Published: February 14, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Lark Mason Associates
NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS – Elaborate pattern and design lifted an embroidered Qing dynasty Chinese robe to $57,500, topping Lark Mason Associates’ sale on iGavelAuctions.com that closed on January 26. Surpassing its $7/10,000 estimate by a factor of five times, the blue silk 12-symbol semiformal Kesi robe featured an arm span of 82 inches and length, collar to hem, 53½ inches.
Said Lark Mason, “With highlights reflecting a wide swathe of cultures, including Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Central Asian, African and American, this single-owner sale featured items from the curated collection of an American connoisseur whose tastes and interests are united by two themes – pattern and design.”
The sale, which ignited competitive bidding from international buyers, was first in a series of multiple sales from the property of the collector and it was rich in choice Asian textiles. A collection of elaborately embroidered and appliqued Chinese robes – many of which dated from the Qing dynasty – was augmented by bed covers, shawls, rank badges and panels, as well as Japanese kimonos and silk obi. The sale totaled $279,616 and posted a sell-through rate of 91 percent.
“This sale of luxury items, including imperial Chinese robes, attracted international bidders vying for Louis Vuitton, jewelry and exceptional Chinese textiles,” said Mason. “The combination of these works with the attention generated by the Winter Show in New York City was a perfect backdrop for success, resulting in a lot of targeted attention that drove prices up beyond expectations.”
A Chinese silk cushion cover, a skirt and a voided velvet vest went to a Swedish collector for $20,000. This lot was estimated $300/500. Provenance listed it as having been previously purchased from Sotheby’s Parke Bernet. The vest measured 30½ by 23 inches, while the skirt length was 38 inches.
A Manchu woman’s semiformal nine dragon red silk court robe realized $13,000, 13 times its high estimate. Having been purchased at Christie’s by repute, its measurements were length, neck to hem: 56 inches, and width, cuff to cuff: 73½ inches.
Featuring plum blossom and gilt thread embroidery and doubling its high estimate, a Nineteenth Century Manchu woman’s informal silk gauze summer robe found a buyer at $5,750.
A Chinese red flower and auspicious symbol lady’s robe was purchased by a Beijing buyer for $5,250. It featured butterfly embroidery with seed (forbidden) stitch and best its high estimate by a factor of nearly sixfold. Measurements were height, neckline to hem: 56 inches, and width, cuff to cuff: 69 inches.
Rounding out the notable textiles was a blue satin brocade silk robe, which made $8,438, and a Chinese green silk Kesi robe that was bid to $7,500.
Alongside the Asian textiles was a selection of jewelry by Native American designers, featuring a Matthew Charley cuff, a Begay Navajo silver cuff and an Alvin Yellowhorse turquoise and silver pendant, to name a few. This selection of 120 pieces of Navajo and other Native American necklaces, earring and other jewelry that were offered in 15 lots, totaled $16,313.
A third leg of the single-owner sale comprised luxury goods. Here, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co found buyers for a wardrobe trunk at $8,125 and a ruby inset sterling and gold compact for $4,504.
Another important highlight, offered to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr Day, was a maquette of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial cube bronze. The iconic sculpture by William Tarr stands in front of Martin Luther King Junior Educational Campus Cube on Tenth Avenue in Manhattan. The maquette went out at $2,313.
Fetching $6,250 was a program for the American Live Aid Concert in 1985. It had more than 100 signatures.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. “We look forward to the second part of this sale during Asia Week in March, said Mason, “and anticipate equally stunning results.” For information, www.igavelauctions.com or 212-289-5588.
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
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