AAL at Masterpiece: Asian Art in London

simon pilling

Cabinet by OTAMARU Kaoru (b. 1923)

Showa 37, 1962

Carved coloured lacquer, choshitsu

36.3 x 24.5 x 26 cm

A powerful design of black foliage autumnal orange-red berries and delicate grasses wraps around this fine ornamental cabinet with ornate metal fittings. The work is executed in the carved lacquer, choshitsu, technique, whereby multiple layers of contrasting coloured lacquer are first built up on the work’s wooden base, in this instance finishing with a brilliant high polished black, roiro, surface. The design is then carved through the surface, exposing the differing layers and here finishing at a deep grey level, worked to create a complex textured ground. A staccato cut line has been used for the veining of the leaves and the berry stalks. Finally, the orange-red lacquer berries have been applied to the surface, their stalks enriched by rubbing gold into the cut lines.

Opening the doors, secured by a multi-layered pair of ovoid lacquer handles, reveals four kiri wood drawers, each with carved lacquer handles.

Otamaru Kaoru apprenticed in the studio of his father Otamaru Kodo who, in 1955, was designated ‘Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure), specifically for his carved lacquer skills. This piece displays an exceptional level of artistic and technical accomplishment.

AAL at Masterpiece: Rob Dean Art

rob dean

Maqbool Fida Husain – Untitled (Seated Figure with Bird)

Oil on canvas,

Signed in Devanagari upper right and inscribed ‘M. F. Husain 1959’ on reverse

30 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (77.5 x 52.1 cm.)

Maqbool Fida Husain (1913 – 2011) is often referred to as the Picasso of the Indian contemporary world and has a huge following among collectors around the world.

The canvas is dated to 1959 making it an early period work.  Paintings from the late 1950s to the early 1970s represent the most sought after period from Husain’s career.

It is from a well known series of paintings  from the late 50s and early 60s in which women are the central protagonists. These early paintings of females are one of the most critically acclaimed subjects from Husain’s entire career.

Specifically the subject of a woman seated with a bird draws from classical Indian painting traditions, but in this painting it is treated by Husain in a new modernist idiom that is characteristic of his most iconic and mature style of painting.

It is a tightly controlled composition with thick brush stokes and bold confident lines which has remained in pristine condition.

AAL at Masterpiece: One East Asia

one east asia

Gregorius Sidharta SoegijoSeated Nude, 1967

Bronze (ed. 3/ 7)

28 x 10 x 15cm

Sidharta Soegijo, Gregorius (Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 1932-2006) Sidharta studied at ASRI (Indonesian Academy of Fine Arts), Yogyakarta (1953) and continued his studies at the Jan van Eyck Academy, The Netherlands (1957).  He taught at ASRI Yogyakarta from 1958-64, then moved to Bandung where he taught in the Fine Arts Department of ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) from 1965-97.  From 1970-73 he also taught at IKJ (Jakarta Institute of Arts).

He had solo exhibitions in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Magelang, and also participated in numerous group exhibitions in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, India, Poland and Norway.  Awards received include Best Painting by the Badan Musyawarah Kebudayaan Nasional in 1952; Indonesian Government Art Award in 1980; winner of the Tanjung Priok Harbour Monument competition in 1980; Best Sculpture awarded by DKJ (Jakarta Arts Council) in 1986; and ASEAN Cultural Award in 1990.

Sidharta created numerous public monuments and sculptures in Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Japan.  He retired from teaching at ITB in 1997, and was the chairman of API (Indonesian Association of Sculptors) from 2000-2003.

AAL at Masterpiece: Kent Antiques Ltd.

kent antiques



30.6cm. diam.

An important Iznik polychrome pottery dish of deep rounded form, decorated in underglaze cobalt blue, pale turquoise, relief red and olive green, outlined in black, with a central foliate motif issuing sprays of small tulips and rosettes, two large tulips and three large rosettes, the rim with circular and spiral motifs, the reverse with alternating flowerheads.

The present dish displays remarkable individuality in design and superb quality in execution. Its highly original design and colour scheme indicates the truly sophisticated aesthetic approach that can be observed in 16th century Iznik



Bhairava (P127) 12th Century.


India, Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh

Height: 81 cm

Standing in an elegant tribhanga, Bhairava, the wrathful form of Shiva, is wearing a long dhoti secured with a beaded festooned belt, the sacred thread about his torso.

The god is adorned with multiple necklaces, armlets and earrings. His bearded face shows almond-shaped eyes and his hair is pulled into a high chignon secured by a jewelled tiara, backed by a flaming halo.

The stele is decorated with multiple deities on either side, flanked by mythical beasts and with flying celestial beings above. The front of the base presents animals and two devotees with hands folded in adoration flanking Shiva’s mount, Nandi.

AAL at Masterpiece: Hanga Ten

hanga ten

Makoto OUCHI (1926 – 1989)
 Peacocks (triptych) 1985

Etching with paper block embossing

Limited Edition: 1/10

Framed by master framers, Kato – Hiroo, Tokyo

Framed size: 104 cm x 73 cm each panel; 104 cm x 219 cm total three frames

Provenance: Private family collection bought from artist

Ouchi was an unique artist who developed his own style of printing
utilizing colour etching and paper blocks. While his images were inspired by
ukiyo-e woodblock prints, he very much added his own contemporary style through his interpretation of Japanese images such as kabuki actors and nature, the use of soft colours, and the integration of geometric shapes often with subtle embossing on the paper.

A faint embossing of a peacock can be seen on the left-most panel.

This is a rare print with a limited edition of only 10 (the artist most frequently printed his limited editions in edition of 30 to 50), and this is Edition 1/10.

Being a triptych, it is also one of the artist’s largest sized known works.

The artist works are in the Permanent Collections of: The British Museum; National Library, Tokyo; Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo; University of Sydney, Australia; Cincinnati Art Museum; Rockefeller Foundation, New York; Fogg Museum, Harvard University; Art Institute of Chicago.

AAL at Masterpiece: Grosvenor Gallery


Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002) – Red House Amidst Trees, c.1960

Oil on canvas

30 x 57cm. (11 13/16 x 22 7/16in.)

Souza’s work is often evaluated within the context of his Indian contemporaries, namely the Progressives, of which he was a founding member. Indeed, it is important to recognise the groups shared passion to break free from convservative teachings following India’s Indepdence in 1947, and when Souza’s works are placed alongside those of artists such as Raza, Padamsee and Husain the similarities are clear.

Like other great artists of the Twentieth Century, Souza was neither daunted by tradition nor disparaging of contemporary visual culture. Instead he adopted various notions and visual references from such sources as the old masters, his contemporaries, and commercial imagery appropriating them to create his own distinct works. In no other case is it more appropriate for a new adjective; Souzaesque.

AAL at Masterpiece: Gregg Baker Asian Art


A two-fold paper screen painted in ink and colour on a gold ground with white kiku (chrysanthemum) behind a brushwood fence.

Japan 19th Century Edo period

H. 67 ¾ x W. 75 in. (172 x 190.5cm)

Byōbu (wind wall) are Japanese folding screens made from several joined panels, bearing decorative painting and calligraphy, used to separate interiors and enclose private spaces, among other uses. Byōbu were introduced in Japan in the eighth century, when Japanese craftsmen started making their own byōbu, highly influenced by Chinese patterns. Through different Japanese eras, byōbu evolved in structure and design, along with the techniques and materials used.

The chrysanthemum flower has a long-standing history with Japan, it was first introduced in the Nara period (710 – 793 AC.) Throughout the Edo period imports of Western illustrated books was banned, so Japanese artists and designers had to produce work with the flowers that were already located in Japan. Often referred to as ‘kiku’ the chrysanthemum is a sign of longevity and rejuvenation. Following centuries of use in prints, screens and other traditional art forms, the Chrysanthemum was used as the Imperial seal of Japan.

AAL at Masterpiece: Gallery Elena Shchukina

elena shukina

Katusha Bull – The Dawn (2015)

Pink onyx

44 x 43 x 20 cm (17 1/3 x 17 x 8 in.)

Katusha Bull’s aesthetic is based in formal abstraction, but her technique is grounded in a profound engagement with the technical properties of her material. She works with an unusually wide variety of stone, and with each work she aims to enhance the properties of the individual stone. In fact, many of the stones she works with are not otherwise obtainable in Europe, and are available for Katusha only through her carefully developed and maintained relationships with American suppliers.

Katusha’s work aims to create abstract organic form from stone. This particular sculpture, The Dawn, is the result of Katusha’s longstanding investigation into the play of light through stone. The Dawn is carved from pink alabaster, and the deep semicircular recesses carved in the stone act as for light to pass through. Creating non-perforating recesses required working into a blind space, which is a very time consuming and technically demanding process. The thin membrane of stone that is left within the sculpture acts almost as stained glass, and the diffuse pink light that shines through it evokes the sky at sunrise.

AAL at Masterpiece: Duchange and Riché



QIANLONG PERIOD (1736 – 1795)

39 cm wide – 28 cm high

These “Compagnie des Indes” tureens were inspired by an original Strasbourg faience model made by Paul Hannong, circa 1748 – 1754. Chinese made this model only during 1763 and 1764. The only document where this model’s tureen is mentioned is the Dutch East India Company records. Thanks to it, we know that 25 boar’s head tureens were purchased in 1763 and 19 more in 1764. There is no other boar’s head tureen order. As a matter of fact, the next order (30 heads) has been cancelled in 1764 because the shipping was too risky.

A pair of boar’s head tureens of this size and showing such a high quality work is extremely rare.

Note: There is a similar piece in: “The Copeland Collection – The Peabody Museum of Salem” by W.R Sargent – PL 98, page 202