Asian Works of Art

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.   

Asian Works of Art

The I. Arnold Victor Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles is a highlight of the Asian Works of Art auction on March 13, 2017. It comprises lots 228 through 305, with additional Chinese Works of Art comprising lots 86 and 142.

Portrait of specialist Marley Rabstenek
Consultant Appraiser, Asian Works of Art
Asian Works of Art
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