Christie's NY to auction Japanese, Korean Art on Sep 14

The Battles of Yashima and Ichinotani from The Tale of Heike

Christies will present its Fall Sale of Japanese and Korean Art on Sep 14. The Japanese section of the sale will feature Inro from the Collection from the Estate Catherine H. Edson, paintings, lacquer wares, and furniture, while the Korean portion includes fine porcelains, as well as traditional and modern paintings by Korean masters. The sale is expected to realize in excess of $9 million.

The Actor Otani Oniji III as Edobei in the Kabuki Play Koi nyobo somewake tazuna (The Beloved Wife's Particolored Reins)

Leading the Japanese section of the sale is The Actor Otani Oniji III as Edobei in the Kabuki Play Koi nyobo somewake tazuna (The Beloved Wife’s Particolored Reins) by Toshusai Sharuku. This impressive portrait, along with four other lots in the sale, is among the twenty-eight masterworks of the artist, distinguished by its psychological intensity. Extremely rare, this is the most sought after of Sharaku’s portraits. Other known impressions of this are in public institutions and have been highly published and exhibited.

Also available are two exceptional six-panel screens, which depict the Battles of Yashima and Ichinotani from The Tale of Heike. Though both dating from the Momoyama or early Edo period of the late 16th century, the two screens are the product of very different Kyoto painting ateliers. They have since been joined to create the pairing of the final two battles of the Genpei Wars, fought between the Minamoto (Genji) and Taira (Heike) clans in 1180s. The right screen illustrates the battle in the spring of 1184 at Ichinotani (near present-day Kobe), while the left screen depicts the Taira retreat to Yashima, following their defeat in 1184.

Kim Whanki (1913-1974)
Landscape in Blue

Highlighting the Korean portion of the sale is Kim Whanki’s (1913-1974) Landscape in Blue ($2,000,000-2,200,000). Whanki has become a pillar of Korean modern masters by using his unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. In the 1950’s he began to extract imagery from the Korean landscape- a blue moon, a mountain, a forest-a symbolic naturalism in keeping with post-colonial nationalism and the art name he chose, Suhwa, “to speak with the trees.” Landscape in Blue is representative of the abstract style with which the artist is so closely associated. This painting was purchased by a private collector directly from the artist

Park Sookeun - Returning from the Market

A splendid oil and mixed media painting by Park Sookeun is also available. Returning from the Market (painted in 1965) depicts three women, all in traditional Korean clothing (hanbok), and a boy, returning home from the market ($400,000-500,000). Since Christie’s New York began selling the work of Park Sookeun eighteen years ago, he has become the most sought-after modern Korean master. Returning from the Market has remained in the hands of the same collector, who purchased it directly from Park Sookeun. Twenty-one paintings by Park Sookeun have been sold by Christie’s.
Lee Jungseop (1916-1956)
Fighting Bulls, 1955