Heian Period (10th to 12th century) when maple viewing was first recorded in literature as a popular pastime. The combination of carriages and momiji can be seen as an allusion to the famous 10th century novel, The Tale of Genji, Chapter 7, Momiji no ga (Beneath the Autumn Leaves), in which Genji and To no Chujo perform the dance “Blue Sea Waves” among falling red leaves during an excursion to the Suzaku Palace. This screen was formerly owned by Mrs. Hyde’s mother-in-law, Marthe Leishman Hyde, who had a salon in Paris. It was later acquired by Liza from her husband, the late Henry Hyde.

Another highlight in this afternoon sale is a pair of large six-panel screens with depictions of hawks in flight and perched in elegantly rendered pine trees and cryptomeria. Birds of prey were popular on screens associated with samurai, linking its authorship closely to the Kano School of painters, known for creating work for the Shogun and his warrior class. Dating from the 16th/17th century, the screens will be offered as a pair, with an estimate of $20/30,000.

Another Kano School lot is expected to pique bidder interest. This 18th century work depicts life at the Tang Chinese court, with the Emperor watching as female dancers perform on a terrace and as Yang Guifei, his famous consort, looks on from an elegant pavilion. Carrying an estimate of $20/30,000, the piece was purchased by Mrs. Hyde from a Lieut. Col. Henry-Herman Harjes, whose personal collection of screens was housed at the Chateau d’Abondant outside of Paris.

“All of those who knew her – both professionally and personally – will remember Liza for her grace, beauty, wit and unerring sense of style,” notes Dessa Goddard, Director of Asian Art for Bonhams. “We are pleased to be able to hold this auction as a tribute to her life and accomplishments.”

Further evidence of Ms. Hyde’s keen eye for aesthetics can also be found in the offered lots of 18th and 19th century French and English furniture and decorative arts, vintage jewelry and ethnographic art which will be rounding out the single-owner sale.

On offer will be several paintings by American painter Paul Jenkins who was a close friend of the Hyde family. Two Paul Cesar Helleu prints include a circa 1900 portrait of the Duchess of Marlborough, while furniture features a Louis XV/XVI transitional parquetry petit commode dating from the late 18th century and a Queen Anne walnut double-dome secretary bookcase, formerly in the collection of Ambassador and Mrs. John C. A. Roper.

Tribal art enthusiasts will be pleased to find art from Africa, Melanesia and South America, including an assortment of carved tusk ornaments and horns, ivory bangles, and an exquisite Dan facemask from West Africa.

Attracting collectors of vintage jewelry will be a sapphire and diamond cluster ring, a Verdura cultured pearl and diamond necklace, and a pair Van Cleef and Arpels diamond ear clips.

“We’re pleased to offer such a fascinating estate,” states Director of Bonhams New York Jon King. “This selection represents an excellent opportunity for collectors across a broad range of categories.”

The illustrated auction catalog for the March 2009 sale will be online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the public preview and auction. For more information on Asian Art sales at Bonhams, please visit:

www.bonhams.com/usasian.

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