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Sotheby’s to sell Chinese furniture from the Richard Fabian Collection

Furniture designed for aristocrats and Emperors will be offered at Sotheby’s later this month, as the esteemed collection of the Reverend Richard Fabian comes up for sale in New York.
The single-owner sale will offer 63 lots, all without reserve, from one of America’s finest surviving private collections of Chinese hardwood furniture.

Fabian was the founder and rector of St. Gregory’s of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, and began collecting in the 1970s. His collection focuses on Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture made from Huanghuali, one of the most valuable Chinese hardwoods prized for its colour, grain and fragrance.

"The elegant beauty of Chinese hardwood furniture is on glorious display in the Fabian Collection," said Cynthia Volk, Chinese Art Senior Specialist at Sotheby’s.

"Commissioned from the 16th century by the scholarly elite, wealthy aristocrats, courtiers, and emperors, the desirability of these fine pieces has never faltered and we are now witnessing a tremendous appetite for these enduring works from collectors around the world."

Leading the collection is a rare and exceptional pair of Ming Dynasty Huanghuali and Huamu ‘Fu’ character yokeback armchairs, known as Sichutouguanmaoyi. Dating from the 16th / 17th century, there are just eleven known examples of the style in existence – of which Fabian owned four. This first pair is estimated at $300,000-$500,000, and the second pair, showing slightly more wear, is valued at $300,000-$500,000.

Another standout lot is a pair of rare Qing Dynasty huanghuali round-corner tapering cabinets with latticework, made circa 17th / 18th century. With no known comparable pieces ever documented, this unique pair of cabinets is expected to sell for $300,000-$500,000.

Further notable pieces from the collection will include a large pair of Qing Dynasty Huanghuali square-corner compound cabinets, estimated at $300,000-$500,000; a rare Huanghuali bamboo-style horseshoe-back armchair valued at $120,000-$150,000; and a Huanghuali and Huamu archaistic recessed-leg table estimated at $80,000-$120,000.

The Sotheby’s sale of The Reverend Richard Fabian Collection of Chinese Classical Furniture takes place in New York as part of Asia Week on Tuesday March 15.

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