SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Turner Auctions + Appraisals will present the Jane Miller Chai Collection of Chinese paintings at an auction March 2. Offering 20 lots acquired over 40 years, the small but significant collection primarily features modern works by noted artists Li Keran (1907-1989), Zhu Qizhan (1892-1996), Cui Zifan (1915-2011) and Ding Yanyong (1902-1978). An antique work by Dong Bangda (1699-1769) is also included in the collection. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Turner Auctions + Appraisals will begin its online auction on Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m. Pacific time/10 p.m. Eastern.
Born in Southern California in 1938, Jane Miller Chai had a long and distinguished career as a journalist, editor, teacher and author on matters related to Asia. After graduating Stanford University in Far Eastern History, she held a number of positions that reflected her interest in Asian culture and passion for Asian arts. She was the editor for Asia at the Japanese Reader’s Digest in Tokyo. At the Associated Press headquarters in New York, she was a division head, with a focus on Asia.
In more recent years, Chai was an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and taught on the San Francisco peninsula on subjects such as Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Silk Road (from China to Rome). She wrote Tiger and the Hare, a semi-autobiographical historical novel set during the Vietnam War; and was the co-author of Pacific Security with Dr. Claude A. Buss, her Far Eastern history professor at Stanford. Mrs. Chai died in 2017.
According to her son, Neil Chai, the paintings were collected at least since the mid-1970s. Some were acquired when Chai lived and traveled in Southeast Asia, and some through an art dealer and friend in San Francisco. Blessed with a good eye and taste, Chai had a love for Chinese paintings, scrolls and vases, and Asian antiquities that was founded in her university education and professional experiences in Far Eastern cultures. The passion, enjoyment and appreciation of Asian arts continued throughout her life. Her acquisitions created pleasure both for her personally and for her family at their Bay Area home. She had numerous other interests as well. She served on the Board of the U.N. Council, was an enthusiastic advocate for Stanford University and its museum, and enjoyed music and sports, especially tennis.
Gifted with the collection by his mother, Neil Chai is selling the paintings now to fulfill his mother’s intention that proceeds be put toward the education of his two young daughters.
The following are some highlights of the upcoming sale on Friday, March 2 (see details in the online catalog):
–Lot 7: Cui Zifan (1915-2011), Dragonfly, Hibiscus, and Sago Palm, 1982, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll 31 ¼ x 18 inches. Provenance: Acquired 1988. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000.
–Lot 13: Lu Shoukun (Lui Shou-kwan, 1919- 1975), Mountain Landscape, 1962, ink and color on paper, framed and glazed, 36 x 11 ¼ inches, sight. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000.
–Lot 6: Ding Yanyong (1902-1978), Magnolias with Bird, 1978, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll, mounted and framed 26 ½ x 13 ½ inches, sight. Provenance: Acquired from the artist. Estimate: $3,500-$5,000.
–Lot 20: John Way (Wei Letang, 1921-2012), Untitled, 1977, oil on paper, framed and glazed 23 ½ x 18 ½ inches, sight. Provenance: Acquired 1982. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.
–Lot 12: Yang Mingyi (b. 1943), Landscape with Buffalo ink on paper, framed and glazed, 20 x 19 ¾ inches, sight. Estimate: $1,200-$1,500.
–Lot 8: Dong Bangda (1699-1769), River Landscape with Boats, ink and color on silk, framed and glazed 6 ½ x 5 ½ inches, sight. Provenance: Acquired 1992. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500.
–Lot 15: Li Keran (1907-1989), Buffalo and Two Boys under Vines, 1982, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll 25 ¼ x 17 ¼ inches. Provenance: Acquired 2001. Estimate: $80,000-$100,000.
–Lot 14: Zhu Qizhan (1892-1996), River Landscape, 1979, ink and color on paper, framed and glazed 25 ¼ x 25 ¼ inches, sight. Provenance: Acquired 2000. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000.
For details contact Stephen Turner, president, Turner Auctions + Appraisals at 415-964-5250 or email@example.com.