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Self-test: Do you have very picky eyes for the fine art collection?
Both examples were sold at Sotheby’s and both were attributed to a same artist, He Xuren. One was sold in a relatively less important auction, where it was mixed with many other items from MET that had been donated by Irving family. The other one was sold in a major live auction. Only one of them is an authentic work made by He Xuren. Can you tell the difference? The market has proven that most of the collectors have very picky eyes, which is quite encouraging. The realized prices are not even remotely close to each other. Hope you can have fun in the self-test! Best
Both of these works are by the hand of He Xuren.
The plaque I know very well and I wanted to buy it. It was sold in 2019 for a cheap price of $3500usd plus bp.
The brush pot is a very rare example. Hence the high price achieved.
Any reason why you think one of those is not genuine?
This one also sold by Sotheby's is imo not by the hand of He Xuren. The calligraphy style is wrong!
I can’t tell the difference but the first one is the one I would take home if I had to pick one.
@imperialfinegems I would like to point out that He Xuren is not only a skilled pottery worker in Jindezhen, but also an artist. When a traditional Chinese artist makes a painting, he would pay close attention to the changes in the lines and his brush strokes. He wouldn’t allow similar brush strokes coming out repeatedly in his works. If you pay close attention to the two examples, you should be able to find the difference between the craftsmanship and the artistic talents. It’s a subtle however important difference in the world of fine art
He Xuren was a master calligrapher. The copies can't replicate his style of calligraphy. The highest grossing works by him were a small pair of seals. Sold by Christies for £221,000.
The brush pot sold for about $220,000 if I recall correctly.
@lotusblack Congrats! Your instinct is correct! Just pay closer attention to the changes in the brush strokes, lines, and dots and you will see why you were right. For master works, it’s not only about how fine all the details are in the painting. Instead, it’s more about making changes. The changes in the brush strokes, the variations in the lines and dots, and how the artist is able to express his emotion by mastering and manipulating the paint brush. The rhythm of making these changes in a classic Chinese painting made by literati is like playing a music
When examining works by the eight friends of zushan it's important to carefully examine the style of the calligraphy along with seal. Then move onto the styling of the work.
The reason is artists today in China are reproducing high quality works. Some are even better than the masters works. However they can't copy the hand of calligraphy.
I have studied these artists in depth for a number of years. I also have correspond with Simon Kwan the grandfather of said works who produced a magnificent book.
The plaque in question was originally owned by a dealer on eBay from Canada. It was sold a few times ranging from 100k to 25k. But the buyers never paid. I think the overexposure on eBay, hurt the prospects at sotheby's. I would have definitely bought it had it not been a good time for me att.
The images from sotheby's are not the best. I did att have detailed pictures of said plaque. Christies New York also viewed it and said it was original. I saw the original correspondence that I double checked att with Christies.
Of course it's just an opinion based on the merits of the piece. One person may think they are genuine. Another not.
He Xuren was a prolific painter btw.
Here is a plaque sold and attribute to him. It sold on 2020 for $5500. The quality of the work was excellent. But the calligraphy and read marks were wrong.
@imperialfinegems Yes, the plague is a very deceiving high-end copy. I am glad that you didn’t fall in the trap. The market is flooded with copies in this quality or even better. Some friends of mine bought them. The works looked great in the beginning but very quickly they realized that the painting is somehow boring and dull, and the fundamental problem is lack of changes in brush strokes
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