NEW YORK.- From October 15 to 21, 2008, Sothebys New York will host an exhibition, Mandarin and Menagerie: Chinese Export Ceramic Figures from The James E. Sowell Collection, in conjunction with the launch of the new book bearing the same name by Michael Cohen, the renowned Chinese Export dealer and his long time associate, William Motley. The book discusses 170 of the most rare and sought after Chinese and Japanese porcelain figures made during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries for export, and the exhibition will feature over 100 of those extraordinary pieces, all from the world-class collection of Texas investor James E. Sowell.
Christina Prescott-Walker, Senior Vice President, Sothebys, says, We are delighted to be able to host the launch of this book and the accompanying exhibition, which we hope will add greatly to the scholarship of these colourful and fascinating figures. This is a unique opportunity for the general public to view such a large group of pieces from this distinguished private collection.
On October 19th, a series of four afternoon lectures by noted porcelain specialists will be held at Sothebys New York. The lecture series will feature Ron Fuchs II, Curator of the Reeves Collection, Washington and Lee University, who will give an introductory talk on Chinese Export porcelain Chinese Export Porcelain and the China Trade 1500-1850; Letitia Roberts, Independent Scholar and former Senior Vice President and Director of European Ceramics and Chinese Export Porcelain, Sothebys, who will speak on Creatures in Clay, the history of animals as a subtle evocation of the human condition and the spirit of their age; Michael Cohen, whose lecture is titled A Walk Around the James E. Sowell Collection; and co-author Will Motley, who will address the natural history background of the birds featured in the Mandarin and Menagerie book in a lecture entitled Porcelain with Feathers.
Jim Sowell has been collecting Chinese Export porcelain for over 15 years, acquiring many important pieces from British dealer Michael Cohen as well as other European and U.S. specialists. It was during the last few years that his collaboration with Mr. Cohen grew, as the well known dealer advised him in his pursuit of ever finer examples.
I think the size and quality of the collection will be a surprise to a lot of people, Jim Sowell says. Im glad to have a chance to share with a larger audience the pleasure I receive when viewing these extraordinary porcelain figures.
Mr. Sowell has loaned pieces from his collection to museums including the Trammel Crow Asian Art Museum in Dallas. Highlights of the Sothebys exhibition include a unique and large pair of seated deer, large tureens in the form of a goose, an ox head, a carp, a boars head, a cockerel and smaller sauce tureens in the form of a tree shrew and a pair of extremely rare water cocks (Gallicrex cinera).