Past Auction

Asian Works of Art

Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 10am EDT |
New York
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Chinese Doucai Glazed Porcelain Cup Achieves $2 Million

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  • Sale of Asian Works of Art on March 13, 2017
  • Chinese Doucai Glazed Porcelain Cup Achieves $2 Million
  • Featuring the I. Arnold Victor Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles

Scheduled during Asia Week New York, Doyle’s Asian Works of Art auction on March 13, 2017 presented the arts of China, Japan and Southeast Asia from the Neolithic Period through the 20th century. Offerings included porcelain, pottery, jade, scholar's objects, bronzes, screens, furniture and paintings. A special section of the auction was devoted to the I. Arnold Victor Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles.

With competitive international bidding from bidders in the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the sale totaled $3,932,329, far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $775,300-1,153,300 with 73% sold by lot and 95% sold by value.

Highlighting the sale was a Chinese Doucai glazed porcelain cup that achieved an exceptional $2 million following competitive bidding that drove the price far beyond its $50,000-70,000 estimate. Measuring only 1 1/2 inches in height, the diminutive 18th century cup was decorated in a design of leafy fruiting peach branches and bore the Chenghua six-character mark within a square in underglaze blue. Doucai or ‘colors that fit together’ combine over glaze enamels within under glazed blue outlines. This type of workmanship required absolute perfection or the piece was destroyed. The technique began in the Ming Dynasty and was most popular during the Chenghua period, and was revived again during the 18th century.

The selection of Chinese jades in the sale featured a light celadon jade vase made during the late 18th to early 19th century. An exceptional example of the high quality of jade workmanship of that time, the vase achieved an exceptional $432,500, far surpassing its estimate of $20,000-30,000. Favored in the imperial courts, objects such as this vase hark back to archaic forms and design motifs in the most precious medium of all, jade.

An unusual Chinese three-piece garniture of famille rose porcelain with yellow ground sold for $161,000, many times its estimate of $4,000-6,000. Dating to the 18th/19th century, the garniture was rare, being of censer form flanked by matching Gu form vases.

An exceptionally large and rare 19th century Choson dynasty Buddhist painting from Korea measured 53 x 64 inches. Estimated at $3,000-5,000, the painting was the object of competitive bidding that sent the work to a strong $161,000.

The I. Arnold Victor Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles

Doyle is honored to auction the I. Arnold Victor Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles. Assembled by Cecile and I.A. Victor, Jr., the collection has been consigned by the estate of their son, I. Arnold Victor, III (1939-2016).

Missouri native Isidore Arnold Victor, Jr. (1907-1988), always known as I.A., met his wife Cecile Dorothea Mann (1915-1991) during a visit to Houston, Texas shortly after he relocated to Texas. The couple were married in 1938 and settled in Dallas, Texas, where they raised their three children. A graduate of the University of Missouri, I.A. was for many years a merchandise buyer for a large chain of department stores and frequently traveled to New York. In later years, he made a career change and entered the banking industry. Cecile, an Alabama native and alumna of the University of Texas at Austin, created a loving home for their son and two daughters, and her parents, Marion and Jack Mann, who lived with them.

In 1969, while attending the annual Gift and Jewelry Market of the Fine Jewelers Guild in Dallas, Cecile and I.A. happened upon a Chinese snuff bottle and were entranced and fascinated by its beauty. They made their first purchase, and thus began the remarkable collection that they assembled over the next decade. Acquisitions were made through American dealers, as well as in London through Spink and Hugh Moss, who was a valued source of information for the couple as they collected. The Victors treasured their growing collection, which was proudly displayed in four cabinets in their living room.

The couple enjoyed interacting with the people they met in their collecting years. Collecting brought them many lasting friendships with fellow collectors, dealers and others with interests in the art world. I.A. also served on the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Museum of Art, and the couple entertained English sculptor Henry Moore in their home during a visit he made to Dallas.

Their son, I. Arnold Victor, III, inherited the collection from his parents. An accomplished polyglot, Arnold was a graduate of Rice University and studied Slavic Languages at the University of Vienna, Austria, on a Fulbright Scholarship. He earned a Master of Science in Linguistics at Georgetown University and later taught Humanities at Howard University. A member of Mensa, he was fluent in Esperanto, French, German, Russian and Mandarin. He enjoyed traveling internationally, but New York was his home for more than forty years. A highly cultured gentleman, he was a longtime subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Like his parents before him, he was fascinated by Chinese snuff bottles and cherished their collection. The upcoming auction offers collectors the rare opportunity to acquire fine Chinese snuff bottles treasured by two generations of a family of true connoisseurs.   

The I. Arnold Victor Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles comprised lots 228 through 305, with additional Chinese Works of Art comprising lots 86 and 142.

All prices include the buyers premium.

Next Asian Works of Art Auction: September 2017

Consignments are currently being accepted for Doyle’s September 2017 Asian Works of Art sale. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection. For information, please call Marley Rabstenek at 212-427-4141, ext 299 or email [email protected]

Asia Week New York

Doyle is proud to be an Auction House Partner of Asia Week New York, the annual celebration of Asian art taking place each March. New York becomes the world's premier destination for collectors, curators, scholars and enthusiasts of Asian art, with special events presented throughout the city. For information on Asia Week New York, visit or the Chinese language site at 

Consignments are currently being accepted

To have your property evaluated for possible consignment in the next auction, please contact:

Media Contact

Louis LeB. Webre
SVP, Marketing & Media
212-427-4141, ext 232
[email protected]

  • Estate of Aileen Pei
  • Estate of I. Arnold Victor III
  • Estate of Kathleen Crawley
  • Estate of Mary Kettaneh
  • Estate of Private New Jersey Collector
  • From the Collection of an American Ambassador
  • Property of a New Jersey Estate
  • Property of a Private Collection
  • Property of a Sarasota, FL Collector
  • The Julien Studley Collection

A Selection of Auction Highlights

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