Chinese Art Collection In Beverly Farms Estate
Every now and again something very surprising happens in the antiques business, especially with Asian art.
Boston North Shore A Chinese Collection
|Henry C. Frick "Summer Cottage" Beverly Farms, MA|
|Kangxi Period Bronze Incense Burner on Stand, Circa 1600|
|Kangxi Period Marked Gilt Bronze,|
She went to explain that at one point their was a collection of bronzes similar to this one and other much older ones with thick green surfaces of "ancient styles". With masks and handles and pointy knobs sticking out all over. According to her, they had been sold 20 years ago and a few donated to a Boston Museum. She showed me a few old black and white pictures of the house while they were in place during the 1950's. There were Shang ritual pieces in the form of a Ding, Zun, a tall classical Gu vase and a three legged food vessel with loop ring handles..in the corner was a Western Zhou Gui with large loop end handles. Unfortunately the pictures were black and white but were a sight to see just the same. Also in one of the pictures was the Kangxi Bronze situated on the mantle. Her grandfather bought well in China, evidently there was much more, but had been dispersed among his children and then onto the grandchildren one of whom was the lady who called me. This was the end of the line after what I assumed had been several distributions during the last 50 to 70 years.
|18th C. Blanc de Chine Chinese Meiping vase|
Then onto the Blanc de Chine vase. It had an excellent color, evenly applied and very well potted and once again heavy for it's size. The details were neatly executed and coated with a smooth creamy perfectly toned white to ivory glaze. Once again the quality was very good, which apparently was a theme running through everything that had been collected when most of China's cultural history was for sale in the early 1900's.
The piece was in pristine condition, not so much as a minor scratch on it, nor any repairs of firing flaws.
After a bit more talk and a brief tour of the house..she had suggested we walk around and look at a few other things, her comment was simply.."let me show you the rest of the house while you come up with a number for both objects." There she was handing me the assumed consent close! Her negotiating skills were superb and the line was drawn, which was actually a relief for me. Individual pricing always ends up turning into a hair splitting affair. In true Yankee style..she simply wanted one price for both and it would either be yeah or nea. The Bronze was by far more valuable and happily she knew it.
By the time we returned to the dining room, she smiled and simply said.."so how much for both"?, in her hand was a piece of paper cut from a magazine or catalog. I gave her the number I had in mind, she then burst out laughing and handed me the paper. It was cut from a Sothebys catalog. The price I had quoted was within 3% of the price a similar one had sold for a year or two earlier in London. She then said, "I guess you're getting the white piece for free". She was very smart knowing the commission for the bronze and the Blanc de chine would have netted her 20 to 25% less than what had been quoted by me. She had done her homework and played it very well.
And so it goes, I sold both pieces just fine, but the memory of the house call that day will always be a good one.