Our Spring 2019 Asian Art auction presents works from several fascinating collections.
From the Estate of John Hazedel Levis (1894-1961)
John Hazedel Levis (1904-1993) was an author, lecturer-recitalist, and composer-pianist who lived in Shanghai from 1904 until 1949. His book ‘Foundations of Chinese Musical Art’, published in 1936, was highly regarded by respected members of the music community like writer Lin Yutang and opera artist Met Lanfang. Mr. Levis lived in Shanghai at the same time as Lin Yutang and Mei Lanfang; sharing a deep love for the culture of Chinese music, they certainly would have known of each other’s accomplishments, attended the same functions, and would have likely met on occasion.
Lot 75 – Liu Tianhua (1895-1932), ‘Selections from the Repertoire of Operatic Songs and Terpsichorean Melodies of Mei Lan-fang’, signed by Mei Lanfang, Circa 1930
The Property of a Countess
“This vase has been in my family for six generations since the late 1800’s when Chinoiserie was very fashionable in Russia. My family is Russian Aristocracy and after the Russian Revolution in 1917 were targeting by the Communists, when half of the family were either killed or sent to the Siberian gulags by Stalin’s regime. Three generations of women managed to survive until World War II when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. When the Germans retreated, my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother managed to escape their homeland and flee to Germany with some precious belongings. This vase was one of them. It survived the Allied bombings in Berlin, and came to Canada in 1947 with them when they immigrated here as refugees. It has been much loved and cherished.”
Lot 142 – A gilt and blue ground decorated medallion bottle vase, Guangxu mark and period (1875-1908). From a Russian aristocratic family since the late 1800s (see family note directly copied from the consigner’s email)
A Prominent Toronto Estate
Lots 105 & 106 – Two large contemporary paintings by the American-Chinese artist Walasse Ting, best known for his fluorescent coloured paintings of erotic nudes from a private Toronto estate near Forest Hill. They were purchased in the late 1980s from Arij Gasiunasen Fine Art, in Toronto, well before the market for his works reach peak prices in the 2000s.
From the Collection of Robert Murray Bell and Ann Walker Bell
The Bell family began collecting Chinese porcelain in the 1930s, and continued until Robert Murray’s death in 1998. Dedicated and enthusiastic collectors, they gradually accumulated one of Toronto’s finest collections of blue and white porcelain. The majority of the Bell’s collection was generously donated to the permanent collection at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto.
Lots 135 and 136 – A pair of blue and white ‘lotus’ dishes, Tongzhi mark and period (1862-1874) and one blue and white ‘phoenix’ dish, Xianfeng mark and period (1851-1861). All three dishes come from the Bell family collection, the same collection in the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, that boasts some of the finest examples of blue and white porcelain in the world.
Lot 75 – Signed book by the famous early 20th century Peking opera artist Mei Lanfang
Lot 142 – A gilt and blue ground decorated medallion bottle vase, Guangxu mark and period (1875-1908).