What's Happening in Asian Art...
March 21, 2018
For the second consecutive year, a snowstorm has befallen New York City during Asia Week New York—and once again, our fearless dealers opened their doors despite the inclement weather. Here are a few photos they've shared throughout the day!
Suneet Kapoor (left) and Carol Conover of Kaikodo LLC, undeterred by the snow.
BachmannEckenstein | JapaneseArt even decided to offer discounts today—1% off for every inch of snow! And lucky for you, they will be open an additional day tomorrow as their flight back to Switzerland has been delayed.
Lastly, to make sure Scholten Japanese Art remains open, director Katherine Martin is camping out at the gallery during the storm, surrounded by handsome kabuki actors.
March 18, 2018
Above: people and paintings at the opening party for Kaikodo LLC's exhibition "Parallel Lives."
As the sun sets on Day 4 of our 2018 edition, let's take a moment to reflect on these opening days as we gear up for another busy week ahead. Below is a selection of photos taken in and around the galleries.
Asia Week New York got off to a festive start with a cocktail reception hosted by Aman, our 2018 Presenting Sponsor, at the stunning Upper East side residence of interior designer Sandra Nunnerley. Read more about the evening here.
On Wednesday and Thursday, journalists previewed the artwork on offer during our annual press walk—a whirlwind tour of the 40+ gallery exhibitions. Above, a group shot taken at Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.
James Lally of J. J. Lally & Co. presented his selection of ancient Chinese jade to the press.
On Friday evening, many dealers held opening receptions for their exhibitions. Above, the opening of "Chittaprosad, 1915–1978: A Retrospective" at DAG.
On Saturday and Sunday, all 45 dealers opened their doors to the public for our annual Open House Weekend. Above, the inviting setup at Findlay Galleries.
Our dealers are renowned Asian art specialists with a wealth of knowledge, and are always willing to strike up a conversation with visitors, be they budding enthusiasts or seasoned collectors. Above, Richard Waldman of the Art of Japan (left) and Andrew Kahane.
Competition among dealers can be fierce! Arms and armor specialist Runjeet Singh demonstrates his wares to fellow exhibitor Alexis Renard (rest assured, no one was harmed in the taking of this photo).
Despite relatively low temperatures over the weekend, visitors flocked to the galleries. Above, the well-insulated crowd at Onishi Gallery.
Most exhibitions remain open until March 24, so there's still plenty of time to discover what The New York Times called "Asia Week's rare and unusual objects." See you in the galleries!
March 16, 2018
Asia Week New York got off to a festive start with a cocktail reception hosted by Aman, the Presenting Sponsor of Asia Week New York, at the stunning Upper East side residence of interior designer Sandra Nunnerley. Dressed in their very colorful native garb, Aman general managers mingled with a crowd of collectors, interior designers, journalists, and their loyal Amanjunkies. The highlight of the evening was the surprise raffle that took place and three lucky winners were selected to discover one of the properties. Among the attendees were Ian White, Aman Indonesia; Tapa Tibble, Aman Sveti Stefan, John Reed, Amankora, Sven Van Den Broeck, Amanzoe, Yasuo Mizobuchi, Aman Japan, Donald Wong, Amantaka & Amansara,Serge Ditesheim, Amanyara, Nicolas Pillet, Amanoi. Also in the crowd were Geoffrey Bradfield, Ronald Bricke, James Andrews, Craig Manson, one of the winners of the raffle, Lark Mason, Alex Papachristidis, Philip Thomas, Edith Dicconson, Ritam Bhalla, Christina Prescott-Walker, and Christina Deeny, Marguita Kracht, and Jane Mackie who are part of the Aman marketing team.
Learn more about Aman here.
March 14, 2018
Above: Giuseppe Piva, from Milan, Italy, unpacking boxes and boxes of artwork.
Our dealers are hard at work installing their exhibitions and getting ready to open to the public on Thursday, March 15—take a look behind the scenes:
Unpacking boxes at Tai Modern...
...matting prints at Scholten Japanese Art...
....planning the layout at Findlay Galleries...
...making sure everything is level at Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd...
...hanging artwork at Robert Kuo Ltd...
...carefully handling textiles at Alan Kennedy...
...multi-tasking at Tenzing Asian Art...
....installing lights at Michael Hughes LLC...
...working as a team at Kai Gallery...
...adjusting the spotlight on a Lee Ufan work at Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art...
...and setting up gorgeous flower arrangements at Dai Ichi Arts Ltd!
See you tomorrow in the galleries!
March 12, 2018
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January 25, 2018
While most gallery exhibitions are open for all ten days of Asia Week New York 2018, which runs March 15–24, several will not be open every day. And a few will stay open past March 24!
We've created a handy graph with exhibition dates for all 45 participating dealers. If an exhibition is open past the last day of Asia Week New York, the closing date is listed at far right.
Download a PDF of the graph here!
We recommend printing it out and taking it with you while you gallery hop.
December 4, 2017
Perhaps the best online explanation of a Chinese handscroll can be found on The Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History—Dawn Delbanco's beautifully penned description is pasted below:
A significant difference between Eastern and Western painting lies in the format. Unlike Western paintings, which are hung on walls and continuously visible to the eye, most Chinese paintings are not meant to be on constant view but are brought out to be seen only from time to time. This occasional viewing has everything to do with format.
A predominant format of Chinese painting is the handscroll, a continuous roll of paper or silk of varying length on which an image has been painted, and which, when not being viewed, remains rolled up. Ceremony and anticipation underlie the experience of looking at a handscroll. When in storage, the painting itself is several layers removed from immediate view, and the value of a scroll is reflected in part by its packaging. Scrolls are generally kept in individual wooden boxes that bear an identifying label. Removing the lid, the viewer may find the scroll wrapped in a piece of silk, and, unwrapping the silk, encounters the handscroll bound with a silken cord that is held in place with a jade or ivory toggle. After undoing the cord, one begins the careful process of unrolling the scroll from right to left, pausing to admire and study it, shoulder-width section by section, rerolling a section before proceeding to the next one.
To mimic the experience of viewing a handscroll from right to left, scroll all the way to the right first, then use your mouse to slowly move left across the image.
Lo Ping (1733-99)
Dreaming of Retirement at Lou-t'ai, 1774
Handscroll, ink and color on paper
5.2 x 139.2 cm (10 x 54 3/4 in)
Image courtesy of Kaikodo LLC
The experience of seeing a scroll for the first time is like a revelation. As one unrolls the scroll, one has no idea what is coming next: each section presents a new surprise. Looking at a handscroll that one has seen before is like visiting an old friend whom one has not seen for a while. One remembers the general appearance, the general outlines, of the image, but not the details. In unrolling the scroll, one greets a remembered image with pleasure, but it is a pleasure that is enhanced at each viewing by the discovery of details that one has either forgotten or never noticed before.
Looking at a handscroll is an intimate experience. Its size and format preclude a large audience; viewers are usually limited to one or two. Unlike the viewer of Western painting, who maintains a certain distance from the image, the viewer of a handscroll has direct physical contact with the object, rolling and unrolling the scroll at his/her own desired pace, lingering over some passages, moving quickly through others.
Look Forward to Peace, 2012
Ink on rice paper, handscroll
12 x 97 1/2 in
Image courtesy of M. Sutherland Fine Arts
The format of a handscroll allows for the depiction of a continuous narrative or journey: the viewing of a handscroll is a progression through time and space—both the narrative time and space of the image, but also the literal time and distance it takes to experience the entire painting. As the scroll unfurls, so the narrative or journey progresses. In this way, looking at a handscroll is like reading a book: just as one turns from page to page, not knowing what to expect, one proceeds from section to section; in both painting and book, there is a beginning and an end.
Shao Mi (1592?-1642)
The Filial Liu Mourning his Parents, 1631
Handscroll, ink on paper
28 x 87.5 cm
Image courtesy of Kaikodo LLC
Indeed, this resemblance is not incidental. The handscroll format—as well as other Chinese painting formats—reveals an intimacy between word and image. Many handscrolls contain inscriptions preceding or following the image: poems composed by the painter or others that enhance the meaning of the image, or a few written lines that convey the circumstances of its creation. Many handscrolls also contain colophons, or commentary written onto additional sheets of paper or silk that follows the image itself. These may be comments written by friends of the artist or the collector; they may have been written by viewers from later generations. The colophons may comment on the quality of the painting, express the rhapsody (rarely the disenchantment) of the viewer, give a biographical sketch of the artist, place the painting within an art-historical context, or engage with the texts of earlier colophons. And as a final way of making their presence known, the painter, the collectors, the one-time viewers often “sign” the image or colophons with personal seals bearing their names, these red marks of varying size conveying pride of authorship or ownership.
Thus the handscroll is both painted image and documentary history; past and present are in continuous dialogue. Looking at a scroll with colophons and inscriptions, a viewer sees not only a pictorial representation but witnesses the history of the painting as it is passed down from generation to generation.
Delbanco, Dawn. “Chinese Handscrolls.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chhs/hd_chhs.htm (April 2008)
November 9, 2017
Asia Week New York dealer participant Nicholas Grindley recently published a fascinating article on Chinese toggles on his website, written by Rebecca Gardner and Jane Oliver, and pasted below. Enjoy the read!
One of the most whimsical Chinese objects is the belt toggle, a palm-sized carving in nearly every natural material transformed into a miniature sculpture. Compared to the avid collecting of Japanese netsuke, Chinese belt toggles have been oddly overlooked. No longer the curios of Chinese markets, toggles are becoming rarities that are beginning to catch the eyes of collectors who can appreciate their inventiveness and quirky charm.
Chinese belt toggles, or zhuizi (墜子), are ornaments worn principally by men. Traditional Chinese dress does not have pockets, so small bags for tobacco, pipes, money and other accoutrements were suspended from the belt by cords, counterweighted by the toggle. In other circumstances, the toggle adorns the loop of a tobacco pipe or a woman’s embroidered bag for perfume and medicinal powders. Like the netsuke, the Chinese toggle was devised primarily for function and only achieved its status as a unique accessory over time. These toggles became treasured objects of identity and expression, the wearer selecting toggles that were not only decorative but that had seasonal, magical, medicinal or auspicious connotations. The material chosen and the motif represented were personal statements of style and of symbolic meaning.
Chinese toggles come in an astonishing range of materials—from wood and ivory to seashells, seeds, brass, glass, porcelain, jet, turquoise, amber and jade. Though we might assume that the wealthier would select a precious material such as crystal or jade, wooden toggles have broad significance. Boxwood (huangyangmu) was ideal for the carver. A widely available timber, boxwood is slow growing and has a very fine grain and density, which make it perfect toggle material. Carvers could work in minute detail and add intricate and precise designs without splitting the wood. The choice of boxwood also was dictated by the belief that box, being an evergreen plant, was highly auspicious—evergreens retain their leaves throughout all harsh conditions, surviving hard winters and summer droughts. The Chinese consider boxwood to be the essence of long life, energy and good health, representative of the yang principle in the harmonic structure of the cosmos. Box leaves themselves were used in medicine, and ash from burnt box timber was used medicinally from cooling fevers to helping ease labour pains for women in childbirth. Practically then, a householder wearing a boxwood toggle had his very own first-aid kit.
Each toggle symbolises something, be it the wood itself for good health or for auspicious reasons. The carvings are as varied as their materials—from temples and immortals to longevity fungus, animals of the zodiac, lions, legumes, babies, dustpans and shoes. A toggle in the form of a reed mouth organ, a sheng, is a homophone for sheng, “to rise in rank” or “to give birth”; a water bucket is a homophone for “unite” and “boy,” a fortuitous wish for marital bliss and fecundity. With their infinite possibilities for word play and association, toggles eclipsed their practical purpose and have become successively prized as objects of fascination.
Like ornaments on modern key rings and mobile phones, toggles were important to the wearer but not always to contemporary documentarians. This has made it difficult to trace their histories. Like interest in the netsuke of Japan, scholarly attention to Chinese toggles has been generated by modern Westerners. Caroline Bieber, an American who lived in Peking during the 1920s and 1930s, assembled a comprehensive collection of toggles that she donated to The Field Museum of Chicago. Schuyler Cammann, the curator of Far Eastern Art at the University Museum, Philadelphia, published the Bieber toggle collection in Substance and Symbol in Chinese Toggles (1962), still one of the definitive works in the field. A recent addition to the literature is Margaret Duda’s Traditional Chinese Toggles: Counterweights and Charms (2011). She illustrates a toggle carved with frog and lotus similar to the boxwood toggle we show here dating from the Qing dynasty, 19th century. The toggle has two frogs climbing down one side, a single frog climbing down the other, the underside with lightly incised seed pods and the stem curving over to form a loop for the cord. In discussing the fertility symbolism of the frog, Cammann comments that the Chinese, unlike most Westerners, found the frog an intriguing creature inhabiting two worlds as an amphibian with prolific powers, despite its lack of obvious generative organs (p. 130). Duda adds that the lotus is a homophone for “continuous connection,” implying a blessing for a long line of sons.
Still affordable and with an appealing diversity of subject, symbolism, style and material, Chinese toggles are ideal collector’s objects for those looking, as Schuyler Cammann put it, for “subtle beauty, glimpses of inner wisdom and sheer pleasure.”
September 30, 2017
The latest publication from Asia Week New York participant Francesca Galloway is a beautifully illustrated addition to the study of Pahari painting. A Mystical Realm of Love: Pahari Paintings from the Eva & Konrad Seitz Collection, with meticulous research by J.P. Losty (curator emeritus British Library) and a foreword by Konrad Seitz, gives readers unparalleled access to one of the most outstanding collections of its kind.
Eva and Konrad Seitz have put together over many years a collection of some of the most famous and important of all 18th century Pahari paintings, including miniatures commissioned by the Rajput rulers of the Punjab Hill states (1650-1850). Pahari paintings have been the focus of Eva and Konrad Seitz’s collection since the couple first went to India in the late 1960s for Konrad to take up his position as a young diplomat at the German embassy in Delhi. They were drawn to Rajput paintings (Indian miniatures from the Hindu schools of North India and Rajasthan) which were then available in Delhi and Mumbai, and later in New York, as several princely collections were being dispersed. Eva and Konrad were part of a small group of pioneer collectors who recognized the importance of Rajput painting at a time when Mughal and Persian painting was far more sought after in the West.
The Seitz collection lures you into the enchanted domain of the Hindu gods, their epics and the never-ending trials and tribulations of divine and erotic love. What attracted and intrigued Seitz to Rajput paintings in particular was their ability to induce in the viewer a kind of poetic trance – which he saw as distinct from a more Western tradition of descriptive realism.
A Mystical Realm of Love is not only an opportunity to explore Pahari painting through one couple’s lifelong passion and dedication to the subject, but represents a major addition to the scholarship through Losty’s pioneering research. He attempts a new approach in documenting their role as parts of illustrated manuscripts of religious and poetic texts, and also puts forward a revised view of the development and chronology of Pahari painting in the 18th century.
The 400-page book costs $120 and will be available in November 2017. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 4, 2017
Sotheby's Highlight: Zhang Daqian, Blue Cliff and Old Tree
Our five regular auction house partners are holding auctions and viewings during September 2017 Asia Week, from September 8–16. We have compiled a calendar of all the sales for your convenience:
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
10am - ASIAN WORKS OF ART at Doyle
10am - THE DR. SYLVAN AND FAITH GOLDER COLLECTION OF FINE CHINESE SNUFF BOTTLES at Bonhams
1pm - TWENTIETH CENTURY CHINESE PAINTING AND CALLIGRAPHY at Bonhams
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
10 am - FINE CHINESE PAINTINGS at Christie's
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
10am - FINE JAPANESE ART at Bonhams
10am - SOUTH ASIAN MODERN + CONTEMPORARY ART at Christie's
10am - THE RUTH AND CARL BARRON COLLECTION OF FINE CHINESE SNUFF BOTTLES: PART V at Christie's
10am and 2pm - IMPORTANT CHINESE ART at Sotheby's
2pm - INDIAN, HIMALAYAN AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN WORKS OF ART at Christie's
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
10am - MARCHANT: NINE DECADES IN CHINESE ART at Christie's
10am and 2pm - FINE CLASSICAL CHINESE PAINTINGS & CALLIGRAPHY at Sotheby's
11:30am - TREASURES OF THE NOBLE PATH: EARLY BUDDHIST ART FROM JAPANESE COLLECTIONS at Christie's
2pm - FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART at Christie's
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
10am and 2pm - FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART at Christie's
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
10am and 2pm - SATURDAY AT SOTHEBY'S: ASIAN ART
Doyle Highlight: Chinese Aloeswood 'Chenxiangmu' Brushpot
Bonhams Highlight: YABU MEIZAN (1853-1934), A large and highly important Satsuma presentation vase. Meiji era (1868-1912), early 20th century
Christie's Highlight: Untitled oil on canvas by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924–2001), 1996.
iGavel Highlight: Chinese Archaistic Gold and Silver Inlaid Bronze Tapir, Qing Dynasty. Length: 15 inches (38.1 cm).
The iGavel Interiors: Chinese Snuff Bottles, Jades, and Ceramics from a Southern Collector on iGavel will be live September 15–October 3, 2017, followed by the Asian Works of Art auction, which will be live October 6th–25th, 2017.
The works can be viewed in New York during September 2017 Asia Week:
September 9th - 16th | 10AM - 5PM
227 East 120th Street, NY 10035
Christie's is also holding three online sales this fall and winter. Learn more here.