1684 Album by Bada Shanren
2016 SOLD for HK$ 77M including premium by China Guardian
1684 Stradivari in the Following of Amati
2017 SOLD for £ 1.92M including premium
Formal business relations between the two workshops are not known but a 1666 label suggests that Stradivari began his career as an apprentice ('alumnus') to Amati.
Amati had been a great innovator and experimenter, identifying how a tiny variation in the shape or size of a violin generates considerable differences in the sound. He had also tried to develop an optimized varnish. Stradivari analyzes the solutions found by the old master. He will be considered from 1690 as the most important designer and manufacturer of violins of all time.
On March 28 in London, Ingles and Hayday sells a stradivarius violin, lot 28 estimated over £ 1,3M. The instrument bears an original label inscribed 'Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1684' and presents all the characteristics of this very important period which launched the career of the master then 40 years old.
This violin had surfaced in the mid-1880s in the very active musical circles in Edinburgh and is now identified as the Ex Croall McEwen specimen. Used regularly in concert in the last thirty years, it offers important references in discography from 1985 to 1990 with the young soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house:
1687 Principia by NEWTON
One of his outstanding skills was to develop mathematical methods of high complexity to analyze and support his own physical theories. Even before he was 30, he compared the motion of the planets and the fall of the bodies. Essentially preoccupied with his own understanding of the mechanism of the universe, he published reluctantly.
2016 SOLD for $ 3.7M by Christie's
The scientific stake is highly important and Halley manages to persuade Newton to disclose in their entirety his results concerning the law of universal gravitation. Edited and financed by Halley, Newton's Latin book entitled Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica is published in 1687 with the imprimatur of the Royal Society.
The book is difficult in the opinion of the author himself and the circulation probably did not exceed 300 copies but it is of such scientific importance that Halley and Newton took care of organizing their sale through booksellers. One of them named Samuel Smith is more specifically entrusted to the supply onto the Continent and receives about 50 copies for that purpose.
On December 14, 2016, Christie's sold one of the Smith 'Continental' presentation copies of the Principia for $ 3.7M from a lower estimate of $ 1M, lot 167. It is bound in its original unrestored morocco with gold and red inlays. The recipient is not identified.
2013 SOLD for $ 2.5M by Christie's
It had been presented by Halley to King James II, patron of the Royal Society. The Royal bindings from that reign are extremely rare.
1688 André Charles Boulle, the Pioneer of Prestige
2009 SOLD 2.6 M£ including premium
In the 1680s, his creativity is immense. He brings the elegance into the apartments of the princes. The royal orders came later.
His furniture is perfect, by their form, decoration and material. Until the sale at Christie's in London on July 9, three of them were gathered in Wrotham Park, a residence of the English aristocracy, where they had arrived nearly two centuries ago.
We must not be surprised by the diversity of forms of Boulle furniture. The models for this great experimenter were mostly from his own inspiration, and his most brilliant creations were imitated to generate the French style. Our three pieces are cabinets high placed on carved stands : a pair of sarcophagus-shaped coffers made to 1688 and a cabinet with drawers which is even older, circa 1680.
The decor here includes all that is best in the inlaid Boulle marquetry, with its famous inclusions of brass, pewter and tortoiseshell.
The coffers are sold as a pair on a low estimate of £ 2.5 million. The cabinet, perhaps less easy to sell because of its more extensive changes in the late eighteenth century, is estimated 700 K £.
POST SALE COMMENT
£ 2.6 million including premium for the pair of coffers. It is a great auction result for furniture, although the low estimate has not been reached. The press release states that this lot was purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
The cabinet does not follow them: it was not sold. I had explained why it would be more difficult to sell. This confirms that the detailed reading of the catalog is essential to judge the importance of furniture.
1690 The Learned Leisure of the Kangxi Emperor
2016 SOLD for HK$ 49M including premium
Kangxi had about 130 seals for identifying his consultation of documents or expressing his opinion. The soapstone, easy to carve and in nice shade, was used extensively during his reign thanks to a new abundance of this mineral. His successors will prefer the jade.
On April 6 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells as lot 3102 a Kangxi seal in soapstone.
The mark 5.9 x 5.9 cm is clear, symbolic and effective. The central inscription indicates Yuanjianzhai as the location of its use. This inscription is flanked left and right with the undulating silhouettes of the tiger and the dragon and terminated at both ends by the symbols of heaven and earth, yin and yang, between which the emperor himself is the only intercessor.
This seal may have been shown in 1690 to the missionary Jean-François Gerbillon. Invited in the Yangxingdian to inspect the imperial seals, he observed that a possibility of textual and graphical duality was practiced in very few marks.
The Yuanjianzhai seal is topped in a lighter hue of the soapstone with a mythical beast that is altogether powerful and caring, for an overall height of 6.9 cm from that piece.
1691-1697 The Assimilation of the Southern Provinces
2016 SOLD for $ 9.5M including premium
Kangxi is not afraid to go to war but prefers peace. His tours are opportunities to link with the Four Occupations in their local particularities : gentry, peasants, craftsmen and merchants. The loyalty to the Emperor requires to understand and to be understood. Kangxi is a great statesman, lucid, responsible and effective.
The second trip took place during the 29th year of the reign, 1689 in our calendar. It was fruitful and promising and they must preserve its memory. An imperial decree orders the execution of a scroll divided into twelve parts showing in a continuity the steps of the long journey.
The project is politically important and an administrator is appointed. The artistic supervision is entrusted to Wang Hui, a renowned artist familiar with the southern landscapes.
For six years, the team of artists applies strictly on a silk strip 68 cm high the detailed instructions of Master Wang concerning the topographic features, the more or less close distance to villages and mountains, the actions of the emperor and the daily life of the people.
The overall length of the twelve scrolls, completed around the 37th year of the reign, is 200 meters. Two of the twelve scrolls are not located. The sixth scroll was divided in France circa the 1930s. Its fragments are the only elements of the set in private hands. At least two fragments of the sixth scroll are still missing.
Three fragments were auctioned by Briscadieu-Bordeaux in 2013 and 2014. One of them including dock scenes was sold for € 3,36M including premium on 27 April 2013.
The longest fragment of the sixth scroll, measuring 4.75 m, is estimated $ 4M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on September 14, lot 576. In a bird's-eye view demonstrating a remarkable control of the topographic representation, boats travel around the many islands of a river.
The tweet pasted below shows a detail. Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
Overall view exhibited in 2020 by Sotheby's.
2016 SOLD for $ 9.5M including premium by Sotheby's (narrated here)
2010 SOLD for HK$ 36.5M including premium by Sotheby's (see overall view)
2013 SOLD for € 3.36M including premium by Briscadieu
2014 SOLD for € 1.17M including premium by Briscadieu
2014 SOLD for € 600K before fees by Briscadieu
1691-1697 fragments from Kangxi's Southern Tour (3 lots)
2016 SOLD for $ 9.5M including premium by Sotheby's (the subject of article above)
2010 SOLD for HK$ 36.5M including premium by Sotheby's (see overall view)
2013 SOLD for € 3.36M including premium by Briscadieu
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
1694 Autograph Notes by Newton and Gregory
2021 SOLD for £ 1.7M by Christie's
David Gregory was one of the happy few who were skilled to construct on the Principia. A professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, he was 17 years younger than Newton. He was the first to lecture on the Principia and began communicating with Newton. In 1691 Newton managed to have Gregory elected to the Savilian chair of astronomy at the University of Oxford.
In May 1694 Gregory visited Newton in Cambridge in a six day working session based on the proposed revisions to the Principia. Their combined autograph manuscripts are heavily revised working documents based on the texts under discussion from throughout the Principia.
A scrap of paper 22 x 19 cm escaped for an unknown reason the deposit of Gregory's papers at the Royal Institution in the 1860s. These one and a half pages in Latin include 39 lines in Newton’s hand, alongside 14 lines and two diagrams by Gregory. They deal with three topics : the force acting in the compression of liquids, the orbit of the comets, the build of conic figures on centripetal forces.
This unpublished scientific draft was sold for £ 1.7M from a lower estimate of £ 600K by Christie's on July 8, 2021, lot 22. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The tweets illustrate both sides of the paper.
#AuctionUpdate A remarkable scientific manuscript by Sir Isaac Newton sold for £1,702,500, setting a new #WorldAuctionRecord for an #IsaacNewton manuscript. The manuscript contains autograph notes showing one of history's greatest scientific minds at work. □ □ pic.twitter.com/5CPmOmsiIO— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) July 8, 2021
1695 A Butterfly in the Still Life of Adriaen Coorte
2014 SOLD for £ 3.45M including premium
The still lifes by Coorte have neither predecessor nor successor. Most of them show an arrangement of fruit or asparagus on the corner of a stone ledge. From the mid 1690s, his very unusual practice of oil on paper glued on canvas or panel reinforces the assumption that the author is not a professional artist.
The butterfly appears in the same period. In flight, its wings fully open or closed do not bring realism in the composition, following the lush positioning of small animals in the art of van Kessel.
In contrast to the exuberance of van Kessel, Coorte is a minimalist. The careful texture of the fruit with stems and leaves is the unique theme of the composition, but he likes the vertical formats and the butterfly comes to cleverly break the monotony of the upper part of the picture.
Such a decorative research based on a humble iconography anticipates Chardin's researches while no link can be imagined between the Middelburg amateur and the French artist of the following century.
A paper on panel 31 x 23 cm, undated but realized around 1695, showing three peaches and a butterfly, was sold for £ 2.05M including premium by Bonhams on 7 December 2011. This painting is now estimated £ 2M, for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 3, lot 37. The image is shared by Wikimedia:
1697 Molitor Stradivarius violin
2010 SOLD for $ 3.6M by Tarisio
1698 Flowers, Birds and Landscapes by Bada Shanren
2020 SOLD for RMB 71M including premium by China Guardian
narrated in 2021
Time is passing. Zhu can finally leave the monastic habit and devote himself to painting and calligraphy. In 1684 CE, at the age of 59, he takes as his artist name Bada Shanren, which translates as 'the man of the eight great mountains'. It doesn't mean anything, but these characters evoke with a stylized writing the words 'laugh' and 'cry'.
The art of this irreducible rebel is unprecedented in its themes and style. He draws nature in small insignificant details. His brush stroke systematically includes contrasts of ink and sometimes even blur. His remarkable freedom of execution will influence the modern Chinese art.
Bada Shanren often assembles his works in albums in which at least one image is dated.
An album of ten leaves 24 x 38 cm made in 1684 was sold for HK $ 77M including premium by China Guardian on May 13, 2016, lot 500. Nine of them are equally separated for calligraphy and image, the tenth is a whole calligraphy. The similarity of composition for different subjects, for example the bird and the fish, shows the importance given by the artist to elementary forms in that phase of his restarting.
An album of seventeen leaves 30 x 22 cm made in 1698 bringing together flowers, birds and landscapes was sold for HK $ 34M including premium by Christie's on December 2, 2008, lot 1938, and for RMB 71M including premium by China Guardian on December 1, 2020, lot 290 illustrated in third position in the post sale press release.
An album of twelve leaves 29 x 20 cm made in 1703 bringing together flowers, birds, fish and fruit was sold for $ 3.13M including premium by Sotheby's on March 16, 2017, lot 844.