Just paid $187,000 for the set of twenty 18the century engravings of the European section of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing!
Bought them from the world's greatest auction house whose reach can sometime generate very strong prices.
The estimate was $6,000 to $8,000. Ouch! Might have paid too much. But this was the only time in 40 years that there was a chance for me to acquire these masterpieces.
These wonderful engravings represent the essence of European interaction with China in the early 18th century. These buildings were designed and built for Emperor Qianlong who decided to learn as much as possible about Europe and arranged for the Italian Jesuit priest Giuseppe Castiglione to design European style buildings with the engineering executed by the French Jesuit Priest Michel Benoist.
The Getty published a book "China on Paper" with outstanding essays focusing on these engravings, the Blaeu Atlas of China and the Vierbiest map of the World. All are now on display and for sale in our New York Galleries. We have the strongest stock in the world on the European/Chinese "Encounter" from 1500 to 1900.