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Consider the Artists ! Not just your collection and wallet !

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Author Topic: Consider the Artists ! Not just your collection and wallet !  (Read 1144 times)
Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« on: April 13, 2011, 01:01:13 pm »

Hi  All

I posted  this    earlier  this  evening   as a  reply to   a very old    topic  started  by George  in Jan  under   exhibitions  etc,  but which   you may  miss  unless  you are  following every new  posting. 

I feel  very  strongly about this  issue !

Here's the  posting again

BEWARE  ........ THIS  IS GETTING  ME  ON TO MY  MOST SERIOUS   HOBBY HORSE.... !

Sadly, but inevitably,  the  same   3,000  - 5,000   bottles  will continuously   circulate   around the  top  10 collections  in the  world  forever and the  prices  will  go up   every  time a bottle  changes  hands.   But hasn't that  always  been the case  for  fine art   when  the  artist  is  long since   dead  and there  are  a strictly   fixed  number  of  his artworks  in the  world  ( except for   new fakes)  ?   There  is  growing number of  collectors  in the  world, and I think that the snuff bottle   field is only just taking  off ...   Consider  :  how many   paintings  can you  hang  in your  home   compared to  how many  snuff bottles  you can  display  on a  few shelves ?  And  gradually homes   will become  smaller  ... and   smaller  ( especially here  in Asia)   in the  next 100  years.   And  Chinese  collectors in particular  will  become    richer.

But it's also the  same  with any collectible  , eg  stamps . Nothing we can   say  can   ever  change  that   so no  point to  get worked  up about it. 

But somehow  I feel   differently about   inside  painted  bottles  when  I look at the  love and skill  that goes  into them .

At  the  Yantai   Asian Collectors  conference and exhibition  in 2009  there  was   an afternoon meeting  given over to   presentations.  The  only presentation was  by a  Chinese-American  guy  who was  talking about the   astronomic  prices    now  fetched  at  auctions for   inside painted  bottles . I  distinctly   remember   the    highest  price  he   mentioned  for  an antique  IPB  was  USD 800,000.   There  were   over  100 artists    at the  exhibition  who had  travelled  overnight by train  from Hengshui and  elsewhere to  get  to  Yantai  ( could not afford a flight) and were  staying  2 -3  per room in a cheap hostel  near the  exhibition  centre   ( could not afford the  conference  hotel)   for   whom the  sale of  just  one or  two  bottles   at the  exhibition at   a  few  USD  hundreds  / bottle  would mean they  could make ends  meet that month .

I did  a  quick calculation and  worked  out that  USD800,000    divided  among  100 artists  would  keep them  all   going for  one year .  ONE YEAR  !   

So when  I    see these  crazy prices  at auctions  I think  :  " If  I  really  had  USD100,000 to spend on  IPBs   today , I would   much rather  use  it to buy  100  of the  most beautiful  bottles  by the  best  current  artists  , both  younger artists   who are  living  from  hand to  mouth,  and older artists  who  are  fast  losing their  sight  and  have  nothing for   their retirement   having sold  all their  best  creations  for  peanuts  when they were much younger  but not yet  appreciated , than   to buy one  super-antique  bottle  at an auction  which  may  appreciate to  USD200,000  when I  re-auction  it in  5  years  time "  . 

darn the  appreciation  factor  !  I would   much  MUCH rather   have 100  beautiful  bottles  to  love and  admire  on my living room shelves ,  knowing that  by  buying them   100 artists   made it   through that  month  -   or months ( and  I don't  give  a  darn  if  they never  appreciate  at all)  - rather than buy one  super- antique bottle and    every day   take  it  out  of the  safe  to  look at  it  greedily and  think   :  " in a  few  years  time I will  sell you  to I don't  care  whom, and   earn  USD100,000 profit"

I must confess that  when  I  first  started  collecting and  buying direct   from artists  I   still regarded  the  negotiation about  price  the  way  any collector  would  feel when   buying  from a  dealer. But then  I  started to  feel  differently and tried to  put myself   in  the  artist's  shoes.  Sure, some (but  just a  very few)  Modern artists   have made it to the  big time  and have    200  sq  apartments  in Hengshui  in  nice new    buildings ( I have been there and seen them) .   But  most of the  upcoming artists   whose work I most admire   have tiny  little   dusty  homes, a  wife and     two  young  kids ( and  I have also  been there and   seen  them) .  And the    young  artist  I admire the  most  uses his   basement  motorbike  garage  as his  studio   without  even  any natural  light. 

One of the  senior artists  I admire the  most    has recently agreed to sell me  several  of his  bottles.  His  asking price  was not  cheap  - in fact  very  expensive  based on my  salary and   limited   savings.    But  then it    suddenly occured to me that  :  (a) he could  have asked   twice  the price  from an indiscriminate  rich  collector   who just  " buys the big names"   - and  he knows   several  such buyers  ;   (b) he  prefers to  sell   to me  because  he  knows  I love  - really  LOVE -  his  works  and admire them  every day;  (c) this artist  is almost  60  and  cannot   possibly paint  much longer : he needs  money for  his retirement    just as  I do ;  so to fetch a  fair price  for  some of  his  last and possibly best    bottles  means a  lot  for his  peace of  mind, and his  family  who depend  on him.   So..... I actually offered to pay   more than  what he  asked .  It   cost me  an  arm and  a leg, and I have  never  forked out  so much  for  some   bottles  in my life   at one  time.  But  at least  I felt  I was  putting  my  money  where my mouth is  on this    hobby horse of mine  which is:

CONSIDER  ALSO  THE  ARTISTS  !  DO  NOT JUST CONSIDER  YOUR  COLLECTION AND   YOUR  WALLET  ! 

I created  my data base  primarily  as  a way for  new collectors    to   navigate  through the   jungle of   modern   artists and  to  find those  who paint the  kind of  bottles  they  like  . Otherwise   they  will     blunder  around  in the    dark for ever and  never   find the   handful  of artists   whose  work  is the  perfect  macth for their  taste  in  IPBs.  I  have found my perfect  matches.  So also - I believe - has Bill.   The   fact that we found  different    matches   does not  mean   that   my taste  is in any way   any   better  ( or worse)  than Bill's  or  vice  versa .  It   just means   we are  both  very happy with  our collections  and   preferred   choice of  artists,  and  enjoy  them  every  day. 

Long live the  Modern School !   

So I  agree:  do not waste  one's  money on   expensive  bottles  at  auctions  unless you   really   like them  ( as I did  my one only Wang Xisan)

Do not  buy  for  investment  :  buy  just for  pure  LOVE  and  BEAUTY  ! 

And, if at all  possible , get to  Hengshui  or  wherever the  artist  lives  (  Shijiazhuang, BJ,  Zibo) and  meet the  artists  whose  work you  love .

By 9.2013  I will be  retired. I speak  Chinese and   I  have worked in China for  25 years. I would be happy to escort  any collector to  meet  any artist  he  wants to  meet   in China  at anytime  at my own expense .

Now there's an invitaton  you  can't   resist !

( Peter gets  down off   his  hobby  horse...)

Cheers  Peter  @ HK
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 07:44:22 pm by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

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Pat - 查尚杰
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 07:25:36 pm »

Not a bad idea for retirement Peter!  IPSB China Tours... no, all joking aside, this is a great offer!  Thanks for being so kind and generous!
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Pat
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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 07:54:12 pm »

I will  call  them  "Ride  a  Hobby  Horse Tours"

 Wink
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richy88
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 11:27:15 pm »

Hi Peter

Thanks for your post.

Yes, it will be certainly very interesting and rewarding if we can organise a group tour together to visit the artists in China.

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Richard from sunny Singapore
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 04:53:06 am »

Thank you Peter  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2011, 06:20:20 am »

Great write Peter ... and you know I share your sentiments 100%. Once you meet and know these artist they become a second family. When I admire my bottles I see a face in many of them; the face of the artist. Early in my collecting I wanted to have a name and bio of the artist whenever I could get it. Now that I have the daughter and cousin of some of those painters living in my house, who I proudly call "my daughter", it is impossible to forget the people who create these wonderful works. My desire is to get them better prices for their work because I know how they live in order to pursue the art they love.

A couple of years ago when I presented an abbreviated version of my DVD at the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society meeting in Boston, I stated that I was more concerned about preserving the future of this art than its past. While the past is important and I appreciate historical bottles, I am astounded at the progress and inventiveness of the Modern School. Not content with the works of their predecessors, they have experimented and invented with every element of this art; the bottles, the types of paint, the brushes. In my opinion, their results are unparalleled. Yes, some modern bottles are expensive, certainly by e-bay standards, but where else in the art world can you buy works by the world's best at prices this affordable.

I am a retired public school teacher from, of all places, Kentucky, where horses and basketball, not Chinese art rule. Obviously it doesn't matter where you live or what your income ... you can make a difference in the lives of these artists and in the promotion and encouragement of this art. Show your collection proudly ... with the hands, the eyes and the heart of the creator of these works in mind.

Bill
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2011, 09:07:28 am »

Hi Bill

Thanks  for  your  support!  And  indeed  I know   that   you  and  I both  think 100% on   this  issue 

                         Smiley Smiley Smiley

I think we  are  just   two  voices  in the  wilderness, but  better  two voices  than   just  one !

I have  invited   Mr  Tai  ( Hop Wah)  for   dinner  next week    with   Fu Guo Shun  who  is  in HK  as   artist-of-the-month  with  CAC.  It now  seems  Mr Tai  has  retired  completely because he  told  me  he has   closed  even  his    residual   tiny HK office.  I don't  know  what happened  to the  100+  bottles  he  still had on his   shelves,  unless  he managed to sell them on e-bay, as  he was  trying to  do  last time I visited  his  office  in   late 2009.

But  significantly  :  the   first  thing  he  said   when  I called  him  was " prices  seem to have increased  a lot !"

Actually  I can  gauge this  in real  time  by the  list prices at CAC  by the   artist-of-the-month , most of  whom  come every  year.    Literally,   CAC  list prices  have  doubled  since   2009/2010   apple-for-apple, which means   artists  net  net prices  after  discount and   CAC  commission have also  doubled. 

Is that  good  or  bad  ?

Well.......  if  you  are  a  beginner collector and  looking for   really  good  bottles  by  up-coming  artists  in their early/ mid   30's  it means  you  must  now pay  USD 1,000  instead of  USD500  as base price  ( unless  you  have already  established  very  good relationships   with the   artist, but even  then  I think USD800 is   now  the   base  price) .

If you buy  something  on  e-bay  it  may  indeed  be  beautiful  to your eyes,  but  when   you see a   real   work  of  art  by an up-coming  artist  who now   commands  USD  1K  / bottle   you   will  happily   ditch  all your   e-bay  bottles  just to   own   one  of  these  modern masterpieces

Because the  skill of  modern artists    increases  a  quantum  jump  every   2 - 3 years  . Fact !

 But  if   you are   a    young   artist living  in a   dusty   40  sq m  flat  with  a  wife and  2  kids in  Hengshui  with no  air con in summer (  35  deg  C)  and no heating  in winter  ( - 10  deg  C)    the fact  that  you can get    double   the price   per  bottle  makes  an immense  difference !  So that  is good  news !

I think that  that the  golden period  for  collectors  when they   could  pick up   for a   few  USD  hundreds   truly  beautiful bottles     by   young, up-coming  artists    in their  late  20's  / early  30's   whom they  know  by name    has now  ended 

That's unless the   horizontal   display  cabinet  iin Wang Xisan;s i Hengshui  Museum/ shop   still   only chargge USD  50 -60  for the same high class  of  junior student  pen names


 
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 02:49:47 pm »

Hello  again All,

I want to  keep this  thread  alive, as  I am  sure   does  Bill.

Consider the   amount  of  work that  Bill   put into  his  website  www.snuffbottlecollector.com , not the mention the   25  years  he  has been  collecting  ( and Bill  does  not even  speak  Chinese  , nor has he  any reason to  go to China  except to  meet  artists  :  now  THERE's a  labor  of  love  !)

If  you  have been following this  Forum  you  will have seen a lot  of  postings on  one  thread  about  faked  photo-printed bottles.  Do not be   worried  !   This  is an anomoly and   very  much the   exception , and there  is  now  enough  information  on the  relevant  thread to   know  how to spot   such  fake bottles.

I was  once   taken  in by this  scam,  but the  bottle  I bought  was never part of my  collection . It was  just   what appeared to me as a rather   pretty  ( and  pretty  cheap)  bottle  that  I might one day give away as a present  to a  non-collector  friend

But it  does   highlight  the  need  for  provenance ! .  

Anthing  you  buy  sight  unseen  from e-bay  or  an auction  house  is  potentially suspect.   That    certianly does  not mean  all such bottles  ( especially from reputable  auction houses)  are  fakes.  But  certainly a  large  number  are fakes.

My guess is that  professional   dealers , especially in the  USA,  attend  all the   major   bottle  auctions  and  assess at first  hand / visually / with immense  experience   what  is  real and  what is  fake.   Then  they  bid only for those  bottles  that  are    genuine, and  full  marks  to them  if  they  pick them  up for a  song and   later  re-sell them  at a  much higher  price.  That pays  for  their  air- fares  and hotel  costs  to   attend the   actual  auction  and   also the  mistakes  they may make. That's   normal  antique  business, and  long may it   flourish, because  hidden away  in    great  grand-fathers's collection of  memorobilia  from his   trips to China  in the    1920's are  certianly some  gems.  Recently  a   very  rare  Chinese  vase was  found in someone's  attic in the UK    and it  sold  for  close  to  USD 100  Million !

But that  does not help  new collectors , especially  those  collectors  who want to  buy  good  quality bottles  by modern  up-coming   artists . And  please  bear in mind that  the  rate of  progress of the modern  School is  such that    bottles  painted  today  are  usually    several   quantum  levels  better  in skill  and beauty than  bottles  painted as  recently  as   5  - 10  years  ago  .  That  does  not mean that  they are  worth  5 -10  times  as  much as  older  bottles, because  inevitably  any  bottle  by any currently-recognized   "master  artist" , no matter how  good/ bad the   work, atttacts  a  premium price   just because the  artist  is now  famous.  But that's always been  the case  in the art  world.

There  are  some   hideous  canvas  paintings  by modern  Chinese  artists  that  I would  not   hang  in my home  even if  you  paid  me , but the  "art"  world  has    "discovered" them  ( maybe  because  they are  so hideous !)   and their  paintings   are now  worth  US$  many Millions

If you  are  very  VERY  clever and/or   VERY  lucky you  may buy an inside-painted  bottle  by an IPB   artist  who    50 -  70  years  later  is  recognized  as   the   IPB  "Picasso".  But  so  what?  By then you  will be long dead.  

In  the  meantime  do you  want to  build a  collection  which you love  and  enjoy   looking at every  day   regardless  of  investment  value?  That's   why I have  built  my  collection .  And that's the  only reason I collect. I  don't  care what my  collection is  worth  because  I will never sell  it.  And , I  am sure , Bill thinks the   same  about  his  collection, which is   why, when  I  finally  photograph my  collection of  Chinese  landscape  bottles,  it  will   simply  go on to Bill's  site  ( with his  permission  and without  any  fanfare) as  a  new  theme   and  as  just another  genre  of the  Modern School  which this one  particular - and  maybe  somewhat  crazy - collector  is  madly  in  love with , just as  I am madly   and  also  somewhat  crazily  in love  with my wife - who is   equally  unique,and to  my eyes  totally   beautiful in person and  in spirit.  Full  stop.   ( Punkt  !   as the  Germans  say)

So what  does  that  mean  for   new  collectors?

Here  are some   suggestions :

1.  Decide what themes  you like (  cats. dogs,   spiders?! ,   portraits, landscapes,  waterfalls ..... whatever)

2.  Do  a  LOT  of  due  diligence  and  research on  what current  and  past  artists  paint the  themes  you like

    With the  internet and  this  Forum  you  have   far  more   resources  than  were  ever  available   as  recently
    as  5  years  ago.   I will not tell  you  where  to  look  because  if  you    are so lazy as to ask  me  you  don't  deserve
    to be a  real  collector.  Just get on line  and GOOGLE !  

3.  Locate  those  artists  whose  work you  like  and make  personal  contact.   That  may  seem  an insuperable  barrier  if
     you   live  in USA and  have never   even  been to  China  (let alone  speak  Chinese) .  

    ( Ever  tried  Google  Languge  Tools? They  do actually include  Chinese )

     But  asking a  few   questions  from  other collectors  (like me and  Bill)  will give  you  artists' email  addresses

4. Contact  reputable   dealers   who can   help  you.  There  are  such  dealers ,  some of  which are  based  in China,
   and  some  of  which are even members  of the  International  Chinese  Snuff Bottle Society , so they are  very  
   reputable.  These  dealers  buy only  from  artists   directly . No middle-men.

   Yes,  such  dealers   take a  commission on anything they  sell.  But I would  much  rather  pay a  dealer  a  commission
   than  take my chances   on e-bay  !  

4. (And this  is  my main point)   Be  willing to  pay  for   quality

   The Chinese  have  two sayings  about this, which I often  quote to my   company's customers in China, bearing  in mind
   that   what  we  sell  is  truly the  "Rolls  Royce"   in our  market* ( I  could    say   " Bentley"  which  is even  more  
   exclusive than   Rolls  Royce , but that  would be  pretentious, given  my name  - but  no relation  to the  car  company)

   a)  " Yi fen  qian -  yi fen huo "  =  "If  you pay  more ... you  get more" !

   b) " Pianyi bu  hao huo . Hao huo  bu  pianyi " =  "Cheap  is  rubbish.  Good  quality  is  not  cheap"

   Certainly there  are  some  real bargains  if  you can  spot an  up-coming    new  talented  inside -painted  bottle  artist
   before  he  is  widely recognized , which is  often the  period  in which  he  is  most  creative  ( as with all art) .

   But  even more  certainly  :  you  will  NEVER   find  his   works  on e-bay  or   auctions  because there's no possible
   way  they  could  have got  there  so fast , not even as  fakes


I think  I have  said  enough. If you  are  a   serious   collector  of the Modern Inside- Painted School   you  will  have  (  or soon will have)  done  your   due  diligence   and spent  hours  ( days, weeks ...  !)   downloading  pics  of bottles  from the  internet.  That's  what I did  when I got  SERIOUS.

From then  on it's  downhill  running.......... There's a  bunch of  collectors  like   Bill, me, and    several others   who  would  be  delighted  to  put  you in touch  with   reputable dealers  and  even  the  artists  themselves.  

Cheers  Peter  @  Hong Kong

PS :  Disclaimer  : I  have  never, nor will ever,  have  any financial  interest  in any  dealer's  business. But I  will  recommend  dealers  whom I know  to be  reputable, honest  and  reliable .

PPS:  * What does  my company sell  in China?  Vacuum  leak  detectors which are  used  to   check the   quality  of refrigerators and   airconditioners,   of which  about   60%  of the   world's  production  is  now in China.
 Our   market share   world wide  is  90%  and  in China  98%  .  

" Yi fen   qian -  yi fen  huo "

" Hao huo  bu  pianyi ! "    


 
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George
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2011, 07:56:02 pm »

Most excellent Peter !

This is probably one of the most important topics/thread for the new collector and forum member to consider reading.

I want to add to it from my purchasing experiences, opinion as a new collector, and type of bottles I most enjoy collecting.

Will type and add it to this great thread later..  Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 01:33:05 am »

First off, I can not help but express how especially exciting it has been to have Bill, Richard, and Peter join up to the forum. All three of these guys have been and continue to be extremely supportive to all here.

At the time of this posting, for what ever reason it seems it has been these members with real expertise that have contributed most, and are getting this forum on track to what I believe will be a great collectors community full of information and resources.
 
As for "Considering the artist and not our wallet", for this beginner collector on a shoe string budget, my ability to collect higher end bottles is going to be few and far between. As new members and guests/lurkers read through the forum, it is dominated by inside painted collectors, and a great deal of valuable discussions on these higher end painted bottles. Not so sure that will ever change, as it is these bottles that are in my humble opinion the most interesting of all the types of snuff bottles. So it makes perfect sense that they get the most attention from collectors.
 
It can be overwhelming for a new collector. It is for myeslf.. Especially if deep down we want to be collecting at this level, but the reality of our budgets just does not allow for now.
I find myself plenty excited at this point, purchasing and collecing older bottles. I sure do enjoy the rare find of an older inside painted bottle that turns out to have a distinguished artist/falmily name displayed ! So far I have got pretty darn lucky finding two Yong Shou T'ian bottles, as well as a couple of other really great looking older bottles.
 
I am one of those who searches through eBay listings looking for that bottle being sold ( buy now ) by a seller unaware of what they have. That was the case with the above mentioned bottles. I got these beauties for next to nothing. There is nothing more exciting than getting such a bottle in the mail. Opening the packange and gleaming with joy over a great find and addition to the collection ! Purchasing an older bottle signed by a well known middle school artist is a big bonus, but rare for a collector like myself with limited funds.
 
So in part what I am trying to say to the new collector is enjoy collecting what ever style and or price range of snuff bottle you are drawn to and can reasonably afford. Take advantage of the knowledge these expert collectors who are sharing here on forum without worrying about fitting in at an unrealistic level of collecting as a start up collector. I do not feel like it is a competition. Nor is it about spending money from the wallet that we really don't have just for the sake of trying to fit in with the expert and more experienced collectors. No need... ! Although.. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the good old ocassional bragging rights ! Yet I believe those rights are justly held in the eye of the beholder, no matter the monetary level of the purchase.

A lot of what the experts here share can be total Greek to the new collector. I know much of it is for me. Trying to follow along with discussions of students, master artists, schools, and themes, etc, etc... I find myself hanging on tightly to their shirt tails, and just enjoying the ride !

It is without a doubt that for myself, I forsee purchasing an ocassional higher end student bottle from time to time. Peter's suggestions above are all spot on!  For myself as a beginner collector it all resonates and hits home for me...  Although I was already convinced, after listening to these experienced collectors on forum here, it goes without saying that the area to concentrate on is certainly the upcoming student artists. Combined with purchasing directly with reputable dealers and or let the friendly collectors on this forum guide us towards these artists.

I would like to add that perhaps the word I might like to use is "niche". What is our individual niche as bottle collecting goes ? We will likely collect a great many different types of bottles made from any number of materials as our collections grow, but where is the niche ? What really tickles our indidual fancy  !  As I mentioned, for myself at this point for a few different reasons it is the older, and ocassionally affordable bottles that I happen upon at the right time.  I am still exploring, but starting to sense that one possible little niche for myself my lean towards the little known Peach River Studio or as Richard educated me on, a school located in Swatow, Southern China's Guangdong province. I may end up pulling that money from my wallet for these interesting looking bottles and may well end up being that little favored niche within the other varities of bottles that end up in my collection.
 
I remember reading in Lilla Perry's book where she suggested as a collector to purchase and as Peter mentioned, "be willing to pay for quality" museum grade bottles. I don't believe this has to mean purchasing bottles in the 1000.00 range. I believe there are likely plenty of bottles in the few hundred dollar range that are sitting in museums. Maybe that would be a good topic for discussion.. "What are some things that places a bottle within the category of museum grade/quality ?" I suspect we may find that it is quite often not as elite a category/group of bottles as one might think. Although of course they are nothing like a several or tens of thousands dollar museum quality bottles !

Where Peter mentions that as serious collectors of Modern Inside Painted School / Student  bottles it is important we do our due diligence and research. Google is most certainly our friend doing this !  Researching and asking questions is the pre-requisite to pulling money out of our wallet.  Especially for quality student and or Master painted bottles.
 
Peter has sent me a lot of truly interesting reading. Sharing his experiences from when he first starting collecting up through and including trips to several exhibitions. It is like reading a novel that tells of a wonderous journey from beginning up through his most recent trips. Freindly collectors, students, and purchases of the most beautiful bottles.

Some of which he must have been carrying two separate wallets full of money with him in order to aquire !

Ok.. I am done rambling !

Now I am heading off to Wallmart to buy a bigger wallet !  Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 11:36:52 am »

Hi  George

Collecting  is a  happy   addiction !     Cheesy

Every collector  is a little  bit  crazy, a little  bit   romantic,  and   certainly  very much   fanatic

As  kid I used to  collect matchboxes  and I  recall the  pure   delight   when  I found  a new  Bryant & May's  Safety  Matchbox   where the   average  content  had been  reduced from   38  to   37 (or later  :  37  to   36 ). Every town  I ever  visited  I went to  every   grocer and  tabacconist  shop and  asked to see  what  kind of  matches they sold . It  drove my parents  crazy  when  they  stopped the car  just to   fill  up  petrol and off  I  ran to  all the  shops  within a  200  yd  radius  of the  petrol station ( I think you call  it  gas  station  in the   USA)

I know  what  you  mean  about the  delight of  buying a  really valuable  gem  of a  bottle  for a  song  on  e-bay because  no-one  understood  what  it was  worth.   One collector / dealer told  me  privately  that  his  son  has built  up   quite a  valuable    bottle collection    by   joining  his father   to  go to auctions  and then his  son bought  for  peanuts  a few of the  odds and  ends   that were  unsold  at the  the  end of  the  auction , among  which  were    some  real  gems.   Wink

I have  bottle  painted  by  none other than   Dong  Kun .  Now  there's a  Grand  Master  if ever there  was one  !  Dong  Kun was a   first generation  pupil of   Wang  Xisan, and   father  of   current    Grand  Master   Dong  Xue

I found  the  bottle  on the   dusty   shelves  of  a  retired  HK  dealer , Mr  Tai,   introduced  by Bill. It  was  a  Chinese  landscape (  my   prime collecting theme)    but  so ugly that  I  passed   it  by  the  first time  I  looked  at Mr Tai's  residual   stock of  bottles.  When  I finally    got  round to a  second  combing  of  Mr Tai's shelves  and  asked  who painted  this  bottle  and he said   " Dong Kun"    I  almost  fell  through the floor.  When  I asked the price   he  said " whatever  is  written  on the  bottom"   which  was  HK$3,200  ( =  USD400 ) labelled about   25  years   ago .   When  I pointed  out that  such a  bottle  was  worth   10  - 20  x   that price  Mr Tai simply  said :  " It's been on my shelves for  over 15 years  and  you  are the   first  person  who offered  to buy it .  So I am happy to accept  the  original  price" 

Quite a  find  and  huge bargain !

But  do I  like the   bottle  ?   NO!   It's an  ugly  piece and  way  down  the  bottom of  my  list  of best  Chinese  Landscapes (  maybe  even  at THE  bottom)    I only bought  it  because  I could  afford  the ultra-low price  ( and because  Mr Tai ,  who is   very dear  soul  and good  friend,   knew   exactly what  he was  selling , so  in no way  did  I   pull  one  over his  eyes)  I  only  bought  it  out  of  academic  interest .

Do  I love  it and   admire  it  every  day ?  Never  ! 

But  I do  love  and  admire  every day the  bottles  painted  by the  Modern  artists  whose   work I now   actively collect, and  for  whose  best  work  I  now happily  pay   10 x  or  more   what  I paid  for  my  one and only   Dong Kun?   YES !

CONCLUSION:    Some  collectors   collect  for  rarity  value.  In which  case  my  Dong Kun  comes  No  2  in my collection  after  my sole  Wang  Xisan (which cost me US$ 13,000  at  Bonhams  Bloch 1   auction) . And certainly   my  Dong  Kun comes No  1  in terms of  value  for  money  ! 

But other  collectors  collect for   love/ beauty/ detail /  color   whatever........

What the  heck ?!   We  are  all crazy collectors and  all madly in love  with ( and madly  proud  of)  our  own  collections

THAT'S WHAT  COLLECTING  IS  ABOUT  !

A huge   toast to  George for  creating  this   Forum  so we  can all talk about  how  we  FEEL  about  collecting , crazy, fanatic  or   otherwise  !

Cheers   ( Crazy  and  fanatic )  Peter

PS  : I append  below   my  ugly  Dong Kun ..........   Mmmmmmmm     Sad







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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 11:09:38 pm »

This bottle is not ugly at all!  Haha, trade material ;-)  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 12:26:18 am »

Just commenting on Peter and George's posts.  We all have different ways and preferences, styles to collect.  I found myself to be a 'hoarder' because I established my collection from different places and for the past 16 years have been moving in-between Asia and Europe, and at one time actually lived and worked in 3 places at the same time (yes I am crazy TOO).  This is NOT necessarily my chosen option, and so it affected my collecting style.

However, I love to 'trade' or 'swap', up or down, and at one point my point of departure will be that ANY part or piece of my IP collection will be up for sale (not in a traditional sense) or trade in some sense, if someone likes my bottle(s) more than I do and thus gives it greater 'value' than I do, either in monetary terms or 1 for 1 or 1 for multiple trade/swap.

Similarly, I think I will also 'clean' house or 'collection' to make room for other, more expensive, rarer, more beautiful, etc. pieces.

This is not to contradict anything that was said earlier, but to add to it, and to highlight the differences in collecting philosophy.

Some buy to collect, own and keep
Others buy to invest and trade/sell
Some actually have a 'number' items limit
Others have a specific niche, either all or majority

I keep finding myself going in between all 4 options, but have centered on older first/any category and newer/landscape type bottles.

And frankly, IF I dont trade/sell down or up, I am the kind of guy to wind up with a few thousand bottles one day.  Not a reasonable option, considering fragility and space requirements (although for snuff bottles this is one of the easiest arts/craft forms to collect and still have many items...)
 
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 09:38:27 am »

Taste in art, opportunity to purchase (access to a particular bottle and funds) as well knowledge of the art and hence an appreciation for what one sees, changes over time. For me, my ideal collection is about 500 bottles. I currently have just over 700. Obviously "weeding" out the bottles that have lesser significance to me has not been a priority. As with any collection, there are bottles I would gladly sell or trade - especially, as Pat stated, to someone who has a greater appreciation for the bottle than I do. There are other bottles that I hope to have until my last breath. Don't ask me to sell or trade one of them. Some examples are: (assuming I did the posting right)




Bill



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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 10:47:32 am »

Three wonderful pieces Bill!  No doubt that I would hang on to those too... While I like the portrait and the horses very much, I absolutely LOVE the ballet scene.  Incredible ...  Shocked Cherish!
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2011, 11:57:35 am »

Absolutely beautiful !

I fell in love witht the ballet scene as well. That is why I picked it as a banner/logo for Bill's site here on the forum..

The portrait is out of this world though.. The detail is amazing !
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2011, 03:48:06 pm »

To me, this portrait bottle is the best portrait bottle ever painted. Of course I'm prejudiced. The reason I feel that way ... look at the skin colors and texture and compare that with any other portrait bottle.

I don't know anyone who has done the sheer fabric of the ballet painting as well as this painter has in the ballet bottle.

Horses ... I'm from Kentucky. What can I say Grin

Bill
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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2011, 01:07:57 am »

Hi  Bill

Interesting that  you  rate the  portrait  of  Billy Graham as THE  best  portrait paiting  ever  painted.  It  was  painted  by  Li Shouxun -  correct ?  

In my collection, the  Zhang  Yumao   watercolor  'canvas'  painting  copies   I  have commissioned  from  Li  Shouxun  over the  next  2  -3  years   also  rank in my opinion  as  THE    best   landscape paintings   ever  painted.

                                                       Smiley    Smiley    Smiley

I think  Li  Shouxun is  one  of  - if   not THE  - most underestimated    Master Artist  today. His   work is  indescribably good.  I still  don't  know  how  he managed to  copy  the  "Maples  of  Qian Mountain" in  such  perfect  detail , even  capturing  the    brillliant    scarlet and    strange  grey/ green tones,   and   even the  watercolor  feeling of the  painting.   As  I have the  original  painting in  my home  (135  x  66  cm  ... it's   BIG)  I can   compare Li Shouxun's   IPB  copy  with the   original, not  just the   high  quality   copy  in the  coffee  table  book  of  Zhang  Yumao's  paintings  which  I gave Mr Li to  work  from.  

Thank you so much  for  introducing  Shouxun to  me.  He  has  also  become  to me   - as to you  -   like  a  family  friend , and I  have never  met such a  modest person.

For  all others  on  the  Forum   : Please  check out  Li  Shouxun  on  Bill's  website . I will post  his   background  from  CIPMA  in a  new  thread   with some   examples  of  his    landscape  paintings   which I     commissioned.

BTW  :    Kang  Hongxi   painted the  ballerinas  - correct  ?  Unmistakeable  style .  Who  painted  the   Horses?

Cheers  Peter
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2011, 05:34:00 am »



For  all others  on  the  Forum   : Please  check out  Li  Shouxun  on  Bill's  website . I will post  his   background  from  CIPMA  in a  new  thread   with some   examples  of  his    landscape  paintings   which I     commissioned.


I just did, and all I can say is WOW !

Among all the stunning paintings, also saw the reverse side of the Billy Graham portrait. Quite stunning.. !  Each are amazing...
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« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2011, 06:53:56 am »

Wang Sijia painted the horses from photographs. While he is great at lots of different types of paintings, his love is animals and it shows in his work.

Bill
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