Silverware and Goldware
Chronology : 1700-1709 1770-1779 1902
Art Deco with the Tang
2019 SOLD for $ 3.5M including premium
A Tang bowl 24.5 cm in diameter and weighing 1.05 Kg was sold by Sotheby's on May 14, 2008 for £ 1.14M worth at that time $ 2.2M, these figures including the premium. It is estimated $ 2M for sale by Christie's in New York on September 12, lot 551.
The technique is foreign but the refinement is Chinese. The bowl has the shape of an opened lotus flower, decorated on its outer wall with three overlapping rows of lotus petals. Each frieze is composed of eight elements. A narrow garland separates the upper frieze from the rim of the bowl. The interior is centered with a gilt medallion showing a round dance of eight birds in blooming branches.
Each petal is a cartouche that was made in repoussé before being gilded and very finely chiseled with motifs of peonies and pairs of birds. This illustration is perhaps more decorative than symbolic although the repetition of the eight is certainly not a coincidence. The shape of the petals takes into account the curvature of the wall, more flared at the bottom.
This piece was made with a thick silver sheet rounded on a mould. It is a feat with regard to the regularity of its repoussé. The experts observed two tiny reworks made by the artist to correct the hammering.
In the same 2008 sale and coming from the same collection, a lobed bowl of similar diameter and technology was sold for £ 1.6M including premium. This piece has retained its original cover. Its foliated iconography is less dense.
These extremely rare bowls are also known in pure gold and pure silver. This type did not survive the Tang, probably because of the development of the porcelain.
On September 12 in #NewYork our Masterpieces of Early Chinese Gold and Silver sale will take place. Comprised of over 100 exquisite objects the collection, formed by Dr. Johan Carl Kempe, includes gold and silver works from the Tang period #AsianArtWeek https://t.co/Qt2FX4BOnJ pic.twitter.com/oZwbgmOVLB— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) September 5, 2019
Chinese or Mongol Gold Cup
2019 SOLD for $ 2.54M by Christie's
It is titled to the Yuan dynasty in Christie's catalogue. Other cups or bowls in a similar style in gold or silver are dated from the Song dynasty, the Jin dynasty or the Song-Yuan transition. It had been considered as Song in Sotheby's catalogue. Its loose ring is typical of the Mongol practice to hang utensils to the belt, and an origin from the Xixia dynasty is supported by some of the decorative details.
This 11.2 cm wide cup is weighing 72 g. It is finely chased in its shallow interior with peony blossoms surrounded by scrolling stems and below its external rim with a narrow upper band of scrolls.
The handle is made with two gold sheets in repoussé featuring a dragon's head suspending the ring from its clenched jaws.
A Song gold dish without pedestal and handle but also with a central peony decoration was sold for £ 410K by Sotheby's on May 14, 2008, lot 106. Another one 15.6 cm in diameter weighing 120 g, Song or Yuan, was sold for £ 265K by Sotheby's on May 14, 2008, lot 102, and for $ 590K by Christie's on September 12, 2019, lot 572.
1619 Republican Silver in Utrecht
2018 SOLD for $ 5.4M including premium
Sons of a silversmith in Utrecht, Adam and Paul van Vianen are artists. Paul travels and transfers the Dutch taste to Rudolf II in Prague. Adam remains in Utrecht. They create complex shapes by chasing a silver plaque of very high purity, shaping the surface into lobes that have identified their style as "auricular". The figures are modeled on wax.
The covered baluster ewer 23 cm high for sale by Christie's on April 20 in New York as lot 21 is dated 1619. It is clearly signed A. DE VIANA rather than stamped with a logo, confirming that Adam claimed the status of an artist.
Beyond a Mannerist accumulation including masks, dolphins, monsters and a beetle apparently without an overall coherence, the main theme of this ewer is the story of Marcus Curtius divided into three large roundels. The van Vianen brothers also used the themes of Mucius Scevola and Horatius Cocles for other pieces in an obvious desire to make a praise of the Republican sacrifice.
One of the greatest admirers and collectors of auricular silverware will be Rembrandt, attesting to the important influence of that style on the decorative art of the Dutch Golden Age.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
1639 Inkstand by Christiaen van Vianen
2021 SOLD for £ 1.94M by Christie's
Christiaen made his early career in London. His technique was of chasing silver which he considered as superior to molding and his art was much prized by King Charles I. In the 1640s he had prepared by the engraver Theodor van Kessel a book illustrating the highly original designs of his father.
On July 8, 2021, Christie's sold a inkstand for £ 1.94M from a lower estimate of £ 1M, lot 15. This silver piece is bearing the mark of the assayer Alexander Jackson, London, 1639. This one of a kind masterpiece is 42 cm long, 40 cm wide and 26 cm wide and weighs 5.3 kg. The design and chasing are matching the extreme skills of Christiaen van Vianen.
The front and back compartments have hinged covers and detachable containers including the ink pot and a sander. The walls are intricately chased with allegories of the seven liberal arts and with grotesques and scrolls. The feet are made of reclining leopards and lions in the round. At both ends of the stand, addorsed standing putti are holding a candle socket. Two coats of arms are nearly one century later.
1693 A Little Clock for Queen Mary
2019 SOLD for £ 1.93M including premium
Aware of the quality of his production, Tompion numbered his instruments, an exceptional practice in his time for a manufactured product. He mixes in a single serialization list the table clocks and the long case clocks. His clocks have a long autonomy. His grande sonnerie pieces offer a repetition of quarters over a long duration.
From 1692 or 1693 Tompion improves the elegance of his design with his Phase Two which includes the cushion dome, the thistle bud handle, the bellflower keyhole and the operation of the mechanism from the front face.
The master seems more interested in standardization than in miniaturization. Nevertheless Number 215 appears as the first of a small series of Phase Two table clocks with a total height of 28 cm including the raised handle. It was sold for £ 170K including premium by Bonhams on December 13, 2011.
Number 222, made especially for Queen Mary II in 1693 and known as the Q Clock, is the smallest clock ever made by Tompion with an ebony case. It is 20 cm high overall with the handle raised. It offers the quarter repetition and an autonomy of eight days.
Re-assembled in 1949 by a collector with its original movement, the Q Clock was sold for £ 440K including premium by Christie's on June 30, 1993. It will be sold by Bonhams in London on June 19, lot 103. The May 20 press release is announcing for this silver mounted royal clock an estimate in excess of £ 2M. A modern replica is joined to the lot.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
We are delighted to announce that one of the most valuable clocks ever to appear at auction, The King William & Queen Mary Royal Tompion, will star in The Clive Collection of Exceptional Clocks in London on 19 June.https://t.co/6ufWtyi4Ax pic.twitter.com/ROoThd69zu— Bonhams (@bonhams1793) May 20, 2019
1700-1710 Punch Bowl for the Use of New York
2010 SOLD for $ 5.9M including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
Cornelius Kierstede belonged to the same community. He was a silversmith in New York City from 1698 to 1722 except for a brief stay in Albany from 1704 to 1706. He ended his career in New Haven. He specialized in chased silver tankards, mugs and bowls.
The Dutch are crazy about brandewijn, an eau de vie of wine drunk with water. Their New York community maintains this tradition. At family celebrations, the guests serve themselves with a silver spoon in a bowl containing the delicious liquid and raisins.
A New York-style bowl with six embossed silver panels surfaced in 2009 in England in the descent of a Loyalist officer of the Revolutionary War.
This piece made between 1700 and 1710 is marked CK for Kierstede. Measuring 32 cm in diameter and 44 cm overall with handles, it weighs 2,065 g and is the largest known piece of colonial silverware from before 1750.
Its first owner was necessarily one of the richest Dutch merchants in New York City or Albany. Several pieces marked by Kierstede belonged to the de Peyster family. Abraham is the best candidate : in 1634 his will listed nearly 50 kg of silverware including a large punch bowl which may be the recently found piece.
This bowl was sold by Sotheby's on January 22, 2010 for $ 5.9M including premium from a lower estimate of $ 400K, lot 443.
1705-1706 The Thirst of the Ambassador
2010 SOLD 2.5 M£ including premium
Unreleased until its arrival at auction in London on July 6, this silverware had been created on an initiative by Queen Anne. Seeking to ensure the standing of her ambassadors, she allocated to them a weight of silver with which they could have made an object enabling them to dazzle in society.
The ambassador in Berlin, from the Wentworth family, exceeded his quota and had to share the expenses! In any other country than England, this enormous bucket would risk a thousand times to be melted during the three centuries of its existence. But it remained cool (!) In the family of its first owner, and is now estimated 1.5 million pounds.
Despite the outstanding and royal features of this piece, the estimate is ambitious.
POST SALE COMMENT
The market has confirmed the exceptional nature of this piece of silverware: £ 2.5 million including premium.
It is viewed towering in the middle of the showroom at Sotheby's on this page shared before the sale by Art Market Monitor.
1733-1734 The Penthièvre-Orléans Tureen
1996 SOLD for $ 10.3M including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
One of his masterpieces, made in 1733-1734, is a pair of covered soup tureens, with two handles in boar's head and six hog's feet, weighing more than 13 kg each including liner and stand.
This pair belonged to Henry Janssen, an English naturalized French in 1741 who was a courtier of the comte d'Eu, grandson of Louis XIV by Montespan. Janssen had a large collection of silverware, a symbol of opulence in his day.
In 1759 all French silverware is requisitioned to finance the Seven Years' War. Eu takes the opportunity to recover the Janssen collection which thus avoids being melted. This set constitutes the major part of the collection of the duc de Penthièvre, Eu's cousin and heir, which gathered 370 kg of silverware by the greatest silversmiths of the Louis XV period : Germain, Ballin, Balzac, Auguste, Durant.
230 kg are melted down after confiscation during the Révolution. The remainder constitutes after restitution to the future King Louis-Philippe, grandson of Penthièvre by his mother, the Penthièvre-Orléans service, restored and increased by Odiot and dispersed in the 20th century.
One of the boar-headed soup tureens is kept at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The other was sold for $ 10.3M including premium by Sotheby's on November 13, 1996.
1902 The Rothschild Egg by Fabergé
2007 SOLD for £ 9M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
Fabergé is an entrepreneur who knows how to satisfy the richest customers around the world, eager to find the most sumptuous gifts for their wives. Two non-imperial variants from the cockerel egg are known, one made in 1902 for the French branch of the Rothschild family, the other in 1904 for a Russian nobleman.
The Rothschild egg was an engagement gift by Béatrice de Rothschild to Germaine Halphen who will become her sister-in-law in 1905. Stayed with that family, it surfaced in a sale by Christie's on November 28, 2007. It was sold for £ 9M including premium, lot 55. Please watch the post sale video shared by Russia Today.
This piece 27 cm high in closed position is made of solid silver enamelled in transparent pink on a guilloche background and weighs 3,645 g. To mark the hours, the lid opens to let rising a multicolored chantecler in enamelled gold set with small diamonds. For 15 seconds, the bird flaps its wings, sings while moving its head, opens and closes its beak and ends the movement by banging a bell before descending back to its original place.
This egg is dated, signed by Fabergé and stamped by the workmaster Perchin. A photo taken during its make features Perchin with his assistant Wigström who will succeed him in 1903.
1967 Silver Plates by Picasso and Hugo, Original Series
2014 SOLD for $ 3.5M by Christie's
In 1956, Picasso shows his ceramic plates to the art historian Douglas Cooper. Both regret the fragility of the ceramics and raise the idea to copy them into silver. Silver and terracotta have in common that they can be worked by a craftsman in repoussé.
Cooper introduces the silversmith François Hugo to Picasso. Hugo had worked for many artists including Max Ernst and Cocteau. He used their designs for creating jewelry, silverware and gold pieces. Picasso selected 24 plates in unglazed biscuit, suitable for being transferred in silver. In a purely artistic approach, Picasso enjoyed his silver pieces made by Hugo without foreseeing a commercial exploitation.
In 1967, Picasso finally allows Hugo to make other copies of that set in silver, starting with 19 models. For each model this issue is in 20 copies numbered 1 to 20 plus 2 "exemplaires d'artiste" (artist's proof) and 2 "exemplaires d'auteur" (author's proof). The 6 HC (hors commerce) are a later non commercial issue for the personal use of the artist.
Diameters are ranging from 39 to 42 cm, excepted three smaller. The themes are from their models in ceramics, including faces, with the stylized power of Picasso's art from the mid 1950s.
The exemplaire d'artiste 2/2 was still complete of its 19 plates when it was sold for $ 3.5M from a lower estimate of $ 1M by Christie's on May 6, 2014, lot 20. Some of them were later included in composite collections.
A re-composed complete set of the 19 original plates was sold for £ 1.27M by Christie's on February 28, 2017, lot 35.
Some collectors gathered re-composed complete sets based on the regular edition of 20 numbered copies and the extra 2 + 2 + 6 copies of the 24 plates.
A collection of 25 plates was sold for £ 1.47M by Sotheby's on October 13, 2021, lot 7. It adds to the complete regular set the 1957 proof of the Visage aux mains (empreinte originale de Picasso) which was in the collection of Marina Picasso until it was sold for £ 75K by Sotheby's on February 5, 2020, lot 342.
A collection of 24 plates was sold for HK $ 20M by Sotheby's on June 23, 2016, lot 539. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. This set includes the 1959 proof of the Visage géométrique aux traits, identified on the reverse as "exemplaire avant la lettre".
Another set of 24 was sold for £ 1.47M by Sotheby's on March 25, 2021, lot 144.