On September 17 the Asian Works of Art auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers featured The Stanley Field Early Ming Bowl, a blue and white porcelain hexafoil bowl once belonging to Stanley Field of the iconic Field family. It sold for $1,452,500 after a number of bidders competed by phone, eventually selling to a buyer in the United States. This is the highest price realized globally, outside of Hong Kong and Mainland China, for a bowl of this type offered at auction.
Responsible for developing Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History in the early 19th century, Stanley Field approved numerous international expeditions that sent renowned anthropologists to remote locations on every continent to gather archaeological and cultural relics. Around the same time, Stanley built a personal collection, which included the early Ming bowl. The September 17 Asian Works of Art auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers marks the first time it has been offered for sale.
From the Xuande emperor’s reign (1426 – 1435), known for the prolific production of porcelain wares, the quality and form of these blue and white pieces resulted in a new appreciation for domestic imperial Ming wares as opposed to vessels of the previous Yongle reign (1403 – 1424) that were mostly designated for trade and tribute. Because of their delicate form and elegant design, these bowls have been admired and sought after by connoisseurs and institutions of Chinese art throughout the 20th century.
“We are thrilled to have brought The Stanley Field Early Ming Bowl to auction,” said Annie Wu, Specialist of Asian Works of Art at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. “The provenance is of special interest to Chicago, but being fresh to the global market, and of this form and period, further heightened its desirability.”
In addition to The Stanley Field Early Ming Bowl, property from other notable collections was included in the sale: Property from the Collection of the Bergland Family, St. Charles, Illinois; Property from the Estate of Henry Stollnitz, New York, New York; and Property Sold to Benefit the Fund of the Heritage Museum of Asian Art, Chicago, Illinois.
Chinese furniture from the collection of the Bergland family showed notable interest. Huanghuali furniture sold particularly well. A set of six Huanghuali side chairs sold at $55,000 against a presale estimate of $10,000 – 20,000; a Huanghuali square stool sold for $21,250 (estimated at $5,000 – 6,000); and a Huanghuali scroll table sold for $68,750 (estimated at $6,000 – 8,000). Also from the Bergland collection, a Chinese Tielimu scroll table exceeded expectations selling at $87,500 against a presale estimate of $6,000 – 8,000.
Property Sold to Benefit the Fund of the Heritage Museum of Asian Art in Chicago, Illinois included a Chinese Zitan throne chair, which sold for $93,750 against a presale estimate of $10,000 – 15,000 and a Chinese Fahua porcelain stool that sold for $15,000 (estimated at $2,000 – 4,000). Property from the Estate of Henry Stollnitz featured a selection of Chinese porcelain, including a Chinese copper red glazed porcelain tazza that sold for $11,250 (estimated at $7,000 – 9,000).
Other highlights of the sale include a large Chinese imperial silk and metallic thread carpet that sold for $57,500 against a $20,000 – 30,000 presale estimate; a Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze figure of Mahakala that sold for $22,500 (estimated at $10,000 – 15,000); a large Chinese embroidered silk inset mother-of-pearl inlaid Hongmu screen that sold for $27,500 (estimated at $2,000 – 4,000); and a large Zitan altar coffer that sold for $23,750 (estimated at $4,000 – 6,000).
Overall, the September 17 Asian Works of Art auction realized nearly $2.8 million and was conducted to a room of bidders who traveled to participate in the Chicago saleroom in addition to robust phone and online bidding. Full results of the sale can be found at lesliehindman.com.