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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams announces Voyages of Discovery auction on 27 May

Bonhams presents “Voyages of Discovery,” a unique single owner collection which features 15 major works by Chu Teh-Chun and Zao Wou-Ki alongside 12 exceptionally rare Imperial Chinese objects. The collection will be auctioned on Sunday 27 May 2012 at 7pm at the Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong. Collection highlights will be on view in Paris at the Centre Culturel de Chine from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 March 2012. The works will then tour New York, London and across Asia, before culminating in a preview exhibition in Hong Kong to coincide with ART HK. The total estimate for the sale is Euros 3,638,000 – 5,646,000.

The sale features an exceptional collection of work by two of China’s most prominent artists Chu Teh-Chun (b. 1920) and Zao Wou-Ki (b. 1921). Trained in the historical painting styles of China before emigrating to the artistic milieu of 1950s Paris, both artists were soon influenced by the painterly abstraction they found, creating their own unique styles, distinct fusions of Chinese tradition and European innovation. The sale features 12 outstanding paintings and three works on paper by the artists.

Chu Teh-Chun and Zao Wou-Ki, contemporaries in both China and Paris, present an important bridge between the traditional calligraphy and painting aesthetics of China and the most innovative art movements of Twentieth Century Europe. The development of their artistic oeuvres culminates in bodies of work which confirm their status as two of the most important living Chinese artists.
Prices of works by Chu Teh-Chun have increased remarkably in recent years, with the excellent result achieved for the oil painting, entitled Lueurs, 1981, at Bonhams’ inaugural Contemporary One sale in October 2011, as testament. The global art market for works by Zao Wou-Ki, similarly, is long-established but continually growing, with Bonhams sales of the artist’s works in both London and the USA achieving strong prices over recent years.

The strength of this single owner collection lies not only in its outstanding quality, but also in the breadth and variety of the distinguished works. The collection provides a cross-section of the artists’ developments through the decades, illustrating the evolution of their unique styles from the 1960s up until 2006.

The single owner collection also includes twelve exquisite Chinese objects spanning widely in era from the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127AD), through the Ming Dynasty to the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty (up to 1908AD). The collection of works includes ceramic dishes, flambé-glazed vases and unique cloisonné enamel boxes.

A highlight work is the magnificent and extremely rare cloisonné enamel ice cooler and cover from the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty (Est. Euros 380,000 – 560,000). Featuring a striking blue floral pattern across its case and detailed with gold, the box is held up on both sides by kneeling figures and adorned on its lid by a gold lion. This work of art is one of only two of its kind, its twin residing in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Further objects of note include the oldest work in the collection, an extremely rare Dingyao dish from the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127AD; est. Euros 190,000 – 380,000), inscribed at a later date with a poem by the Qianlong Emperor in 1776, and an exceptional copper-red ‘lotus’ bowl from the Hongwu period (Est. Euros 85,000 – 170,000), which demonstrates the very best quality in works from the establishment of the Ming Dynasty. The Hongwu emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, claimed the Mandate of Heaven on seizure of the Yuan capital (present-day Bejing) and established the Ming Dynasty in 1368, making this work both one of aesthetic brilliance and historical significance.

Benedetta Ghione-Webb, Head of Bonhams Contemporary Art Department, commented: “It is fantastic to see such an exquisite and extensively complete set of works by these iconic Chinese Contemporary artists alongside such magnificent historical objects. We are delighted to be working with a collection that is utterly unique in being so entire and complete.”

Andrew Stramentov, Senior Specialist at Bonhams Contemporary Art Department, added: “In this sale we have works by two of the most important living Chinese artists alongside some of the most historically significant artworks from China, spanning almost a millennium. It is extremely rare to come across a collection of this breadth and of this high quality.”

Bonhams has a history of holding auctions in Hong Kong, and has achieved strong results particularly through its sales of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Chinese Works of Art and Chinese Paintings. The British company’s commitment to the area is enhanced in this single owner sale, the very first by the London Contemporary Art Department for a Hong Kong audience.

The travelling highlights exhibition will be on view in the following cities:

London 10 – 14 February 2012, Bonhams New Bond Street
Lisbon 28 February – 4 March 2012, Fundacao Oriente Museu
Paris 8 – 10 March 2012, Centre Culturel de Chine
New York 15 – 20 March 2012, Bonhams New York (to coincide with Asia Week)
London 10 – 13 April 2012, Bonhams New Bond Street

Singapore 20 – 21 April 2012, Grand Hyatt Hotel
Taipei 28 – 29 April 2012, Fubon International Convention Center
Beijing 5 – 6 May 2012, China World Summit Wing
Shanghai 9 – 10 May 2012, JW Marriott
1st show in HK 17 – 20 May 2012, Grand Hyatt Hotel Drawing Room (to coincide with ART HK)
2nd show in HK 23 – 26 May 2012, Island Shangri-La (to coincide with HK auction previews)

Sale details:
Sunday 27 May 2012, 7pm
Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Queensway, Hong Kong

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