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High end fake plaque
Coming up for auction is a porcelain plaque stated to be by republican period master Xu Zhongnan.
A member of the famous 'eight friends of zushan'. 1872-1953. He specialized in bamboo with rockery as his preferred favorite scene. A unique and unusual style in my opinion. Heavily copied artist.
Oakridge auction gallery. Lot #274 13th March 2021.
In my opinion it's a fake. With a very high estimate range of $25,000-35000. Start price $13,000.
They have linked a similar plaque sold at christies a few years ago that sold for £43,750 against a very low estimate of about £1500. It was a superb plaque. Sotheby's New York also sold a similar one. Equally well done. It sold for $10,000
What do you think? Real or Fake? And why.......... 🤔
Said plaque on offer:
The sotheby's new York one that sold in 2015 for $10,000:
The one referred to by said auction as a similar one. It sold for £43,750 in 2015:
Finally this is one I currently one. Was on offer at Sotheby's Australia:
Hi Mark -
Not really my area - but all you need to do is compare painting style, calligraphy and the read mark ...
The Oakridge plaque is a total fake, IMO ...
Yours is lovely by the way, beautiful painted bamboo/rocks and wonderful, flowing calligraphy ...
Your absolutely correct my friend.
The calligraphy is totally wrong for this artist as is the read mark.
The style of the painting is also unusual for him. It's missing something like the soul. It's dormant like.
I would be very surprised if it sells. However this auction house does seem to get a lot of these masters from the Republic period. Some are exceptionally well-done. Most I have seen are fakes.
Absolute lack of soul! That is exactly it, often the case with fakes. There is also that boat that looks like it may have fallen off the cliff.
Yours is lovely Mark, but my favourite is the middle one that sold for over £43K - I actually said "oh wow" out loud!
Thank you for your post. Your opinion is very much appreciated!
The one from christies was indeed a superb piece that sold for a very good price. I believe the listing by Christies were unsure if it was by the hand of the master. Obviously the market thought so.... Would have loved to owned it at the lower end of the estimate. 😁
On the other hand the sotheby's example was listed as by the hand.
Both sotheby's and christies examples have the same calligraphy style and mark. As does the one I purchased.
Xu Zhongnan works do not appear frequently on the majors market. An unusual artist with varying qualities of works from my research and understanding.
This Oakridge auction one... The hand writing got even more cursive when it got to his name part. LOL making his name part barely looking like xu zhong nan. especially the Xu part. if I didn't see the title, I wouldn't know that's Xu.
There are some superb copies being made today representing the 'eight friends of zushan'. Some are even better than the masters.
However they are fail the seal mark and calligraphy. Great reference book on this subject is by Simon Kwan.
the caligraphy on the oakridge plate has no "fishing hooks" , also the colors of the rocks is wrong , but whats most obvious to me is the wooden frame that looks all new .
thank you mark very educational
I am very, very new at this but regarding the Oakridge one as compared to the other authentic plaques.
It is out of balance. I know that is an awkward way to put it but the way the scene is laid out your eyes don't know where to go. It is confusing and you want to look away because your eyes and brain get that something is off. With the authentic ones you are drawn to them and want to see more detail and get to see them in depth. The frame is also wrong for the piece which adds to the confusion. Personally I figure that only somebody who did not give a toss about the soul of the piece would so badly mismatch a frame. Why? Because why respect a fake?
PS. Notice the negative space of the authentic ones compared to the upstart fake. In the example of the one that sold for 10K the "S" formed by the space around the tree makes the painting flow (for lack of a better word) Those subtle curves are repeated throughout the painting which keeps the positive and negative space in balance. The positioning of the calligraphy is also important. It draws your eyes vertically so you follow the lines of the trees. It also balances the negative space and the black of the lettering provides depth.
The one that sold for 43K also has the fine balance between negative and positive space. But instead of using an "S" curve to balance the space you will see more of a "V" shape throughout. This makes the tree look a bit more delicate and fragile than in the other. The rocks in the lower corner make sure your eyes see the whole painting. That is important. A painting like this is meant to first be seen in its entirety. Then you start picking out detail. It is harmonious.
Note where the calligraphy of the pseudo one is. Just stuck out there like the letters were dropped from geese flying overhead. That is just wronggggg. Nothing this artist does is goose poop. Every placement matters.
Hi Paula, thank you for your posts, you truly have an artist’s eye. I couldn’t grab the differences before as my first step is to zoom in and look for details, which is surely the wrong approach here. Now I see that on the fake plate my eyes are invariably drawn down that hill into an abyss. On the other plates the eyes stay on the picture and are led to look around.
Hi Paula G,
Interesting thoughts you have posted. Never looked at plaques in that manner. Whole new perspective!
@imperialfinegems, Thank you. Bottom line the two genuine ones are beautiful. The fake one is not.
Not all art is supposed to be beautiful. But when an artist is consistent in presenting beauty in his work he is not suddenly going to decide ugly is the way to go.
You mentioned you like the two. Did you not like the third one being the last one I posted.
I certainly did. Forgive that oversight. Today was kind of rough so the brain cells are in a state of rebellion and being very uncooperative. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
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