The Auction of Gerson and Judith Leiber Collection

New York | North America

As forming part of the annual time of year in which the whole of New York celebrates Asian art, Sotheby’s has put forward the Asia Week New York sale. This sale will consist of 13 auctions in total. One of these is the Gerson and Judith Leiber Collection.

This impeccable assemblage is the result of the Leiber’s unquenchable appetite and love for art and is a physical representation of their adventurous spirit. Collected over a period of seven decades the collection comprises of nearly 100 works of art. Each one of these items have been carefully selected by the Leibers through travels, reputable galleries and their extensive network.

The collection has been amassed throughout the couple’s lifetime together and contains items that spans nearly 2 000 years of China’s artistic heritage and the culture’s unique artistry. The couple met in Budapest in the 1940’s where they then married before moving to New York in pursuit of both art and fashion. After settling down in the big apple, Gerson soon started studying at the Art Students League before becoming one of the foremost artists of his time. During this time Judith started to take jobs at major fashion houses throughout the city. At one point Mrs Leiber even worked for the iconic Nettie Rosenstein before becoming a fashion icon herself. With their exceptional careers growing, so did their collection. Gerson & Judith Leiber commented:

“From our very first purchase from a small antiques shop in Budapest in the 1940s to our personal exhibition of Chinese Art at our East Hampton museum in 2008, our lives and our work have been inspired by Chinese Art. We’ve delighted in the art form’s intricate designs and beautiful motifs for the past seventy years, and we hope that these works of art will bring similar joy.”

Gerson and Judith Leiber - 1994 (Credit Sandra Geroux, Courtesy of The Leiber Collection)
Gerson and Judith Leiber - 1994 (Credit Sandra Geroux, Courtesy of The Leiber Collection)

One of the sale’s highlights is a ‘Chizhou’ Tiger Form Pillow from the Jin Dynasty. The exceptional piece serves as a rare example of a Jin Dynasty pillow as most of these were modeled with a white slip-covered and outlined headrest. The example offered by the Leiber Collection however, sees the headrest as being part of the animal’s back. The unique piece, estimated to fetch between US$12 000 and US$15 000, is painted in russet-orange, black and with a slip of white for the top of the head, the tip of the tail and a small amount of white has been used to accentuate the paws. The piece has also served as the model for Mrs Leiber’s iconic Tiger Minaudière handbags.

Cizhou' Tiger-Form Pillow (Shown Alongside The Tiger Minaudiere Courtesy The Kelly Ellman Collection)
Cizhou' Tiger-Form Pillow (Shown Alongside The Tiger Minaudiere Courtesy The Kelly Ellman Collection)

Another highlight of the Leiber Collection is an Impressive and Large Pair of Famille-Rose ‘Soldier’ Vases and Covers from the Qing Dynasty, during the Qianlong Period. Estimated to fetch between US$250 000 and US$350 000, these magnificent vases are truly unique due to their design and size. Measuring at an impressive 52 ¼ inches in height, the baluster vases feature ruby-red scrollwork and iron-red and gilt-blossoms against blue-cloud background. Beautifully painted in enamels, sits a striking pheasant on rockwork with a mate featured behind in a fenced garden. The garden comprises of detailed peonies, prunus and magnolias. These magnificent soldier vases have formed part of several noticeable collections, including the Fonthill Collection as well that of Rt. Hon The Lord Hargadale of Islay. What further sets these vases apart is that both of these are complete with their original covers.

Impressive and Large Pair of Famille-Rose 'Soldier' Vases and Covers (Courtesy of Sotheby's)
Impressive and Large Pair of Famille-Rose 'Soldier' Vases and Covers (Courtesy of Sotheby's)

Prior to the auction a series of exhibition dates and times allow for the public to explore the impeccable collection be explored:

  • THU, 15 MAR 18 | 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM EDT
  • FRI, 16 MAR 18 | 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM EDT
  • SAT, 17 MAR 18 | 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM EDT
  • SUN, 18 MAR 18 | 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM EDT
  • MON, 19 MAR 18 | 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM EDT

For more information on the auction, to view the catalog or to register in order to bid please click here.

The auction will take place on 20 March 2018 at Sotheby’s in New York at 2:00 PM EDT.


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