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A HIGHLY IMPORTANT IMPERIAL EMBROIDERED SILK THANGKA

A HIGHLY IMPORTANT IMPERIAL EMBROIDERED SILK THANGKA YONGLE SIX-CHARACTER PRESENTATION MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1402-1424) This massive panel is exquisitely embroidered in gold thread and brilliant coloured silk threads on leaf-green jiang chou silk enriched with a regular pattern of dark blue medallions of curled leafy scrolls outlined with gold thread. The central image is of the wrathful Raktayamari, depicted in tones of red, standing in yab-yum embracing his consort Vajravetali. Her left leg encircling his waist, his right hand wielding above his head a khatvanga embellished with human heads in varying states and the vajra thunderbolt, his left arm supporting his facing consort and holding a kapala or skull cap in his left hand. The locked couple is trampling on the blue corpse of Yama, the Lord of death, wearing a tiger skin and crown, lying on the back of their mount, a brown buffalo recumbent on a multi-coloured lotus base. All below two rows of buddhas and bodhisattvas seated on lotus bases, the upper including Heruka Vajrabhairava on the far left and Manjusri on the far right, flanking the five Dhyani Buddhas, Ratnasambhava, Akshobhya, Vairocana, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi. The lower row with Green Tara and White Tara. On the lower panel is a row of seven offering goddesses dancing on lotus bases and holding aloft dishes as offerings below the couple. The thangka is bordered by an embroidered yellow-ground band of vajra. On the upper right side is the vertical presentation mark in gold thread on a red embroidered ground below the White Tara. Accompanied with a Qing dynasty silk surround now detached. 132 x 84 in. (335.3 x 213.4 cm.)

  • HKGHongkong (S.A.R. Kina)
  • 2014-11-26
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A sickle-leaf, vine scroll and palmette 'vase'-technique carpet, probably

The visual impact of the Clark sickle-leaf carpet is so potent that it has impressed carpet scholars for decades, beginning with its first publication, where the author writes, “ The Clark-Corcoran carpet is definitely the finest of the group, and is surely one of the outstanding examples of Persian carpet weaving,” Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, vol. VI, 1939, pp. 2385-2386.The tremendous vitality of this carpet’s design is achieved through its highly complex network of swirling vines, which intertwine and overlap each other and flowering or fruit-laden branches.  All of these are in planes overlaid by the curling, split and serrated lancet or ‘sickle’-leaves which encircle the horizontal and angled palmettes.  Also on the highest plane are the bold palmettes along the central vertical axis and the half-motifs along edges of the field.  The two elegant cypress trees, while overlaid by leaves and branches, pierce the pattern vertically.  All of these elements are depicted in a rich array of vivid color and executed with a crispness of drawing that demonstrate the superiority of the carpet’s weavers and designers. While the horizontal palmettes are in symmetrical pairs, the overall pattern is asymmetric with one end of the field having three split medallions and the other end featuring two large half-palmettes and quarter rosette medallions at the corners.  It is very likely that this is one half of a design that would have been mirrored, creating a carpet of more typical long and narrow Safavid proportions, see Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, p. 2385.  Pope further proposes that the format of this carpet shows that it was woven for a throne dais or takht and that the throne, and carpet, would have been placed against a wall at one end such it would appear that the Shah were sitting in the middle of a great carpet, Pope, ibid.  This proposed function for the carpet stuck over the years, and in the 1976 exhibition Carpets of Central Persia, this carpet was labeled “The Corcoran Throne Rug,” see May H. Beattie, Carpets of Central Persia, Sheffield, 1976, pl. 6, cat. no. 15. Beattie also notes how the carpet can be viewed from either end, as the vines and leaves are directed “alternately medially and laterally,” although she prefers viewing with the cypress trees upright rather than “balancing on their tips,” and illustrates the carpet with this orientation, see Beattie, ibid, p. 50.  Whether or not this carpet was woven for a dais, its scale adds to its dramatic impact as the design elements are barely contained within its boundries. The sickle-leaf design is the most rare of ‘vase’ technique carpet patterns and of the extant pieces known, the Clark carpet appears to be the only one having a red ground.  The sickle-leaf motif itself is undoubtedly a Safavid rendition of the Ottoman saz, or curling, feathered leaf motif, such as those seen on the Cairene carpets in this catalogue, lots 1 and 2.   The saz appears around 1550 in an album of design elements that would be appropriate in many media including ceramics, textiles, metalwork, book bindings, and carpets, that was produced by the imperial studio of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, see Michael Franses, "The Influences of Safavid Persian Art Upon An Ancient Tribal Culture," in Heinrich Kirchheim, et al., Orient Stars, Stuttgart and London, 1993, p.108.   Curling, serrated lancet or sickle leaves became a popular motif in carpets, appearing not only in Safavid and Ottoman court carpets but also in works from the Caucasus, (see C. G. Ellis, Early Caucasian Rugs, Washington, D.C., 1975, pl. 22, the Caucasian 'vase' carpet from the collection of Harold Keshishian), and Mughal India, see Dimand and Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, pp. 148-9, fig. 129, cat. no. 55.  Not only found in Safavid 'vase'-technique weaving, the curling leaf also appears in carpets from other Persian workshops such as those attributed to Isphahan, with one example being lot 19 in this catalogue, the Lafões carpet. Most closely related to the Clark carpet design-wise is the sickle-leaf 'vase'-technique carpet in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, see Richard Ettinghausen, Persian Art: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 1985, pl. 30.  The Gulbenkian carpet shares a similar design scheme although on a deep blue ground and the design is mirrored from the central horizontal axis such that its dimensions are those more typical for Safavid weavings, more than twice as long as it is wide.  The Clark and Gulbenkian carpets also share a similar narrow border with simple band guard stripes.  These narrow borders have led some to speculate that they are the inner guard borders to a wide major border that would more comfortably complement the large design elements of the field, see Steven Cohen, “Safavid and Mughal Carpets in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon,” Hali, issue 114, p. 85. Yet, a narrow border is a feature of so many ‘vase’ technique carpets that Spuhler stated, “The borders of all Vase carpets are exceptionally narrow, and, as in this fragment, they often lack guard stripes,” when writing about the Sarre fragment in Berlin, see Friedrich Spuhler, Oriental Carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, Berlin, 1987, pl. 86, p. 227. Other related ‘vase-technique carpets with narrow borders include the Béhague ‘vase’ carpet, see Christie’s London, 15 April 2010, lot 100 and Pope, op.cit., pl. 1232; the Wagner Garden carpet in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, see Beattie, op.cit., pl. I; and sickle-leaf design ‘vase’ carpet fragments in the Textile Museum, see Charles Grant Ellis, “Kirman’s Heritage in Washington, Vase Rugs in the Textile Museum,” Textile Museum Journal, vol. II, no. 3, December 1968, figs. 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10a, 16. The border design of palmettes, rosettes and scrolling, flowering vines on the present carpet is most similar to that on the ‘vase’-technique carpet with fragments in the Textile Museum, Berlin and Cairo, see respectively Ellis, ibid, fig. 1 and Spuhler, op.cit., pl. 86, and Gaston Wiet, Exposition d’Art Persan, Cairo, 1935.  While the basic elements of this border pattern are found in many ‘vase’ carpets including fragments in the Textile Museum, Ellis, op.cit, figs. 3, 4, 58, 10a, the motifs are usually more stylized and regular, as most distinctly seen on the Béhague carpet.  Ellis sees these changes as an evolution over time and one aspect in setting a chronology of ‘vase’ carpets with the earliest examples being the Berlin, Textile Museum and Cairo carpet and the Clark carpet offered here, see Ellis, ibid., p. 19. In comparing the Clark carpet with the other sickle-leaf design ‘vase’ technique carpets there are differences in the designs that suggest a rough chronology.  The Gulbenkian carpet features a layer of red vines that are thicker than the underlying floral vinery, while the branches and vines on the Clark carpet are all quite fine.  On the Clark carpet the sickle-leaves are also more attenuated than the robust, highly serrated foliage on the Gulbenkian carpet.  Sickle leaves on the Jekyll carpet fragments appear to have characteristics similar to both carpets with some leaves being elongated like the Clark and others being more thick and feathered as in the Gulbenkian carpet, see Kirchheim, op.cit., pl. 72, pp. 138-9 and Roland Gilles, et al, Tapis present de l’Orient a l’Occident, Paris, 1989, pp. 148-9.   In the Béhague carpet and the sickle-leaf carpet once with Miss E. T. Brown, see Pope, op.cit., pl. 1236, the leaves have become more uniform in their drawing and placement across the field, suggesting that these are the latest pieces in the chronology.  Ellis, op.cit., p. 19 believes the Clark carpet to be the oldest of the sickle-leaf 'vase'- technique group, dating it to the late 16th century.  Scholars since have come to consider the Gulbenkian as the earliest with the Clark and Jekyll examples following closely thereafter in the early 17th century, see Dimand and Mailey, op.cit., p. 77 and Beattie, op.cit. p. 50. All of the sickle leaves in these carpets are internally decorated with a variety of flowering vines and in many cases they are split in two colors along the vein of the leaf.  In the Clark carpet the sickle leaves are split, with a smaller leaf of a different color sprouting from the long leaf and curling in the opposite direction. The Brown and Gulbenkian carpet have some of these extra leaves, however not to the extent of the Clark carpet.  Other distinctive features of the Clark carpet are the pair of cypress trees and the pair of shield-like light blue palmettes at right angles to the trees, the fan-like blossoms at the base of the trees and the pair of coiled, stylized blue and white cloudbands which also demark a slight shift in the design to the central vertical axis of the carpet.  These bold, rotund cloudbands are found in other ‘vase’-technique carpets, for examples the Sarre/Berlin fragment and two fragments in the Musée des Tissus, Lyon, see Roland Gilles, et al., Le Ciel dans un Tapis, Paris, 2004, pls. 50 and 51, pp. 184-187. The pair of tall, elegant cypress trees in the Clark carpet are more uncommon on sickle design ‘vase’ technique carpets, appearing on two fragments from the same carpet now split between The Burrell collection, Glasgow Art Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, see Beattie, op.cit., nos. 18 and 19, pp. 52-53.  Similar pairs of cypress trees appear in other important Safavid carpets such as the Schwarzenberg ‘Paradise Park’ carpet, now in the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar as well as the 'Coronation' carpet, in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, see respectively Michael Franses, “Persian Classical Carpets,” Hali, no. 155, p. 10 and Linda Kamaroff, "The Coronation Carpet," Hali, no. 162, fig. 2, p. 47.  Cypress trees have long been revered by the Persians.  They are indigenous to the area and have longevity, leading to them becoming a symbol of immortality, and to their choice as a symbol for the Zoroastrian god Mithra, see Susan Day, “The Tree of Life: A Universal Symbol,” Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies VI, Milan, 1999, p. 11. Trees have been used by man as symbols of life, paradise and the cosmic universe from earliest times to the present, see Day, ibid, pp. 1-13.   Since Cyrus the Great built the large garden he called his ‘Paradise Park’ around 540 B.C., Persian artists and authors have been depicting and writing about gardens as a paradise ever since, see Franses, op.cit., p. 7.  A favored composition for carpets therefore became the paradise garden with its depiction taking various forms from the ‘Paradise Park’ carpets, to the bird’s eye view ‘Garden’ carpets, to the ‘vase’-technique carpets filled with stylized floral motifs and flowering shrubs.  The Clark carpet with its abundance of trees and branches issuing ripe fruits and a myriad of flowering blossoms is the essence of a garden paradise. A distinct characteristic of the ‘vase’ technique group of carpets is their vivid color range and the highly sophisticated juxtaposition of these colors.  In the earliest ‘vase’ carpets, including the Clark carpet, the design is also resplendent in its variety of floral elements and in their differing sizes. Here, the dynamic combination of design and color keep the eye moving over the surface of the carpet .  The Clark sickle-leaf carpet also engages our imagination and we are invited into a world of great splendor and abundance by a tour de force of Safavid weaving. Please note that a license may be required to export textiles, rugs and carpets of Iranian origin from the United States. Clients should enquire with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding export requirements. Please check with the Carpet department if you are uncertain as to whether a lot is subject to this restriction or if you need assistance.

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  • 2013-06-05
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An isphahan carpet, central persia

This magnificent carpet was one of many that Senator William A. Clark purchased from Vitall Benguiat, the legendary dealer known as "The Pasha,"  see Wesley Towner, "The Pasha and the Magic Carpets; The story of Vitall Benguiat," Hali, vol. II, no. 3, pp. 183-191.  Benguiat appears to have been quite a character, largely self-educated, with a deep passion for textiles and carpets, a good eye and boundless energy.  Having come to the United States initially at the behest of the architect Stanford White in 1898, Benguiat went on to become the purveyor of fine carpets to tycoons such as J. P. Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, Henry Walters, Joseph E. Widener and Horace Havemeyer, although "no one attempted to compete with Senator William Clark, 'the richest man west of the Mississippi', whose Indo-Isphahans and velvets were believed to have cost him $3,000,000," ibid, p. 191.   Benguiat travelled to Europe on a regular basis in search of works of art for his American clients, with Portugal being a source for 'Indo-Isphahan' carpets.  It is in Portugal that he purchased the present lot as well as the pair of 'Braganza' carpets which descended through the Bragancas, the royal family of Portugal.   The pair of 'Braganza' carpets were sold by Benguiat through the American Art Association, December 4-5, 1925, lots 71 and 72 with the first now in a private collection, formerly in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, see Friedrich Spuhler, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Carpets and Textiles, London, 1998, pl. 22 and the second once in the collection of Mrs Edsel B. Ford, eventually sold Christie's London, 22 April 1999, lot 101.  Three other Isphahan carpets that Benguiat purchased from the Fourth Duke of Lafões were also sold to Senator Clark, see Christie's New York, November 24, 2009, lots 29, 129 and 133. The unusually large size and long, narrow dimensions of this carpet denote that it was commissioned for a specific and very grand space. While the design elements are typical to Safavid Isphahan carpets, the configurations of curving lancet leaves into a Western armorial shape at either end of the field point to this carpet being commissioned by a European noble or royal patron.  In this instance, the carpet descended through the Dukes of Lafões, a title that was created in 1718 by King Joao V of Portugal (r. 1707-50) for the illegitimate descendants of his father, King Pedro II (r. 1683-1706).  The first Duke of Lafões was Joao V's nephew, Pedro Henrique de Braganca (1718-61), and it is more likely that he acquired the carpet than commissioned it, as it is most similar to Isphahan carpets dated to the 17th century featuring curling lancet leaves in the field and border designs.  Related carpets include another still in Portugal, see Jessica Hallett, "From the Looms of Yazd and Isfahan, Persian Carpets and Textiles in Portugal," Carpets and Textiles in the Iranian World 1400-1700, Oxford 2010, p. 108, fig. 9 from the Convent de Lourical now in the Museo Naçional de Machado Castro, Coimbra, and one from the Benjamin Altman collection now in the Metropolitan Musem of Art, see M.S. Dimand and Jean Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1973, cat. no. 30, fig. 99, pp. 70 and 107.  Hallett, op.cit. p.106-110 proposes a chronology for Isphahan spiral-vine and palmette carpets based on structure and design types.  Group 1 are the earliest and are those having a part silk foundation; groups 2, 3 and 4 have all cotton foundations and designs progressing from vines, palmettes and cloudbands (group 2), to which are added curling lancet leaves (group 3), and culminating in group 4 with 'quatrefoil' arabesque field patterns and cypress trees in the border.  The first group are from the late 16th/early 17th century with groups 2, 3 and 4 following through the 17th century and into the early 18th century.  As she places The Lafões Carpet in the third group she dates it to the late 17th/early 18th century.   The intricate border to this carpet is unusual and found on a few carpets dated by scholars to the 17th century, including the two mentioned above, another carpet from the Clark collection, sold Christie's New York, November 24, 2009, lot 129; a fragment in the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, see Friedrich Spuhler, Carpets from Islamic Lands, Kuwait, 2012, cat. 22, pp. 102-3; a fragmentary carpet sold V. & L. Benguiat Collection, American Art Association, New York, December 4-5, 1925, lot 35; and a carpet once in the collection of J. Paul Getty, sold Sotheby’s New York, September 24, 1991, lot 239. Prior to entering into the collection of the Duke of Lafões, this carpet may have been in the collection of the royal family or another Portuguese aristocrat.   It is enticing to speculate that it may have been one of the "140 carpets of such extraordinary magnificence..." that covered the pavement at the 1669 baptism of Isabel Louisa, daughter of future King Pedro II, for the quote see Viterbo, F.M., Artes e Artistas em Portugal, Lisbon, 1920 sited in Hallett, op.cit., p. 115.  The scale of the design elements and their elegant rendering in this carpet are perfectly balanced as they are mirrored end to end.  The cloudbands are both intricately drawn and robust in character; the palmettes and leaves are lushly feathered and all are woven in complex color juxtapositions to create a carpet suitable for the sumptuous space, if not palace, for which it was commissioned.    Senator Clark decorated a large painting gallery in his New York mansion with this carpet, however, its remarkable condition suggests that this was a gallery reserved for only the most exclusive guests. Please note that a license may be required to export textiles, rugs and carpets of Iranian origin from the United States. Clients should enquire with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding export requirements. Please check with the Carpet department if you are uncertain as to whether a lot is subject to this restriction or if you need assistance.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-06-05
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A safavid carpet, isphahan, central persia

Technical Analysis Warp: silk, Z2S, yellow Weft: cotton, Z2S ivory, 3 shoots Pile: wool, asymmetrical knot, open to the left Density: 15-17 horizontal; 15-17 vertical Sides: not original Ends: not original This richly colored carpet with its complex, layered design of spiraling tendrils terminating in palmettes belongs to the red ground, so-called  "spiral-vine" or “in and out palmette,” group of carpets believed to have been woven in Isphahan during the Safavid dynasty (1502-1732.)  This particular design appeared first in the sixteenth century and continued to find favor throughout the seventeenth century.  In the present lot, the flowering, swirling vines are supported by sinuous cloudbands and pairs of birds of varying plumage.  The earliest examples of the spiral-vine carpets are characterized by the use of silk in the foundation, an unusually wide variety of colors and superbly delineated drawing, as in the present lot.   The most well- known carpets that belong to this early group are the pair of “Emperors’ Carpets” with one now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the other in the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna; see respectively Dimand, M., and Mailey, Jean, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, fig. 76, cat.no. 12; "The Emperor's Old Carpets," Hali, issue 31, p. 15.  These two carpets feature animals in the design in addition to the birds and cloudbands found here. In Safavid Persia, silk was one of the most expensive materials available, and therefore was reserved for use by the court, and the most elite workshops where highly skilled weavers executed designs supplied by court artists.  The crisply drawn, intricate and symmetrically balanced design of the present carpet suggests that it was almost certainly executed from such a very detailed cartoon.  This, coupled with the use of silk in the foundation, indicates that the present lot can be justly labeled as a “court carpet” – a term often erroneously applied.   Silk was so highly prized and prestigious a commodity that some contemporaneous carpets woven on cotton warps would then have silk fringes tied to the warps, a feature seen even on the iconic “Emperors’ Carpet” in Vienna, see Hali, op.cit., p. 15.  Exporting silk at high profits to neighboring countries, or even as far as Italy, provided substantial income for the Safavid court.  Just how extremely treasured silk was is illustrated by the fact that Sultan Selim I attempted to ban the export of silk from Persia to the Ottoman Empire in order to weaken the Safavid economy. Interestingly, by the end of the seventeenth century the “in and out palmette” pattern fell almost completely out of favor in Persia as well as in the export markets of England and of continental Europe. Surviving documentation from the East India Company, which was the main exporter of these carpets to the West, indicates the decline of popularity of “in and out palmette” carpets. A letter from the company’s governors from 1686 state: “You must never send us any more Persian carpets, for those that we had by way of Surat will not yield us here above a third of what they cost in Persia, which gives us just that cause to fear that we were abused in the price of them, the greater cause of our loss being that such rich carpets are now grown much out of use in Europe,” see J. Irwin, “Indian Textile Trade in the Seventeenth Century,” Journal of Indian Textile Trade, I, 1955, pp. 5-33.  In the nineteenth century there was a resurgance of Western interest in the exotic which included carpets from the East or the Orient.  The red ground, spiral vine and palmette carpets such as this lot were once again in great demand with carpets such as this being as prestigious and coveted as Old Master paintings by collectors such as the Rothschilds, J.P Morgan and the Fricks, in the first quarter of the twentieth century.  The vivid color and remarkable state of preservation of the carpet offered here attests to its having been a treasured object for over 400 years. Another related carpet with only birds embellishing the spiral-vine pattern is the “Enzenberg spiral-vine carpet” in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, see Spuhler, F., The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Carpets and Textiles, London, 1998, pl. 20.   More closely related to the field design of the carpet offered here is that of a carpet from the Kelekian Collection, see Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, London and New York, 1939, pl. 1186.  According to Pope, carpets such as this lot may have been woven for use in mosques as they omit depicting any animals or human figures which would be considered sacrilege, while the representation of birds was permissible, see ibid., p. 2363.  Another closely related silk foundation carpet, although somewhat less complex in design as it does not depict birds, sold Christie’s London, 16 April 2007, lot 100 ($1,530,014).  Related fragments include one from the Collection of the late Robert De Calatchi, Paris and sold Sotheby’s London, October 4, 2000, lot 79; one in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, see Kurt Erdmann, Der Orientalische Knüpfteppich, Tübingen, 1955, Abb. 79; one from the collection of Mrs. Nelson A. Rockefeller sold Sotheby’s New York, June 4, 1998, lot 10; and another at Galerie Koller, Zurich, March 28, 2001, lot 1061.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-02-01
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A magnificent pair of ormolu-mounted ebony, jasper, porphyry and pietra

Each with an inset veneered jasper top of inverted breakfront form, the frieze drawer with porphyry ground, centered by a cameo of a Bacchic mask forming the keyhole, flanked by ormolu foliate scrolls and garlands of husks, the corners fitted with ormolu bearded masks above free-standing jasper columns with ormolu Corinthian capitals; the panelled front centered by a pietra dura plaque incorporating a bird perched in a vase of fruit including cherries, pears, grapes, plums and peaches executed in a variety of hard stones including lapis lazuli, amethyst and jasper, contained within a lapis lazuli border and a cushion molded porphyry border within ormolu leaf tips borders; the slightly outset rectangular base fitted with a reeded border with foliate clasps, the apron fitted with shells flanked by foliate scrolls and garlands of husks, raised on spirally-fluted ormolu legs cast with chandelles; the sides fitted with complementary ormolu mounts centered by a large trefoil within a roundel on a porphyry ground. COMPARATIVE LITERATURE C. Wainwright, The Romantic Interior, New Haven & London, 1989, pp. 109-147. A.-M. Giusti, Pietre Dure, Hardstones in Furniture and Decoration, London, 1992, pp. 194-222. WILLIAM BECKFORD (1670-1844) William Beckford was indisputably one of the greatest English collectors of his day; he was one of the richest men in England and an inveterate traveler.  His storied life has made it difficult for his biographers to distinguish between the recorded facts and Beckford’s own imaginative inventions and fantasties, however his reputation as a collector of the first order is beyond question.  He was a serious collector of Asian and Islamic works of art, including, amongst other things, a priceless collection of lacquer-work.  He also collected in the more traditional fields of mediaeval, Renaissance and later works of art, fine arts, furniture, rare books and other curiosities. Beckford was the son of Alderman William Beckford (d.1770) who was famed as the builder of Fonthill Splendens in Wiltshire; he also served as Lord Mayor of London.  Beckford was father to two daughters, one of whom, Susan Euphemia, would marry Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, later 10th Duke of Hamilton (d.1852) of Hamilton Palace, the repository of another great English collection.  Like Beckford, the Duke of Hamilton was a passionate connoisseur and collected, amongst other things, extremely important French furniture. Beckford lived for many years outside England.  He took up residence in Paris in 1788 on the eve of the Revolution, renting the richly decorated and celebrated Hôtel d’Orsay on the rue de Varenne.  He remained in Paris and took advantage of the fact that after the Revolution, there was an unparalleled opportunity to acquire extraordinary works of art and furniture with the most distinguished provenances. Beckford eventually returned to England, settling in Fonthill Splendens where, in 1796, he instituted the work of his lifetime, the creation of Fonthill Abbey. By 1822, he had created the best known and most discussed building in Britain, but not without a devastating drain on his financial resources, and so he announced the contents for sale.  The extravagant building did not long survive its eventual sale to John Farquhar, collapsing entirely in 1825. By this time, Beckford had settled in Bath, living in Lansdown Crescent.  He also maintained, as he always had, a London residence and it is not yet clear which of these residences the present cabinets were destined for. THE BECKFORD CABINETS The present cabinets have been fully documented by Philip Hewat-Jaboor and Bet McLeod, who note that in 1824 when they were commissioned, Beckford had been relieved of the financial burden of Fonthill Abbey and was enjoying a period of renewed collecting and commissioning.  In the late 1780’s, when in Portugal as a young man shortly after the death of his wife, Beckford had met Gregorio Franchi who would become his agent during the 1790’s.  Franchi was as knowledgeable as Beckford and had a particular appreciation of hardstones and lapidary work.  It was Franchi who oversaw the assembly of these cabinets in Paris, probably in concert with Robert Hume who was the cabinet-maker most frequently employed by Beckford, and by his son-in-law, the Duke of Hamilton. Hume was recorded as an agent for Beckford in 1828 (The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, Leeds, 1986, p. 462), and the link between these cabinets and Hume is a clock-cabinet which he created for the Duke of Hamilton c. 1820-22 which incorporates identical jasper columns with identical ormolu Corinthian capitals cast with cinquefoils.  This suggests that all these columns and capitals derive from the same earlier piece of furniture.  (For the Duke of Hamilton's clock-cabinet see, Anna Maria Massinelli, Hardstones, p. 49, no. 9). A sketch of one of these two cabinets (now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford), appears on a blank piece of paper which was part of the Beckford Papers, (sold, Sotheby’s, London, July 6, 1977 lot 272), entitled: “The archive of William Beckford’s literary manuscripts, correspondence and personal papers” which had been bequeathed to Beckford’s daughter.  These papers had remained in the Hamilton family until 1977 and the sketch was in a file of the archive catalogued as: Collections and designs of work of art, furniture and pictures and more specifically: Collection of receipts and list, many in the hand of Beckford’s boy-friend Gregorio Franchi for objects and stained glass purchased from dealers, artists and auctions … The pietra dura panels were more than likely supplied by Hume (see Adriana Turpin, William Beckford (op.cit.) p. 191).  Franchi purchased the jasper for the columns and the Egyptian porphyry in Rome, and he wrote to Beckford in November 1824:             “The two cabinets that are being made in Paris cannot be finished without bringing from here the necessary porphyry and slabs that are supposed to be the background for the gilt bronze mounts”.  The carcases were probably recycled from an earlier piece of furniture, and the gilt-bronze mounts were made by an as yet unidentified bronzier in Paris.  In January 1825, Franchi sent a report on the progress:             “from Paris I have news that the dealer has the wood ready and that they are finished.  The bronzes are still being made”. The bacchic cameo masks were also found in Rome: “the keyholes are two magnificent masks of agate, a milk-colour on a dark ground, that are in the hands of a disciple of Girometti”. Jaboor & McLeod, ibid. p. 413. THE PIETRA DURA PANELS The present panels can be attributed to the Florentine craftsman, Giovanni Ambrogio Giacchetti who worked at the Gobelins in Paris between 1670-1675.  His signature appears on the back of a very similar panel on a Louis XVI commode in the Royal Palace of Stockholm.  Another almost identical panel is mounted on a Louis XVI commode by Martin Carlin in the British Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace; this commode is mounted with further smaller pietra dura plaques two of which are signed by Giacchetti (see, Alvar González-Palacios, Il Gusto dei Principe, Vol. II, 1993, pp.30-31).  The Carlin commode was acquired by George IV in 1828, close to the date of the present lot and indicative of the prevailing taste in England for furniture in the 'antique' style of Louis XIV. THE BECKFORD/HAMILTON CINQUEFOIL The 'cinquefoil pierced ermine' lily heraldic device derives from the Hamilton arms to which Beckford was entitled through his mother, Maria Hamilton Beckford (d. 1798, daughter of the Hon. George Hamilton, son of James, 6th Earl of Abercorn).  He made full use of his entitlement and this device was applied to a number of pieces of furniture; it was found tooled on the spines of his books, on his porcelain, and engraved on his silver, and was ubiquitous in the decoration of Fonthill Abbey. STAFFORD HOUSE Stafford House, better known now as Lancaster House, was built in 1825 by Benjamin Wyatt for the “grand old” Duke of York.  The Duke of York died before it was completed in 1827 and the house, then known as York House, was sold by the government to the Marquis of Sutherland in 1828.  Re-styled ‘Stafford House’ the Marquis contributed greatly to its completion, but died shortly after being elevated to 1st Duke of Sutherland in 1833 and before seeing the house finished.  His son, the 2nd Duke of Sutherland had completed the work by 1842 and lived there with his wife until his death in 1861.  At that time, Stafford House was widely regarded as the grandest town house in London and was celebrated for its collections, as noted by Charles Dickens, in 1879: STAFFORD HOUSE belonging to the Duke of Sutherland, situated near the St. James’s Palace – and a palace itself – has a  magnificent collection of pictures, including the portion of the Stafford Gallery which did not pass with the Bridgewater Gallery. There is no private collection of pictures in London better worthy of careful inspection than this. Stafford House has been the scene of some of the most superb receptions ever given in this country. Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879 It cannot be determined exactly whether it was the 1st or the 2nd Duke of Sutherland who acquired these cabinets since it was more than likely a private sale during the 1830s when Beckford found that he needed to raise funds.  The transaction certainly took place, however, before 1839 when the cabinets are recorded in an inventory taken at Stafford House: No. 38, Green velvet room … two dwarf commodes of marble & ormolu ornamented with polished stones,with columns of fine jasper and the tops of jasper.

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  • 2005-11-04
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Nueva York Desde La Terraza

Oil on canvas Signed and dated 37 lower right Very few of Rufino Tamayo’s paintings contain clear autobiographical references. Besides bearing the classical aesthetic values typical of his oeuvre, these special paintings have an additional attraction:  they evidence important moments of Tamayo’s life and visually narrate, in the first person, events that refer directly to the artist’s feelings and emotions. Nueva York desde la terraza (New York from the Terrace), painted in 1937, is one such painting. Although Tamayo was not inclined to executing works with narrative content, many of his paintings refer to memories of certain events.  Besides recording a memento of a specific time and space in his life, Nueva York desde la terraza is a declaration of the artist’s principles. Nueva York desde la terraza makes use of several different pictorial genres:  a double portrait of the artist and his wife Olga, whom he married in 1934; the landscape of Manhattan glimpsed by the two characters from the terrace; and a still life with the emblematic watermelons that became Tamayo’s hallmark. In the painting, Tamayo stares intently through a telescope at the magnificent cityscape of one of the most important and demanding art centers in the world, the city he will conquer with his painting. Olga confronts the scene from another angle, leaning out over the railing to join the urban landscape. Years later, writing in the journal of the University of Mexico, Tamayo recalled the conquering spirit of adventure recorded in Nueva York desde la terraza: "On my third trip to New York, I did not go alone; I was with my wife, Olga.  The first thing I did was to take her to 57th Street which was the center of the arts at the time.  “Here is where the best art galleries are,” I said, “and I promise that some day you will see my paintings exhibited here.”  It was not a false promise.  I was sure to succeed because I have had always faith in my work." New York opened a special chapter in Tamayo’s painting.  He asserted that in New York, “I was in contact with universal painting. My eyes were opened. I realized that freedom was fundamental to art.  I saw the artists of the world solve problems in a different manner.  There was a change in my work.  Before going to New York our [Mexican] tradition was the most important subject.  It is still present, but I also acquired the sense of universality.”  Nueva York desde la terraza reflects a glimpse into the modern art that Tamayo feverishly studied in the city’s museums.  The synthesis of the painting’s subject, its palette, and especially the landscape, presents a very significant innovation in his paintings.  Nueva York desde la terraza is probably the first canvas in which Tamayo expresses a new aesthetic syntax combining daring coloration and a very personal treatment. It is also an intimate painting that records a vital chapter in the history of the artist as well as of Mexican art. Juan Carlos Pereda, 2004

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  • 2004-05-27
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A 'polonaise' silk and metal-thread rug, isphahan or kashan, central persia

The hallmark shimmering silver and gold tones over a saturated ground color of ‘Polonaise’ carpets was achieved by wrapping extremely fine silver-gilt and silver thread diagonally around silk threads. These metal threads were wound around the silk core in a way that the silk remained partially visible; for a gold effect the metal thread was wrapped around yellow silk and for silver, white silk. As a result of this technique the colors blended harmoniously into solid shades of gold and silver in the eyes of the onlooker. This effect has deteriorated with time due to the corrosion of metal threads, which renders them dark, however it is still partially visible in some surviving rugs, such as the one offered here. Most surviving 'Polonaise' rugs have not retained their original coloring due to the fugitive dyes used at the time.  It is precisely the well-conserved emerald green field color that makes this lot particularly rare and attractive.  A medallion "Polonaise" rug in the Hallwylska Museum, Stockholm also features a green field, see Annette Grunland, et al., ICOC XII, Stockholm 2011, p. 31, and another rug formerly in the Benguiat collection and then that of Endre Ungar was sold (privately after the auction) at Sotheby's London, 28 April 1993, lot 61.  When viewing this rug, one can easily imagine the vibrancy of the original colors of the many now faded ‘Polonaise’ rugs that were originally juxtaposed with the shimmering metal brocading. Related small format "Polonaise" rugs with an overall vinery and arabesque design include two illustrated by A.U. Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford 1936, pls. 1242 and 1243; the latter, the Czartoryski rug, in color, Christie's London, 11 October 1990, lot 34. The design of the present rug is most similar to the crimson ground palmette and vinery wool rugs also produced in Safavid workshops, now generally attributed to Isphahan.  In this rug, the split-leaf arabesques of the field pattern are unusually bold and attenuated as in a rug from the Fletcher collection now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, see M. Dimand and J. Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1973, cat. no. 23, fig. 90 and in the Yerkes-Schiff-Getty "Polonaise" rug sold Sotheby's New York, 8 December 1990, lot 3.  The Yerkes-Schiff-Getty rug also employed emerald green as its major border color.   In the rug here offered the border arabesques are more similar to those in the field of the Rothschild-Kevorkian-Getty "Polonaise," sold Sotheby's New York, 8 December 1990, lot 2 and now in a European collection.  Here, the interlocking and dense design becomes almost secondary to the color in order to create an overall harmonious surface.  One can only hypothesize whether the weaver of this rug aimed for this effect, nevertheless, the end product is a particularly lavish and dazzling representation of Safavid court art. Incorporating brilliant metal-thread and silk brocading and having a distinctive color palette comprising soft gold tones accented by vivid blues, subtle greens and gentle shades of reds, 'Polonaise' rugs stand out as a distinct group among classical Persian pile weavings. The term 'Polonaise' is a misnomer for these Central Persian rugs. In 1878, a number of silk and metal-thread carpets from the collection of Prince Ladislas Czartoryski were exhibited at the Paris International Exhibition. As some of the carpets displayed the Czartoryski coat-of-arms, it was assumed that these rugs were made in Poland. The Polish attribution persisted and these carpets still bear the name 'Polonaise' in spite the fact that it was later recognized that this group was the product of Persian looms, most likely located in Kashan or Isphahan.  Their manufacture was closely associated with the Persian Royal court and there are several recorded instances of their being presented as gifts to foreign courts by the embassies of Shah Abbas I (1587-1628), Shah Safi (1629-1642) and Shah Abbas II (1642-1674).  Woven during the golden age of Safavid art, it is only befitting that 'Polonaise' rugs with their silk, gold and silver-thread epitomize this era to many scholars and collectors today, who view these rugs with appreciation equal to that of the European travelers visiting the Persian court during the first half of the seventeenth century.

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  • 2015-10-01
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An ottoman circular carpet, cairo, egypt

The present lot is unquestionably a highly interesting and rare carpet; while its shape renders it uncommon, its design makes it a very intriguing transitional piece between earlier Mamluk carpets and later Ottoman weavings produced in Cairo. Carpet weaving in Cairo dates back to the age of the Mamluk Sultans, who set up workshops primarily to satisfy Western demands. A few decades after the Ottomans conquered the Mamluk Sultanate in 1517, these workshops began producing rugs and carpets for the Court in Istanbul. The talent and craft of Cairene weavers was in such high regard with the Ottomans that in 1585 Sultan Murad III requested eleven master weavers and wool to be sent to Istanbul from Egypt.  Interestingly, even after the Ottoman takeover, Cairene workshops continued to produce pieces for the European market, which shows not only how hungry the West was for oriental carpets but also how financially lucrative the workshops were since the Sultan in Istanbul allowed the trade to continue.  Italy was the main market for these carpets, with Venice and Genoa being centers of import and distribution. Because of the continuously successful export of these carpets, Cairene weavers created new shapes that were foreign to the domestic market: in addition to the conventional rectangular format, square, cruciform, octagonal and round pieces were made for the European market. Such pieces were often described in Italian inventories as “tapedi da desco” and “tapedi da tavola,” or table carpets.  A Cairene carpet that was made in a cruciform shape such that the sides would hang over the edges of a table is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, see "The South Kensington Ideal," Hali, issue 96, fig. 5, inv. no. 151-1883. The use of oriental rugs as table covers was customary in Europe during the sixteenth century, as many contemporary paintings illustrate. Interestingly, probably due to their large size and complex design, Mamluk and Cairene carpets seldom appear in Old Master paintings. French and German inventories are also known to include round carpets, some of them specifically mentioning Genoa as their place of origin. Italy being a place of distribution of these carpets is reflected in the Sforza provenance of the present carpet. Octagonal and circular carpets are among the rarest of Cairene carpets, with the present example being one of only four known in existence: one formerly in the Piero Barbieri Collection and sold Sotheby’s London, October 12-13, 1982, lot 38; an unpublished one in the Qatar Museum of Islamic Art; and one reputedly in the archiepiscopal palace in Kroměříž, Czech Republic, see Michael Franses, “Classical Context,” Hali, Issue 129, pp. 68-69. As mentioned above, the drawing of this carpet consists of both earlier Mamluk combined with Ottoman design elements, here arranged in a particularly spacious manner; the field and the medallion are decorated with rosettes, tulips, palmettes and saz leaves, which are also found in the Cairene rug that is lot 2 in this catalogue. The border, however, is populated by eight-pointed stars and papyrus umbrellas, motifs typical to Mamluk carpets of the fifteenth century. The eight-pointed stars of the border derive from polygonal and interlaced patterns which had been used in other branches of the decorative arts and in architecture throughout the Islamic world. In addition to the design elements of the border, the overall color palette is more Mamluk than Ottoman with the typical five hues: red, blue, green, yellow and ivory. Because the pile is unusually well preserved for this carpet’s age, the colors are particularly lush and rich which, coupled with the uncommon format, makes this lot particularly rare.

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  • 2013-06-05
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EXCEPTIONNELLE SUITE DE TROIS TAPISSERIES de la même tenture

EXCEPTIONNELLE SUITE DE TROIS TAPISSERIES de la même tenture inspirées des métamorphoses d'Ovide « l'histoire de Diane » ou « les chasses des Dieux » (note 1) tissées dans les Flandres en 1591 ou 1610 dans les ateliers de Frans SPIERING (note 2). La chasse au cerf, porte les inscriptions au dessous des deux personnages au bas des bordures latérales gauche et droite, « VLXSSE.ET CIRCE » et « LEANDRE .ET .HAERO » Dim. 3,60 x 2,60 m La chasse à la panthère ou au lion, porte sous les deux personnages inferieurs des bordures latérales gauche et droite : « LEANDRE ET EROS » et « MERCVRIVS .ET.HERSE » Dim. 3,60 x 4,00 m La chasse au sanglier, porte sous les deux personnages inférieurs des bordures latérales gauche et droite « MARS.ET.VENVS » et « MERCURIUS.ET. HERSE » Dim. 3,60x 4,70 m Tapisserie très fine (entre 7 et 8 fils de chaîne au centimètre) en laine et soie avec une nappe de chaîne en laine. Elles sont dans un très bon état de conservation avec leurs couleurs et n'ont subit que des restaurations de conservation d'usage et d'entretien. (Quelques légers accidents et usures). Dans cette suite présentées par ordre de taille croissante, deux d'entres, la deuxième et la troisième, portent la signature: 'FRANCISCUS SPIRINGUS FECIT' dans la partie haute (lisière jaune) de la bordure inférieure au centre. Ces mêmes tapisseries portent également la marque de la ville de Bruxelles au bas inférieur gauche (note 3). La troisième porte aussi en bas de la bordure droite vers l'extérieur sur le liseré bleu la signature quelque peu hermétique en lettres enchevêtrées du peintre qui a réalisé les cartons : Karel van MANDER (note 4) Le sujet de l'histoire de Diane dans les métamorphoses d'Ovide, Spiering le traita deux fois en deux séries et chacune d'après des cartons différents. Une série qui fait environ 3,5 m de haut (catalogue Rijksmuseum. 52A, B et C) dont nos tapisseries feraient partie et un deuxième série dont cinq pièces sont connues et font 2,7 m de hauteur. La grande série de huit tapisseries semble par son style maniériste antérieure de vingt ans à la seconde. Il y aurait douze tapisseries selon certaines sources (note 5). Par contre, huit ou neuf pièces sont connues grâce à la vente Barney. Cette tenture se compose au dire de cet inventaire des pièces suivantes : « La fierté de Niobé » dont il serait connu deux exemplaires ( inventaire Rijksmuseum 52A) « Latone et les paysans Lyciens » (Inventaire Rijksmuseum 52B) « Cephalus et Procris » (Inventaire Rijksmuseum 52D) « La mort de Procris, » « Diane surprise par Actéon », « Actéon mis en pièce par ses chiens », « Jupiter et Calysto », « la naissance de Diane » et « la fuite de Latona devant Junon et le serpent Python ». Il y aurait donc deux tentures des chasses des dieux tissées l'une en 1591 (dont nos tapisseries feraient partie) signées sans « fecit » et sans date, ainsi qu'une autre portant la date de 1610 t dont le nom du licier serait suivi de « fecit ». La finesse de point de nos tapisseries irait dans le sens de cette antériorité. Les tapisseries : Ce qui surprend dans ces tapisseries c'est, le traitement des sujets. Il est un mélange de modernisme avec cette esthétique nouvelle des personnages maniéristes très allongés au positions affectées et de la tradition des tapisseries plus anciennes, faite de cette vision en plongée et à la multiplicité des décors qui ne laisse aucune zone vide comme on peut le voir entre autres dans les tapisseries du moyen-âge à mille fleurs. Pourtant un élan spécifique est apporté par la vie des scènes et la multiplicité des personnages. La renaissance Italienne a imprégné l'ensemble par les tenues à la romaine, la luxuriance des vêtements et cette dynamique de la composition dans l'action. Les bordures : Ces trois pièces sont d'une luxuriance de décor exceptionnelle. Elles sont de tailles différentes mais ont la même bordure adaptée pour chacune d'entre elles, qui est d'une richesse d'ornementation peu commune. Au centre en haut et en bas, figurent des quadriges de chevaux surmontés de Cupidon sur des braises enflammées qui décoche ses flèches. C'est là le symbole de « l'amour brûlant ». De chaque coté des bouquets de fleurs et de fruits se succèdent avec des sphinges, d'autres éléments végétaux de fleurs et de fruits et d'autres putti. Les bordures latérales sont organisées autour de motifs de candélabre de la même manière. Aux quatre angles des personnages dont deux dieux et déesses en chaque partie basse dont les noms sont inscrits en lettres romaines. Les cartons de ces tapisseries : Ils ont été réalisés par le peintre Karel van Mander dont le style est très clairement reconnaissable. Les personnages aux corps très allongés et aux attitudes et poses artificielles et affectées sont issus du Maniérisme que Van Mander adopta lors des ses voyages à Rome et à Prague. C'est lui qui introduisit cette nouvelle vogue dans la ville de Haarlem. Parmi les œuvres restantes de Spiering, la tenture de Diane est celle où il mit tous les éléments décoratifs flamands en les interprétant avec délicatesse et fantaisie. N'oublions pas que Van Mander à qui les cartons sont attribués habitait Haarlem ville très proche de Delft ou travaillait Frans Spiering. D'autres parts le monogramme de ce peintre au dessin ésotérique se trouve sur une de nos tapisseries. On trouve également ce monogramme associé aux lettres de « Holland blason Delft » sur la tenture « La fierté de Niobé » qui se trouvent au Rijksmuseum. Ceci est confirmé par « Encyclopedia of world art » 1967 volume 13 page 930. Les tapisseries du Rijksmuseum. Une des grandes difficultés de classification de ces tapisseries est que selon les sources que l'on utilise elles portent des noms différents. D'autres part nous sommes trompés par les noms de Dieux qui figurent dans les bordures. Ce musée possède une des tapisseries qui proviendraient de la collection BARNEY qui est « L'orgueil de Niobé ». Nous savons que la tapisserie de Niobé du Rijksmuseum a été tissée deux fois et que l'autre exemplaire se trouvait dans une collection à KNOLE en Angleterre celle de lord Sackeville Kent avant 1958 portant seulement la signature sans la date à l'inverse de celle que possède le Rijksmuseum. D'après le Rijksmuseum deux tapisseries auraient les marques de Bruxelles. Elles ne sont pas localisées. (peut être les nôtres). Des fragments peuvent aussi être associés à cette tenture. La vente BARNEY. Les autres sont décrites dans la liste de la vente Barney (riche homme d'affaires américain) qui aurait eu lieu en 1937 ou 1938. Il y aurait une liste tapée à la machine avec des descriptions détaillées et des photos établie par les frères DUVEEN (importants négociants internationaux d'objets d'art) et qui est conservée dans les archives du Getty Institute. Ces six tapisseries ont été exposées dans la galerie des tapisseries du Metropolitan à New York. Mort de Procris Diane observée par Actéon Actéon déchiré par ses chiens Jupiter et Callisto La naissance de Diane et Latone qui s'enfuit (Petite) Cephalos et Procris ? Note 1 Un grand nombre de récits mythologiques s'articulent autour du thème de la chasse et beaucoup de héros grecs sont des héros chasseurs. La chasse est un mode d'éducation par lequel le héros apprend à maîtriser le monde sauvage et à affronter les animaux les plus féroces. Elle est aussi une initiation à la ruse et à la guerre. Parmi les héros mythologiques qui s'adonnent à la chasse, Méléagre est l'un des plus souvent représentés. C'est dans ses Métamorphoses qu'Ovide relate l'histoire de cette inconsciente victime de la vengeance de Diane. Le funeste sujet sera repris volontiers par les artistes, notamment à travers la tapisserie. Nos tapisseries illustrent parfaitement ce goût de la chasse et de sa signification allégorique. Elle est aussi appelée l'histoire de Diane parce que celle-ci joue un rôle prépondérant dans cette tenture. Note 2 Frans Spiering (1549/51-1631) est né à Anvers où il possédait un atelier de tapisserie florissant lorsque les troupes Espagnoles y entrèrent en 1576. Il travailla ensuite à Bruxelles mais les conditions économiques avec l'occupation Espagnole l'obligèrent à partir dans cette période de récession. Des villes sans tradition de tapisseries ont accueilli des nouveaux ateliers et les villes comme Delft où il y avait peu de tradition de tissage prit un grand essor. Spiering vint d'Anvers à Delft en 1590 ou 1591. C'est dans ses ateliers qu'ont été tissées les pièces de la tenture de la destruction de l'invincible Armada qui était autrefois à Londres à la chambre des communes et n'existent plus après la destruction du Parlement. Les tapisseries de Spiering étaient considérées comme les plus belles et les plus prestigieuses de son époque ce qui lui valut d'avoir de nombreuses commandes. Note 3 Nous savons que Spiering qui a travaillé à Anvers, Bruxelles et Delft a continué à utiliser les marques de Bruxelles alors qu'il était à Delft parce qu'il est reconnu qu'il ne marquait pas les tapisseries de leur ville de fabrication. N'oublions pas non plus que le temps nécessaire au tissage d'une tapisserie était de plusieurs années et qu'il est possible qu'une pièce commencée à Bruxelles ait été terminée à Delft. Note 4 Karel van Mander, peintre et historien hollandais (1548-1606). Son Het Schilder-Boeck, sur le modèle des 'Vies' de Vasari, et qui contient 175 biographies, est une des principales sources biographiques sur l'art flamand, hollandais et allemand des XVe et XVIe siècles. Il fit le voyage à Rome et à Prague et fut imprégné du maniérisme Italien qu'il diffusa dans les Flandres et les Pays Bas. Il fit de nombreux cartons de tapisseries toutes imprégnées de ce maniérisme . C'est après les ravages causés par l'occupation espagnole (1573-1577), que Haarlem connaît une prompte renaissance pour devenir à la fin du XVIe siècle l'un des grands centres d'éclosion du Maniérisme septentrional. Trois artistes vont, dès les années 1580, unir leurs efforts pour imposer ce nouvel idiome, à la fois expressif et raffiné : le graveur Hendrick Goltzius, le peintre Cornelisz van Haarlem, Karel van Mander enfin, l'auteur des cartons de nos tapisseries. Note 5 Cette tenture se composerait d'après une source (SDU-DEN HAAG SDU édition La Haye informations juridiques et gouvernementales pour professionnels) de douze tapisseries et auraient été livrées en 1591, donc les cartons dateraient de la période ou il travailla à Anvers avant son départ pour Delft. Bibliographie succincte. Les belles heures de la tapisserie Dario BOCCARA Tapisseries Flamandes R-A D'HULST Metamorphoses de la Tapisserie Julien COFFONET « Encyclopedia of world art » 1967 volume 13 page 930. European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum SDU-DEN HAAG SDU édition La Haye informations juridiques et gouvernementales pour professionnels U heeft met een klik op een link gezocht op Kunstenaar: Spierinx, François in de database Volledige Catalogus (1 hits) Een onbekend Scipio-gobelin van François Spierinx W. van Elden

  • FRAFrankrike
  • 2006-12-13
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Blue Sauna

Painted in 2006, Blue Sauna is a strikingly distinguished example from Varejãos most acclaimed series, Saunas and Baths. The series was inspired by a chance encounter with a photograph of a tiled interior in Macau that Varejão came across while flicking through a bookshop in Portugal. It was not just the formal qualities of the tiles that caught Varejãos attention, but their significance in a global discourse on colonialism that stretches from Brazil to Portugal, and until then unbeknown to Varejão, China. For it was China and their trade with the Portuguese that inspired the famous azulejos tiles that have become Varejãos most iconic artistic motif. It was these Macau tiles, in their banality and aesthetic formalism as opposed to the ornate decoration of the azulejos, which provided a counterpoint to her previous artistic excursions into a specifically Brazilian colonial history. Staring at the old photograph in the bookshop, Varejão realised she could widen the scope of her enquiry, though still rooted in her Brazilian experience, to explore similar cultural environments across the world. In response, the series has been culturally omnivorous, jumping across continents and cultures, from Brazilian abattoirs to segregated female-only hammams in Paris to public baths in Budapest. Speaking on occasion of her acclaimed solo show at the Fondation Cartier in 2005, Varejão said my painting in the Sauna series departs from the conceptual field of references to historical iconography and enters the field of the sensorial They work on questions intrinsic to painting, such as colour, composition and perspective (Adriana Varejão cited in: Hélène Kelmachter, Echo Chamber, in: Exh. Cat., Paris, Fondation Cartier pour lart contemporain (and travelling), Adriana Varejão: Chambre d échos, 2005, p. 89). By moving away from the explicitly coded colonial critiques of her earlier tiled works, in which tiles are literally slashed open to reveal the guts and gore of Brazils colonial past, Varejão allows her work to embrace more formal considerations while also evoking the violence of the Baroque period in a more subtle way. In creating a work with strong formal values, Varejão has dragged the domineering legacy of Latin American abstraction, the Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements, into the real world. She has plastered its legacy onto the walls of her saunas. The series is Varejãos own figurative rebellion, aided by some well-known artistic conspirators. These works are essays in minimalism, explorations of colour that evoke the still life subtly of Morandi; the blues of Klein; Richters colour charts and the static electricity of Hockneys pools. Yet for all its referential depth, Blue Sauna is both nowhere and everywhere. A timeless space devoid of history and place, they are projected, virtual realties inspired by photographs yet drawn from Varejãos imagination. It is here that Brazils colonial past, so overt in her earlier work, takes on a more subtle guise. Through the maze-like composition of openings leading to dead ends, a disquieting foreboding envelopes the viewer. In the knowledge of her gruesome earlier work, the formal minimalism in Saunas and Baths takes on an almost surgical cleanliness. In these all too serene spaces, its the absence of narrative that makes these works foreboding. As one enters the space inside the canvas, the viewer is subjected to a multisensory experience made rich with contrasts. One is struck by the coolness of the blue and yet reminded of a saunas overbearing heat. A pictorial homage to John Cages 4 33, the silence is deafening. This continual push and pull, from quiet to loud, hot to cold, only enhances the viewers unease. Saunas, in Varejãos opinion, are perfectly democratic spaces. Naked, they strip us of our clothing and jewellery and by doing so rob us of our class, status and identity. They expose us. It is this reckoning with ourselves that makes the Saunas and Baths series so powerful. As the art critic Phillippe Sollers writes, here in the sauna all illusions vanish, everything evaporates (Phillippe Sollers, Vertigo by Adriana Varejão, in: ibid, p. 13). While these interiors strip us down to our basic humanity, Varejão wryly picks up on the sauna as a motif for the Brazilian appropriation of European culture in the Baroque period. Founded in Scandinavia, saunas were a specifically European phenomenon that evolved from the great hot bath tradition that stretches from the bathhouses of Vienna back to Rome and Athens. It is with this history that Varejãos weaves her colonial framework into the grids of the saunas tiles. For all their quiet formalism, it is Varejãos fascination with anthropophagy the capacity to incorporate foreign ideas and transform them into your own that roars. As Paulo Herkenhoff writes Adriana Varejão understands that the purpose of artistic practice is not to tell histories, but to create mechanisms that enable history to be told (Paulo Herkenhoff, Saunas, in: ibid, p. 24).

  • GBRStorbritannien
  • 2017-09-13
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A mughal silk rug, the deccan, probably hyderabad, india

Re-joined along central axis Indian court carpet production is believed to date from the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605). Until around 1630 designs were based upon contemporaneous Persian models which were interpreted in an inimitably Indian style. Even with the emergence of an Indian aesthetic, certain Persian design elements, themes and compositional preferences were retained by local carpet weavers. Such analogies include the use of vivid color palettes and the abundant use of interlacing vines, large palmettes and delicate flower heads. From the mid-seventeenth century, as a result of Shah Jahan's (r. 1628-1666) enthusiasm for herbaria, Indian carpets became increasingly more floral in design, exhibiting more botanical realism. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York possesses a carpet where Persian-inspired stylized palmettes and leaves are mixed with realistically drawn flowers, illustrating this new trend in Indian art, see M. S. Dimand and Jean Mailey, Oriental Carpets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, p. 122. By the mid-1700s, as the Mughal Court transferred its economic and political focus from Persia to its new trading allies, the Western European powers such as Holland and England, it replaced the Safavid design ethos with a more European aesthetic that resulted in generally more regulated, less organic compositions and stylized design elements. For a mid-eighteenth century carpet from the Deccan decorated with such stylized motifs arranged in a controlled geometric order, see Daniel Walker, Flowers Underfoot, New York, 1997, p. 140. Depicting flowers in an overall lattice pattern was not reserved for carpets and textiles, and this design can be seen in numerous different media from architecture to manuscript illuminations. In India, similarly to virtually any other carpet weaving center in the world at the time, silk was among the most precious of materials and only a limited number of silk carpets and rugs were woven, so that fewer survive to this day. The present rug belongs to a small group of eight “flower-in-lattice” pattern rugs, all of which have slightly angular flowering vines in their borders, rhythmically repeating flower heads in the guard borders and delicately drawn overall lattices enclosing sprays of flowers shown facing forward and in three-quarter views, some depicted naturalistically, others more stylized. In addition to the present lot, the pieces belonging to this group are; one in the Musée des Tissus, Lyon; a fragment in the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait; another fragment, presumably from the same carpet, in the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar; a carpet sold from the Kevorkian Collection, Anderson Galleries, New York, March 11-13, 1922, lot 605; one sold from the Benguiat Collection, Anderson Galleries, New York, April 23, 1932, lot 26; another sold from the Untermyer Collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, May 10-11, 1940, lot 207; one sold from the Quill Jones Collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, March 21, 1952, lot 108; and one formerly in the Cliff Collection, Detroit Institute of Art. Rugs and carpets in this group are among the last products of the golden age of carpet weaving in India as they were made just before the design of floral carpets became overly angular and somewhat stiff following the abovementioned European aesthetic. In the present rug, the lines of the trellis are still delicately curved, the blossoms well articulated, and vibrant jewel-like hues employed.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-06-05
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An isphahan carpet, central persia

End borders re-attached At the 1903 auction of the Estate of Henry Marquand, the top lot was a Persian carpet and half of the top ten lots were carpets.  Benguiat purchased the top lot, as well as seven other carpets including this one.  As a sign of the esteem in which carpets and furnishings were held at the time, the sales totals for decorative arts were over double those for paintings.  In its article covering the Marquand sale, the New York Times speculated that Vitall Benguiat was purchasing solely on behalf of Senator Clark.  Benguiat denied this, and while he did sell some pieces to Clark, he held on to the most expensive carpet from that day.  Eventually he sold that carpet at auction in 1932 where it went to French & Co., who in turn sold it to John D. McIlhenny, and it was left with his collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The placement of the palmettes, leaves and cloudbands in this carpet, as well as the more unusual pomegranate motifs are shared with a fragmentary Isphahan carpet formerly in the collection of Alisa Mellon Bruce, sold Christie's London, April 25, 2012, lot 114. Please note that a license may be required to export textiles, rugs and carpets of Iranian origin from the United States. Clients should enquire with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding export requirements. Please check with the Carpet department if you are uncertain as to whether a lot is subject to this restriction or if you need assistance.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-06-05
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The `yerkes-remarque' mughal hunting carpet, india

During his lifetime, Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon (1875-1947) amassed hundreds of artworks into one of the finest collections of the 20th century. His dedication to classical carpets ensured that hugely iconic weavings entered the family's collection, including the famous Béhague-Sanguszko carpet. Europe's illustrious rug collectors, such as Wilhelm von Bode and Kurt Erdmann, sold their best pieces to the Baron, who quickly obtained some of the most important classical carpet weavings known and attainable at the time. When Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza died, the large collection was divided up among his heirs. Eventually, the new head of the family, Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002), bought back works from other heirs and recreated the collection. In his role as head of the family Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza not only inherited a vast business empire in naval construction and oil but also a love and appreciation of oriental carpets. Continuing in his father’s footsteps Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, together with his wife Baroness Carmen, enriched the family collection with exquisite rugs, carpets and textiles, including classical Chinese carpets from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Highly prized by both Baron Heinrich and his son, Hans Heinrich, these carpets, rather than being shown in the public gallery in the Villa Favorita in Lugano, were enjoyed in their private homes. By the late 20th century the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection had become one of the world's most important depositories of classical carpets. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection of carpets was first published in 1972 by May Beattie, and updated in 1998 by Friedrich Spuhler, op cit. The lot offered here appears as Plate 46 in this cited publication. Before it entered the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, the `Yerkes-Remarque' Mughal hunting carpet was owned by several highly prominent collectors of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The first of these was Charles T. Yerkes (1837 - 1905); a so-called 'robber baron'. A somewhat infamous businessman, famed for his bribery and philandering, Charles T. Yerkes began collecting carpets not out of a passion for the subject but in order to ‘create a collection without parallel, one that anyone would have to envy.’ (Thomas J. Farnham, The Yerkes Collection, Hali, issue 101, November 1998, p.77) Fuelled by his competitive streak he spent a fortune on acquiring remarkable carpets and, with the aid of several dealers, worked hard to establish an astonishing collection. Yerkes’s efforts paid off and Michael Franses even suggests that he was ‘possibly the first important collector of historical oriental carpets after Cardinal Wolsey, King Henry VIII and the Habsburgs’. (Franses quoted in Farnham, ibid, p.75). The sale of the Yerkes Collection, upon his death, bought huge publicity and, due to the scandal attached to his name, stirred unprecedented curiosity. It is Yerkes who is credited for whetting the appetite of American collectors and elevating, through the finesse of his carpets, their taste. Following the famous 1910 sale the Mughal hunting carpet entered the collection of Erich Maria Remarque (author of All Quiet on the Western Front) in Ascona, where it remained for several decades. In 1986, having passed to The Textile Gallery, it then entered the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. The prominence and reputation of its previous owners has ensured the carpet is now counted amongst carpet royalty, with Friedrich Spuhler supposing that it may have been part of the extensive carpet collection of the Maharaja of Jaipur, although there is no documentary evidence to support this. However, as noted below, the accomplished design would indicate a court workshop, the inspiration probably provided by the highly elaborate court carpets of 16th and 17th century Safavid Iran, such as the mid-16th century  'Emperor's Carpet', now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,  illustrated in Valérie Bérinstain, Susan Day, Elisabeth Floret, Clothilde Galea-Blanc, Odile Gellé, Martin Mathias, Asiyeh Ziai, (ed.), Great Carpets of the World, The Vendome Press, Paris 1996, Plate 115, which includes an elaborate system of flowering vines, cloudbands and palmettes amongst which scenes of the chase and mythical animals are seen. The design of the 'Yerkes-Remarque' Mughal hunting carpet is simple but beautifully executed. The field itself is divided into four, almost identical, blocks of design. The main field, dominated by the wine red ground, is then enclosed by an ivory inner border, which picks up and accents the white of the animals. Defined by the intensity of its dark blue ground the main border serves to echo the deep blue of the central palmettes. As if to complete and unify the overall design the outer border is composed of a thin strip of wine red. Within the main field we find varied palmette and rosette blossoms linked through elongated lancet leaves together with the distinct Mughal Indian leaf forms, made up of a cornucopia of blossoms. Scattered amongst these large ornate flowers, filled with deep blues and framed by flame outlines, are detailed animal combat scenes. In one instance a powerful tiger, poised mid-air, is ready to pounce upon an unsuspecting white zebu bull. In a scene just above, a pink spotted leopard bites hungrily into the rewards of his chase, an exhausted blue deer. The main border is particularly intricate and has been executed with exceptional care. Yellow vines, covered with forked leaves, unfurl in an S shape creating a distinctive and fluid pattern. In the gaps between the scrolling vines we flip alternately from highly ornate and boldly coloured palmettes to lions feasting upon fawns. In this case the lions are detailed with light blue ‘flames’ and clawing outstretched paws. The undulating vines loop beautifully at the corners, propelling and maintaining this sense of fluidity and movement. Spuhler notes that ‘such accomplished corner solutions tend to indicate court design workshops’. (Friedrich Spuhler, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Carpets and Textiles, trans. Maria Schlatter, Philip Wilson, London, 1998. p.181, Plate 46). The long, narrow format of this carpet is typical of Mughal and Safavid Persian court carpets of the period; in the west, contemporary collectors of these precious carpets often displayed them on refectory tables. An example is the 'Fremlin' carpet, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was made for William Fremlin, a servant of the East India Company between 1626 and 1644, probably as a table carpet; it was most likely made for him in Lahore after 1637, when he became President of the Council of Surat. The family coat-of-arms appears in both the main field and the border.  (Illustrated in Sarah B. Sherrill, Carpets and Rugs of Europe and America, Abbeville Press, New York, 1996, Plate 159). As in the lot offered here, it displays scenes of the chase on a wine red ground, although the motifs are sparser and it does not have the dynamic energy of the present lot; it does however, allow us to securely date this example to no later than the first half of the 17th century.

  • GBRStorbritannien
  • 2013-07-03
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