On 30 May, Christie's
will present the live auction "A Connoisseur's Studio: The Cissy and Robert Tang Collection of Chinese Classical Furniture" at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, featuring a diverse selection of rare and exquisite huanghuali furniture and scholarly objects, thoughtfully assembled 30 years ago by the Justice Robert Tang.
As a collector, I have purchased pieces I found attractive, that appealed to me
Every piece of furniture had to fit into my home and have a function. --Mr. Tang
Encompassing a diverse array of forms and functions, this elegant collection features distinguished Chinese furniture, including armchairs, bookcases, screens, cabinets, tables and stools, as well as refined scholarly objects. Each item resonates with Tang's insightful eye and a curatorial philosophy steeped in intellectual curiosity. In these cherished pieces, one senses a profound respect for artistry and a heartfelt reverence for the past, bearing witness to the refined taste and passion of a discerning collector.
Many of the pieces in the collection were acquired from esteemed dealers and cherished lifelong friends, including Robert Ellsworth, Cola Ma, and Ho Cheung. Their trusted relationships and expertise guided Tang in the 1980s and 1990s when there was a steady influx of huanghuali furniture into Hong Kong. As a seasoned collector in various fields, Tang appreciated the exquisite artistry and craftmanship, and selected the finest examples available at the time.
Marco Almeida, Head of Department, Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, shared his personal admiration for the collection, saying, "Having witnessed Tang's passion and connoisseurship first-hand, the diversity and beauty of the huanghuali furniture in this collection is outstanding. The dedicated Chinese furniture sale of Tangs collection not only celebrates his discerning taste and devotion to collecting, but also further underlines the strong desirability for this category, as witnessed at Christie's New York Asian Art Week in March 2023, and at our Hong Kong sales last Autumn in 2022. This Spring, we sincerely invite Chinese furniture enthusiasts and collectors from around the globe to join our previews and auction in Hong Kong, to discover and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and timeless beauty of this classical furniture collection.
This remarkable pair of huanghuali bookcases, once separated, were reunited through the efforts of Justice Tang. The first bookcase was acquired directly from Cola Ma, while the other was acquired from The Dr. Yip Collection Of Important Chinese Furniture auction at Christie's in 2002. The reunion of these exceptional pieces speaks to the dedication and passion of a true collector.
The pair of bookcases showcase exquisite proportions , their vertical and horizontal lines enhanced by the restrained ornamentation found on the gallery of the second shelf, adorned with delicately carved open panels.
These extraordinary huanghuali yoke-back armchairs feature exquisite carvings to the pierced panels on the backrests one depicting a qilin, while the other portrays a pair of mystical beasts.
The chair's elegant lines are further accentuated beneath the seat with mid-relief carved aprons of confronting dragons.
These exceptional pieces were acquired from dealer Robert Ellsworth, and exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 1991 and again in several Min Chiu exhibitions in Hong Kong.