Sotheby’s New York Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy department will host two auctions as part of the fall 2016 Sotheby’s Asia Week. In addition to a various-owner sale, we are honored to present a single-owner evening auctionfeaturing The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Paintings. With more than 120 lots offered, the Papp Collection reflects over two decades of visionary collecting. Many of the artworks were acquired from distinguished auctions and reputable antiquaries during the 1970s and ‘80s at the advice of museum curators and renowned scholars in the field. Please join us for the exhibition of this collection open to the public between the 9th to 14th of September 2016.
To assemble a collection of staggering strength and breadth, Roy and Marilyn Papp drew on their passion for travel, philanthropy, and the arts. In 1975, Roy Papp was appointed by President Gerald Ford and confirmed by the Senate as the U.S. ambassador to the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines. During the years of 1975 to 1977,while Roy Papp served his post in Manila, he and his wife travelled extensively around Asia and perceived aspects of Asian aesthetics that inspired them to later become devoted connoisseurs of Chinese Paintings. The Papp collection is united by a set of six principles established by the 6th century artist and critic Xie He. Artworks were selected for their vital spirit, brushstroke integrity, proper representation of objects, well-executed coloration, thoughtful composition, and transmission of traditional techniques and sentiments. As a result, the quality, content and rarity of every lot cannot be denied, and the collection as a whole demonstrates a feat of strength in western connoisseurship, weaving together a fascinating contemporary interpretation of Xie He’s principles.
The star lot of the collection is a highly important oversized handscroll by the acclaimed landscapist Wang Hui. The Qing imperial court commissioned a set of twelve handscrolls to depict the Kangxi emperor’s southern inspection tour, this Papp handscroll preserves the lastsegment of the sixth scroll, which highlights the emperor’s visit to Changzhou (for more information please see catalog essay). Another outstanding masterpiece is a landscape and calligraphy handscroll by Shen Zhou (1427–1509) titled Enjoying the Mid-Autumn Moon in the Bamboo Villa. The artwork comes with celebrated provenance, authenticated by the renowned art collector Sun Chengze in his book Gengzi Xiaoxia Ji and recognized by many American scholars through journal publications and museum exhibitions. Also included in the sale is an extraordinary landscape hanging scroll by Wang Yuanqi, a leader of the traditional Orthodox School. Titled Landscape of Yushan, the artwork is executed in great detail with accomplished brush techniques after the Yuan dynasty master Huang Gongwang. It appeared in publications such as the 1917 Zhongguo Minghua, the 1935 Shina nanga taisei (Compendium of Chinese Paintings of the Southern School), the 1981 Wang Yuanqi de Shanshui Yishu (The Art of Wang Yuanqi) by Guo Ji Sheng, and many other American sources. At a similar level is a landscape hanging scroll Riverside Temple at Dawn by Song Xu (1525-1617), referenced in the 1932 Chōkaidō shoga mokuroku, the 1958 Song Yuan Ming Qing Shuhua Nianbiao (Chronological table of Paintings and Calligraphy from the Song Yuan Ming and Qing Dynasties), and many other American exhibitions and catalog publications. Additional highlights in this sale include Peach Blossom Spring by Lan Ying, Lohans Crossing the Sea by You Qiu, and elaborate artworks by accomplished artists such as Gong Xian, Zha Shibiao, Gu Fuzhen, Gai Qi, Qian Weiqiao, Hou Maogong, Tang Dai. The Papp collection brings together a great variety of subject matters and an array of outstanding artworks that share an enduring appeal, transcending cultures and ages.
Please click here for an Introduction to the Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection.