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February 23, 2021

What Makes A Persian Ceramic Bowl a Masterpiece with Brendan Lynch and Lark Mason

Lark Mason and Brendan Lynch take a virtual tour of the London gallery of Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd. Highlighted in the video is a 13th Century Persian Glazed Pottery Bowl from Kashan, a city in the northern part of Isfahan province, Iran.

FEATURING:

Lark Mason of Lark Mason Art Advisory

and

Brendan Lynch of Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd

ABOUT:

Lark Mason Art Advisory

https://www.larkmasonartadvisory.com/

Lark Mason Art Advisory provides personal property expertise with decades of experience in regional, national, and international markets. Our team of specialists and associates bring expertise across all major categories of the arts, with offices in Manhattan and New Braunfels, Texas, and with associates in most major US regions.

and

Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd.

https://www.forgelynch.com/

They are a London and New York based firm of independent art dealers, founded in 1998. The principals are Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch, former directors of the Antiquities and Islamic and Indian Art departments at Sotheby’s, London. Their professional expertise encompasses Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Islamic art but also specialise in the art of the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayas and South-East Asia with a special emphasis on Indian and Islamic miniature painting and manuscripts.

February 17, 2021

Artist Profiles: Edouard Cortes and Raymond Thibesart

Raymond Thibesart (French 1874 - 1968,) Apple Blossoms in Bloom, Oil on Canvas, 1948
Raymond Thibesart (French 1874 - 1968,) Apple Blossoms
in Bloom, Oil on Canvas, 1948, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021

Late 19th Century Paris was the birthplace of 20th Century artistic modernism and many different artistic movements were inspired by life there. As many of us know, Impressionism was the central artistic development that inspired and influenced artists of the time. Post Impressionism is the umbrella term for the many offshoots from Impressionism, and it includes cubism, fauvism, and pointillism among others. Edouard Cortes and Raymond Thibesart were two artists in late 19th and early 20th Century France who were inspired by and built on Impressionism. They each developed a different tenet of Impressionism. Thibesart developed the Impressionist idea of 'plein air' painting and experimenting with the ability to express the nuances of light and air with paint. Cortes was a Post Impressionist who built on the Impressionist love of depicting the modern city, Paris.  

Raymond Thibesart (French, 1874-1968,) Cherry Blossom, Oil on Canvas
Raymond Thibesart (French, 1874-1968,) Cherry Blossom, Oil on Canvas, available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021


Although many, if not most artists of the time, including Renoir, Signac, Pissarro, and Cezanne, explored 'plein air' painting, perhaps Monet is the painter most often associated and celebrated for this artistic device. His landscapes, including haystacks, water lilies, and light at sunrise or dusk are the paintings most often celebrated for this development in art. He is seen as the grandfather of painting what you see and he helped transform what was accepted as a finished piece by eroding the distinction between sketch and finished work.  Thibesart studied 'plein air' painting under Henri Martin, and had a friendship with Monet himself. Thibesart explored the effects of light in the real world, the way it reflects in the water, as can be seen in Le Quai Vert Bruges, where he contrasts dark greens and greys with light blue and white to create the image of the river. He wants to capture the experience of seeing light and how it is affected by water, a bridge, buildings, shadows, and trees.  He does this with loose broad brush strokes. Fifteen years later, he adopted a more pointillist style in various celebrated paintings of his from orchards. In this series of works, he painted light and its transformative effect on trees as exemplified by Cherry Blossom and Apple Blossoms in Bloom.  

Edouard-Leon Cortes (French 1882-1969,) Place de la Opera, Oil on Canvas, ca. 1950
Edouard-Leon Cortes (French 1882-1969,) Place de
la Opera, Oil on Canvas, ca. 1950, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021


Edouard-Leon Cortes loved the city of Paris and images of Paris make up the majority of his oeuvre. His paintings explore the ever-changing face of the city and they express its modernity in the same way Impressionist paintings did. We may not always remember this now, but in the late 19th Century, cities transformed due to industrialization and changes in the number of agrarian jobs available. There was a large migration into the city, and the city itself grew. The new city was more anonymous than in times past, and Cortes depicts this through his endless crowds on the new expanded Haussmann Boulevards. In his image Place de la Opera, you see a few figures outlined, but most of the details are blurred and obscured. No one figure is defined enough to see details in their face or dress. The crowd almost merges into the buildings themselves, and inspired by the Impressionist precedent, he does a good job at conveying the vastness and movement of the modern city.  

Do you have an item you would like to sell?
Consign with one of our auction partners around the US to reach the global marketplace. Receive a complimentary estimate today. Reach out to our Fine Art specialist, Charlene Wang.

+1 (212) 289-5588 or Charlene@LarkMasonAssociates.com

February 11, 2021

Artist Profile: F. L. “Doc” Spellmon

Doc Spellmon (American 1925-2008,) Removed fromAfrica - Portrait of Yvette, Mixed Media, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021
Doc Spellmon (American 1925-2008,) Removed from Africa - Portrait of Yvette, Mixed Media, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021

F. L. “Doc” Spellmon (1925-2008), a native Texan, became one of San Antonio’s most celebrated artists both locally and nationally.   Doc is known as a Folk artist and he painted in several styles, exploring both abstraction and figural works.  His art is appreciated because of various themes in his work, including American life, religion, and the exploration of different cultures or communities within American society. Doc was an African American man born into an American cultural landscape that had not yet experienced the civil rights movement.  

Doc Spellmon (American 1925-2008,) Joy To The World,Mixed Media on Tray, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021
Doc Spellmon (American 1925-2008,) Joy To The World, Mixed Media on Tray, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021

His father was a minister and his mother was a business owner.  His father’s devotion to the church informed Doc’s art.  When Doc was a young boy, he used the bible and the religious texts in his father’s library as inspiration for his drawings.  It was through religion that Doc realized the idea of stories, fables and art as being a vehicle to teach life morals or lessons or to convey the human condition.  Art was always a part of Doc’s life, even while devoting much of his working career serving in the US Navy or Air Force.  Even while in the military, in 1969 he founded the Black Art Studio in San Antonio, he also founded the Southwest Ethnic Art Society, now known as the San Antonio Ethnic Art Society.  It was in the mid-1980’s when Doc retired from the military, that he devoted himself to his art, and he entered into the most intense and important years of his artistic career.

F.L. "Doc" Spellmon, The life and works of an African American artist

In his book F. L. “Doc” Spellmon The Life and Works of an African American Artist, Robert Banks wrote

“What is important to understand about F. L. “Doc” Spellmon is that he was first and foremost a storyteller.  He saw life as an epic tale in need of telling, which he achieved through his distinctive and lively artworks … What initially appear to be simple, “feel-good” paintings… reveal more serious sentiments. Specific themes of everyday life  –  family, community and religion – as well as broader themes of culture-…   appear and reappear in Spellmon’s works.  In so doing, Spellmon’s works are documentations of both the emotions and values making up the human condition and particular historical and current events.  The two meld together to create a common theme of the folk, or the people.”  

Amazingly, those themes are still as relevant today as they were 20 to 30 years ago.  You can explore Doc’s work through this book by Robert Banks, and through the 9 works currently for sale through Lark Mason Associates on the iGavel Auctions website.  These 9 works are a wonderful collection, as they are emblematic of Doc’s work, the variety of the themes, subjects and type of art he created.  

Doc Spellmon (American 1925-2008,) B/W Drawings, Collection - The Artist’s Model, Mixed Media, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021
Doc Spellmon (American 1925-2008,) B/W Drawings, Collection - The Artist’s Model, Mixed Media, Available on iGavel Auctions until February 18, 2021

Do you have an item you would like to sell?
Consign with one of our auction partners around the US to reach the global marketplace. Receive a complimentary estimate today. Reach out to our Fine Art specialist, Charlene Wang.

+1 (212) 289-5588 or Charlene@LarkMasonAssociates.com

January 27, 2021

Lark Mason Associates announces sale of French Furniture and Chinese Decorative Arts

January 22, 2021

Is My Chinese Pottery Horse Authentic?

HOW TO EXAMINE A CHINESE TANG DYNASTY POTTERY HORSE

 

Ceramic objects differ by the type of clay and the firing temperature. This guide is for low-fired, earthenware models made from the Han through Tang Dynasty in China, roughly the early 2nd Century BC through around 900 AD.Models made of horses, people, and other forms were intended to accompany the deceased into the next world and were not intended to be regularly handled nor have any other utilitarian use. Professionals in the museum and art business look for these  clues to determine condition and authenticity based on the history of the pieces as well as years of examining these types of wares. 

 

Large Chinese Pottery Prancing Horse, Sichuan Provence, Han Dynasty
Large Chinese Pottery Prancing Horse, Sichuan Provence, Han Dynasty, available on iGavel Auctions until January 26, 2021

HISTORY OF CHINESE TOMB POTTERY

 Chinese tomb pottery models were made over many thousands of years and models of horses were primarily created during the Han through the Tang dynasty. These models come in a variety of styles and sizes. The largest were from the Sichuan region and can be glazed or unglazed and the finest examples usually are in a Sancai glaze (three color) that usually is in tones described as chestnut, straw, or green. More unusual are those with blue. These glazes were lead-based and have a very fine crackled appearance under a loupe.

Chinese Sancai Glazed Figure of a Horse, Tang Dynasty
Chinese Sancai Glazed Figure of a Horse, Tang Dynasty, Sold on iGavel Auctions for $16,888

 

Painted pottery horses were modeled in clay, usually in molds which were then painted after removal from the kiln. Some of these models were covered with a cream to white colored ‘slip’ which is a finer clay surface that provides a more finished appearance for the horse and highlights the painted pigments. 

Many horses were equipped in the tomb with fabric, horsehair, or other materials to augment the pottery model. These organic materials rarely survive and are almost always missing. Han horses often have large ceramic bodies with separately modeled heads, tails, and legs made of clay or wood, which if wood, are usually missing due to rot.  

 

Large Chinese Pottery Walking Horse, Sichuan Province, Han Dynasty
Large Chinese Pottery Walking Horse, Sichuan Province, Han Dynasty, Available on iGavel Auctions until January 26, 2021

Horses have heavy clay bodies with slender legs that either are free standing or attached to a rectangular base. If glazed, the glaze will help stabilize the pottery because it provides a protective surface over the ow-fired clay model, repelling moisture. If painted, moisture will wear away the painted decorative elements and even the clay slip. When viewing a pottery horse, do so with an appreciation of the condition of the tomb. 

Buried underground, tombs were supported with wood beams and clay-tiled roofs and walls. Over time oxidation could cause heat buildup and fires that would burn through the wood supports. Water seepage would also cause instability to the underground structure. When the structure collapsed or partially collapsed, the fragile pottery objects in the tomb would not withstand contact with a hard surface but would survive a gradual seepage of wet or moist soil slowly entering in and around the objects.    

DAMAGE TO TOMB POTTERY

 Damage also occurred during the removal of the items from the tomb. Some items came from direct excavations where the earth was removed, and the objects slowly revealed. Others were deep underground and tunnels dug down into the tomb, which in many instances still remained intact. The narrow ‘well’ dug to the tomb would usually be in a small dimension and large pottery objects might have to be purposely and carefully cut to remove in sections. Damages from natural patterns of contact with water and burial are different from those broken out of the tomb which could be purposeful or by accident. In both cases, most tomb pottery models were restored or repaired, and the surface sometimes has a fine random series of minute dark particle pigments that the restorer airbrushed over the damaged areas. 

Typical areas of damage are the neck, which is often broken through at the base, the legs usually at the lower part of the leg, ears, and sometimes through the main body. Occasionally elements were missing and in the mix of broken parts in the tomb these were gathered together and then pieced onto the damaged horse. Sometimes these augmentations are very obvious because the proportions are odd. Other times the replacements are not clear, and these can be very difficult to discern from a broken and repaired area using the original material.

Broken and damaged pottery horses are not unusual and most earlyChinese pottery figures are damaged and repaired or restored. The degree of damage is what is important and the location of the damage. Damage in a prominent and very noticeable location is detrimental to the appeal of the object because it changes the way the object is viewed. Damage in areas that are easily concealed is less problematic.

TL Report for Large Chinese Pottery Prancing Horse, Sichuan Provence, Han Dynasty
Thermoluminescent report from Oxford Authentication in England indicating the scientific testing results from clay samples of a Sichuan Province Han horse, iGavel Auctions

DATING TOMB POTTERY

One of the ways that dating is confirmed is through a thermoluminescent test or TL test, and the premier testing organization for art and antiques is Oxford Laboratories in England. Small samples are drilled into the clay body in several locations to verify that that the overall figure is of the same date and origin. Samples are then sent to England, tested and a report issued for the tested object. 

Detail showing the side of a large Sichuan Han dynasty pottery horse showing the remnants of the white clay slip that once covered the body, note the reddish brown clay body and the circular discolored area on the rump which may be pitting that was filled-in with a slightly different colored clay, this will likely appear as a different color under a black light

A separate pottery tail often found on Sichuan Han dynasty pottery horses, note that the color of the clay is gray, typical of this particular type of horse

Detail of a pottery horse foreleg showing showing a slight discoloration of the material used to cover the break at the upper leg and above the knee and immediately below the knee, a break of the leg in the background is also visible beneath the knee, these will appear as a different color under a black light

Detail of nose of horse showing finely crackled lead glaze and straw and chestnut colors common on Tang ceramic pottery models

Underside of base showing repaired breaks, visible by slightly different tone of clay