T he Hundred Antiques: Fine and Decorative Asian Art comprises a selection of over 200 Chinese ceramics, bronzes, jades and other works of art. Highlights include a selection of blue and white porcelains from the collection of Elaine Schiffman (1922-2000) amassed in the 1970s to 1990s, a group of Qing dynasty and Republic period porcelains collected by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Simon F. Rothschild (1861-1936) in the early 20th century, a rare bronze ding and cover from the estate of Paul & Marianne Steiner, and numerous Ming and Qing dynasty porcelains and early Chinese ceramics from a Florida private collection
Simon F. Rothschild was born in Eufaula, Alabama and was raised in Columbus, Georgia until his family moved to Manhattan in the 1970s. After graduating from the College of the City of New York with a degree in business, he worked for his grandfather’s manufacturing business before going on to co-found S. F. & A. Rothschild with his brother in 1887. Six years later, Rothschild partnered with Nathan Straus and Isidor Straus to buy out Joseph Wechsler's interest in the Brooklyn department store Wechsler & Abraham, which had been co-founded by Rothschild's father-in-law Abraham Abraham. Rothschild and the Strausses changed the store's name to Abraham & Straus. As President of the company, Rothschild oversaw significant mergers with the department stores Filene's (Boston, MA), Lazarus (Columbus, OH), and Bloomingdale's (New York, NY) to form Federated Department Stores in 1929.
Federated Department Stores survives to this day and is now known as Macy’s. Outside of work, Rothschild played a vital role in the commercial, cultural, and philanthropic development of Brooklyn. His interest in art led him to collect the Qing porcelains in the present sale. Walter Nathan Rothschild (1892-1960), followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming General Manager of Abraham & Strauss in 1925, President in 1937, and Chairman in 1955. Walter and Carola’s daughter, Phyllis Rothschild Farley (1942-2020) , was the third generation of the family to steward the Chinese porcelain collection.
Arguably no other type of ceramic is more iconic than blue and white porcelain. Blue and white porcelain from China was the first truly global product, inspiring collectors and spawning imitations around the world, as well as transforming dining habits and domestic interiors across Europe. Selections in this sale, including a group from the collection of Elaine Schiffman (1922-2000) amassed in the 1970s to 1990s, celebrate the global appeal of Chinese blue and white, and focus on works produced during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
This variegated group of ceramics represents an inspiring journey of a New York private collector into the aesthetic realm of Chinese works of art. Delicately assembled over decades with acquisitions from all over the world, this entrancing group is a testament to the collector’s passion for Chinese art and history, and each carefully selected piece is a memory of enjoyment and pleasure from her long, incredible adventure in collecting.
Lot 1025An Archaic Bronze Tripod Vessel and Cover (Ding), Eastern Zhou Dynasty, Early Warring States Period
The term ‘scholar’s objects’ describes the various treasures and accessories found in a scholar’s studio, ranging from functional implements to decorative objects. In the eye of the scholar, they are a temporary retreat to the embrace of nature, a channel to connect with the glorious past, and an inspiration to spark curiosity and creativity. The forms of the objects are often utilitarian, and their aesthetic trends toward refined simplicity, with an emphasis on the qualities naturally expressed by a material, and often inspired by the illustrious dynasties of the past.