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Displaying items by tag: Asian Art

Friday, 20 December 2013 17:46

Ralph M. Chait Galleries Moves to Crown Building

Ralph M. Chait Galleries, dealers of fine antique Chinese porcelain and art, are moving to the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. The 104-year-old gallery’s new home will open to the public on January 6, 2014. The 4,000-square-foot space is being designed by the Stylander Design Group and will include several connecting galleries and a library, which will house over 5,000 volumes.

The gallery, which previously occupied a different space on Fifth Avenue, was founded by Ralph M. Chait following his arrival to New York from London in 1909. The gallery is now operated by Chait’s son, Allan, and his two grandsons, Andrew and Steven.

The Ralph M. Chait Gallery is a founding member of the National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America and a go-to source for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Chicago Institute of Art, and several other respected museums.

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After being closed for over 30 years, the Baltimore Museum of Art will reopen its historic Merrick Entrance beginning on November 23, 2014, in honor of the institution’s 100th anniversary. The event also marks the reopening of the renovated Dorothy McIlvain Scott American Wing and a new presentation of the Baltimore Museum’s collection of American fine and decorative arts. A redesigned East Wing Lobby and Zamoiski Entrance will reopen in fall 2014.

The upcoming openings are part of the Baltimore Museum’s multi-year, $28 million renovation. The final phase of the project is expected to reach completion with the reinstallation of the African and Asian art collections and the opening of a new center for learning and creativity in 2015.

Doreen Bolger, the museum’s Director, said, “The reopening of the BMA’s historic Merrick Entrance and the Dorothy McIlvain Scott American Wing will be an extraordinary moment in the museum’s distinguished history—bringing together museum-goers of all ages to experience John Russell Pope’s first vision of a great public art museum. We are looking forward to celebrating the BMA’s 100th anniversary with many new and exciting experiences for our visitors.”

The Baltimore Museum’s Merrick Entrance, which was designed by the American architect John Russell Pope, welcomed generations of visitors into the museum from 1929 to 1982. The entrance’s facade is being conserved and will have improved lighting. The existing doors and vestibule will remain unchanged. A $1 million gift from the France-Merrick Foundation is supporting this portion of the renovation.

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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will grant the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries $1 million to help conserve Chinese paintings housed in the museum’s galleries of Asian art. The Smithsonian says that it is the only institution in the United States to offer a program that teaches conservators how to care for fragile Chinese paintings. The new grant will endow a position for an assistant Chinese painting conservator to provide support for the program.

While there are thousands of delicate Chinese paintings in American museums, there are only four expert conservators. Smithsonian officials said that the number of experts trained to care for Chinese paintings is dwindling, which is troublesome as these works are challenging to care for. Many Chinese paintings are very old and made up of layers of varying materials including paper, silk, fabric and paste, which all require different preservation methods.

The Mellon grant requires that the Smithsonian match the funds with an additional $750,000 by 2016 in order to endow the position.

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Boston-based collector, Dorothy Braude Edinburg, has gifted nearly 1,000 works of art to the Art Institute of Chicago, making it one of the most significant donations in the museum’s history. The gift includes approximately 800 works on paper – primarily European prints and drawings from Old Mast to modern – and 150 works of Asian art. The donation will complement the considerable long-term loans and prior gifts made by Edinburg including works by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Henri Matisse (1869-1954).

The most recent gift, along with Edinburg’s previous donations, is part of the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection, which honors Edinburg’s parents. Highlights include nearly 50 extremely rare Japanese volumes, many of which are from the Edo period, a sorely unrepresented period in American museum collections; Chinese celadons from the 12th and 13th centuries; and prints and drawings by Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Edvard Munch (1863-1944) and James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), among many others.

Edinburg said, “I have never thought of my collection as a personal endeavor. I have always believed that it should ultimately enter a major museum and serve a broad public…I have seen the Art Institute as the eventual home for my entire collection for many years, and I am thrilled to taking another step forward with this gift in honor of my parents.”        

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Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of the enterprise software company, Oracle, has loaned a portion of his inimitable collection of Japanese art to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco for the exhibition In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection. The show presents 64 objects that span over 1,000 years.

Highlights from the show include significant works by well-known artists of the Momoyama (1573-1615) and Edo (1615-1868) periods as well as important examples of religious art, lacquer, woodwork and metalwork. Ellison assembled a large portion of his collection with the help of the Asian Art Museum’s former director, Emily Sano. Serving as Ellison’s personal art curator and advisor, Sano helped the billionaire acquire hundreds of important Japanese art objects including 17th century folding screens by Kano Sansetsu and 18th century paintings by Maruyama Okyo.

In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection will be on view at the Asian Art Museum through September 22, 2013.

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The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas announced on Friday, May 3, 2013 that they will open their new Renzo Piano-designed building on November 27, 2013. The structure, which cost $135 million to build, includes a parking garage, auditorium, galleries, offices, and an education wing. Renovations have been underway since 2010 and are expected to reach completion on schedule. However, The project did run over its original budget by $10 million.

Famed architect Louis Kahn designed the Kimbell’s original building in 1972. Piano, who was once Kahn’s assistant, designed the new structure so that it would be similar in size and made out of comparable materials as the older, accompanying building. Stretching 22 feet high, the new structure will include environmentally friendly features and will consume half of the energy needed to operate Kahn’s building.

The Kimbell’s collection, which ranges from international antiquities to contemporary art, will be split between the two buildings. The Kahn building will house the European works and the Pre-Columbian, African, and Asian art will be exhibited in the Piano pavilion.

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Officials at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA announced that they will open the newly renovated and expanded Harvard Art Museums in the fall of 2014. The project, which began in 2008, has entailed a complete reinvention of Harvard’s museum system and will place the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, and the Fogg Museum of Art under one state-of-the-art roof.  

Renowned architect Renzo Piano was enlisted to transform 32 Quincy Street, the landmark building that currently houses the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums, into Harvard’s artistic hub. The new facility will combine the 32 Quincy Street building, which was constructed in 1927, with a new addition and a striking glass rooftop structure that will allow controlled natural light into the facility’s conservation lab, study centers, and galleries. The overhaul also includes a theater for lectures and public programming.

The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, which was established in 1985 in a separate building from the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger, has remained open during the recent construction. The Sackler will close June 1, 2013 to prepare for the relocation of its remarkable Asian art collection to 32 Quincy Street.

The Bush-Reisinger Museum, which was founded in 1903, is the only museum in North America dedicated to the art from the German-speaking countries of Central and Northern Europe. The Fogg Art Museum, which opened to the public in 1896, boasts extensive holdings of American and European art from the Middle Ages to the present.  

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An ornately decorated 18th century Chinese porcelain vase sold for a record-setting $83 million in London on November 11, 2010. The vase, which was made for the Qianlong Emperor, soared past its presale estimate and became the highest-selling Asian work of art ever offered at auction. However, the original buyer failed to pay for the vase and the piece is now being sold for less than half its record-setting price.  

The vase’s owners, Tony Johnson, a retired lawyer, and his mother, Gene, have held on to the work for over two years after the original sale without seeing a profit. Johnson and his mother recently found another buyer for the vase, which will sell for an undisclosed amount believed to be between $32.1 million and $40.2 million. The London-based auction house Bonhams helped facilitate the sale.

The recent price tag is much more sensible for the Qing-dynasty vase, which features a reticulated body painted in the famille rose palette. The sale of Chinese art and antiquities peaked in 2010, leading to a number of major sales that were not always realized. The demand for Chinese works of art has since leveled off.

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Monday, 13 August 2012 18:30

China's Art Market is a $13 Billion Bust

If you pay attention either to China or the art market, you’ve probably heard the story: China last year became – according to art industry experts – the world’s largest market for art and antiques, surpassing the USA.

Well, here’s a shocker: it isn’t.  Not even close.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011 01:12

Sotheby's sells record $447 million of Asian art

The HK$3.49 billion tally for its 8-day Asian sales in Hong Kong -- now considered the world's third most important art auction hub after New York and London, was the firm's best season ever underpinned by strong Chinese buyers -- eclipsing even its blockbuster $400 million autumn season last October.

But beneath the banner results were some signs of weakness in the red-hot Chinese ceramics market that is now a cornerstone of Sotheby's biannual and closely watched Asian sales.

A major collection of Chinese ceramics, seen as one of the best to be sold in decades, failed to live up to expectations in a conspicuous setback for the market, with 30 percent of the porcelain going unsold amid muted bidding, while a collection of Chinese imperial objets d'art including ancient jades, a gilt dragon and a golden robe ended up 55 percent unsold.

The Meiyintang collection, assembled over half a century by Swiss pharmaceutical tycoons, the Zuellig brothers, was seen to be perhaps the best remaining classic Western collection of Ming and Qing ceramics, but flaws in a few major works, tighter credit requirements for buyers and sky-high estimates weighed on sentiment, dealers and collectors said.

"I think they (Sotheby's) pushed a bit too hard on the prices," said Nader Rasti, a Western dealer of Asian antiques.

One exceptional piece -- an eight-inch tall Qing vase with a brilliantly painted pair of golden pheasants, near flawless save for a crack on the stem fastened by rivets, had been expected to fetch $23 million, but bidding spluttered after the opening price was set at HK$100 million.

The so-called "falangcai" vase with exquisite enamelling, hammered off in 1997 for just HK$9 million, was sold privately after the auction for HK$200 million, Sotheby's said.

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