A great classic of Far East art triumphed at a sale in Beaune, which also featured two lovely paintings by Mai-Thu and Roger Muhl.
Mai-Thu (1906–1980), Vase de lys blancs ou liliums sur un entablement (Vase of White Lilies or Liliums on an Entablature), 1957, ink and colors on silk glued to paper, signed in Latin letters and Chinese characters, artist’s stamp, 35.8 x 19.8 cm/14.09 x 7.79 in.
This prestigious sale inaugurated the Beaune auction house’s new location in the historic Hôtel Boussard de la Chapelle, the former Banque de France building. To mark the event, the auction house presented an antique porcelain group on an openwork wooden base depicting a seated Chinese deity marked with a double stamp (h. 33 cm/12.99 in). International bidders on the phone and in the room pushed the statue’s price up to €300,000. It is a precious Blanc de Chine, many of which were made in Dehua. These pieces often depicted Guanyin, a Buddhist divinity of mercy and a protector of children. They were highly fashionable in 18th-century Europe, when they adorned palaces and quickly became models for Meissen and Vincennes.
Mai Thu made his 1957 painting Vase de lys blancs ou liliums sur un entablement (Vase of White Lilies or Liliums on an Entablature, see photo) with ink and colors on silk glued to paper. As usual, it has two signatures, one in Latin letters, the other in Chinese characters, as well as the artist’s stamp. The still life (35.8 x 19.8 cm/14.09 x 7.79 in) fetched €95,000. Lastly, Roger Muhl’s Portrait de Louis Outhier dans sa cuisine (Portrait of Louis Outhier in His Kitchen), an oil on canvas titled on the back (194 x 114 cm/ 76.37 x 44.88 in) and exhibited at the Findlay Gallery in 1982, found a buyer at €15,000. It recalls the award-winning great French chef who worked at the famous restaurant L’Oasis in La Napoule from 1954 to 1988.