Rockefeller’s Bronze Padmapan Sculpture to be Auctioned at Christie’s Paris

Last month, Christie’s dominated the New York sale week with 'The Sale of the Century' which offered a collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller. The auction house continues the momentum in Paris by presenting a Nepalese sculpture of Padmapan that once belonged to John D. Rockefeller III.

Made in Nepal during the 13th/14th century, the bronze sculpture is 18.8 cm tall and estimated at €300,000 - €500,000 (US$351,187 - 585,312). It shows Padmapani form of Avalokiteshvara standing gracefully with his right hip gently thrust sideways on a lotus base, with his right hand displaying the varadamudra (the granting-wishes gesture). The gilt on the sculpture is worn out, possibly due to the constant touching of believers in a devotional manner all these years.

John D. Rockefeller III was the eldest son of John D. Rockefeller. He had one elder sister, Abby, and four younger brothers Nelson, Laurence, Winthrop and David. The Rockefeller family is one of the most influential families in the world, with great power in political and economic decision-making. 

A photo of the Rockefeller brothers: David (first from the left), John (middle), Nelson (second from the right)

Asia Society Hong Kong Center

John D. Rockefeller III set philanthropy as his major interest and was committed to supporting organizations related to East Asian affairs, including Asia Society. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III, Asia Society is an educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.

This sculpture was in the collection of John D. Rockefeller III and sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1977, one year before he passed away. It now belongs to a Belgian collection and will be offered at Christie’s Art d'Asie in Paris.   

A blue and white dish from the Qianlong period, which is offered at the same sale, also has a reliable provenance. The base has a six-character seal mark of ‘Daqing Qianlong Nianzhi’ (made in the Qianlong period, Qing dynasty). The dish is estimated at €300,000 - 500,000 (US$351,187 - 585,312).

The dish was acquired by Swiss collector Gustave Loup (1876-1961) in China in the early 20th century, thence by descent in the family. Gustave Loup (1876–1961) was a Swiss merchant born in China who spoke French, English and Mandarin fluently. His father was one of the watch-and-clock-makers who left the Val-de-Travers (Neuchâtel) in the 19th century to settle in Canton, Shanghai and Tianjin where he sold watches. 

He opened a business trading in antiquities between China and Switzerland and the business thrived for some ten years until the Japanese military presence in China rendered purchases and exports impossible. Gustave Loup ended his life in Geneva, where he lived in a large apartment packed with a hotchpotch of European and Chinese antiques, furniture, goldware and silverware, figurines, clocks and much more.


Lots information

Rare et Importante Statue de Bouddha Shakyamuni en Bronze Dore
Tibet, Debut du Xveme Siecle

Lot no.: 228
Height: 18.8cm
Collection of Mr John D. Rockefeller III, sold Sotheby’s New York, 3 & 4 November 1977, lot 54.
Estimate: €300,000 - 500,000

Rare et Important Plat en Porcelaine Bleu Blanc
Chine, Dynastie Qing, Marque a Six Caracteres en Cachet en Bleu Sous Couverte et Epoque Qianlong (1736-1795)

Lot no.: 83
Diameter: 44.7cm
Acquired by Gustave Loup (1876-1961) in China in the early 20th century, thence by descent in the family.
Estimate: €300,000 - 500,000


Auction details
Auction house: Christie’s Paris
Sale: Art d'Asie
Lots offered: 244
2018/6/9 - 10|2pm - 6pm
2018/6/11 - 12|10am - 6pm
2018/6/13|10:30am (lot 1 - 97)
2018/6/13|2:30pm (lot 98 - 244)