Introducing the John Meengs Collection: A Lifetime Devoted to Art and Service
John Meengs, an esteemed collector from the United States, dedicated his life to both his faith and a multitude of roles. Amidst his busy schedule, he nurtured a passionate love for art. In the early 1970s, under the guidance of Jeffrey Moy, founder of the Heritage Museum of Asian Art in Chicago, he embarked on a journey into the realm of Chinese art. Over decades, he meticulously curated a collection that reflects his unique taste.
Highlighted in this auction is an exceptional porcelain masterpiece from the Yongzheng era - " AN EXTREMELY FINE AND RARE FAMILLE-ROSE 'PEONY AND BEE' BOWL". This piece once graced the renowned collection of the "Yamanaka & Company" in 1943 and was featured in their publication "Collection of Chinese and Other Far Eastern Art". Its illustrious journey includes appearances at Parke Bernet Galleries in 1944 and 1956, Sotheby's London in 1971, and several auctions in Hong Kong. The bowl, with its delicate and light porcelain body, features exquisite famille-rose peony motifs. The base bears a blue double-ring mark, reading "Da Qing Yongzheng Nian Zhi". The overall composition masterfully blends traditional painting techniques with Western light and shadow contrasts, showcasing the refined taste of Emperor Yongzheng. This bowl's rarity and exceptional quality make it a true gem.
Also featured is "A FINE AND EXQUISITE CORAL-RED-GROUND FAMILLY-VERTE 'PEONY' BOWL" from the Qing Yongzheng era, which was part of Sotheby's Hong Kong Spring Auction in 2016. The porcelain body, finely crafted, is adorned with three large blooming peonies, delicately painted in dual-color glazes. Twisting branches and leaves complement the scene, with a blue underglaze mark on the base, proclaiming it as "Made by Imperial Order of Yongzheng". This piece gracefully carries forward the artistic legacy of the Kangxi era, with painting techniques and decorative styles influenced by the West.
A standout among the archaistic jade pieces is the 19th-century "Jadeite 'Dragon' Tripod Censer and Cover". This magnificent work of art, originating from a private Japanese collection, made its appearance at Christie's Hong Kong in November 2011. The jadeite stone glistens with its rich green hue, intricately carved with twin dragons reaching for a pearl amidst scrolling tendrils. The piece seamlessly marries Chinese aesthetics with the style of Central Asian jade work, epitomizing grace and refinement.
In addition to these remarkable pieces, this collection boasts a variety of exquisite archaistic jade artifacts, sourced from renowned collectors. Among them are "A RARE PAIR OF CELADON JADE 'FIGURE' HILTS, HAN DYNASTY", once owned by the esteemed American antique dealer J. J. Lally, and later in the possession of Sir Joseph Edward Hotung. They were exhibited at the British Museum in 1995 and featured in "Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing". Another notable piece is "A RARE WHITE JADE RECUMBENT GOAT, HAN DYNASTY" from Feng Wen Tang Collection, which has become an exemplar of realism in Han Dynasty jade carving. Works from renowned international antique dealers such as C. T. Loo, Stephen Junkunc III, and the Brooklyn Museum, stand as testaments to their expertise. Lastly, the " A RARE AND LARGE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF FOUR-ARM GUANYIN, 13TH CENTURY" showcases the harmonious fusion of artistic styles from the Dali Kingdom.
Join us in celebrating the legacy of John Meengs, whose discerning eye and passion for art have left an indelible mark on the world of Chinese antiquities.