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Indian Drawings and Tibetan Thangkas

Press Release   •   Nov 15, 2016 10:23 GMT

Indian drawing from Benjamin Wolff's collection

Indian 19th century drawings from a Danish private collection and a number of Buddhist thangkas from Tibet are among the highlights of the auction for oriental art at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen.

“At the year’s final international auction in Copenhagen we present roughly 200 lots with art and antiques from the Far East including an impressive private collection of Indian art, which belonged to the Danish landowner and lawyer Benjamin Wolff”, says Ralph Lexner, head of Oriental art at Bruun Rasmussen.

Love of India

"I then became an Amateur and a Collector." These words come from the dedicated art collector Benjamin Wolff’s (1790-1866) memoirs from his time in India. From 1817-1829 he was stationed by the trade agency Cruttenden, Mackillop & Co. in Calcutta, and here he built his vast collection of original drawings and watercolours that depicted the daily life of early 18th century India – a now bygone era. At the auction we can present approx. 500 works from the collection, including 200 of Wolff's own fine sketches and drawings from his time in the country. Among the motifs are beautiful women, holy men, architecture and landscapes that testify to Wolff's great love of India and his fascination with the country's population, culture, religion and nature. During his posting, Wolff not only amassed a formidable art collection but also a fortune, which he used to buy Engelholm Manor on southern Zealand in Denmark. In 1915 a part of the collection was donated to The National Gallery of Denmark’s “Royal Collection of Graphic Art”.

Devine Thangkas

At this Oriental auction we can also present a number of Buddhist thangkas with the most beautiful religious portraits and narrative motifs. They come from a Danish private collection created by the civil engineer Vagn Pedersen (1927-2005). He was a passionate and knowledgeable collector with an interest in a wide range of Asian antiques. Pedersen’s interest was not only based on his studies of the region through books, but also arose from his several trips to China, Himalaya, Nepal and India. The collection's 37 thangkas were created for both personal Buddhist practices as well as for temples and monasteries. One of them dates from the 1700s Himalaya and depicts the serene Buddha Sakyamuni sitting in dhyanasana on his lotus throne, surrounded by myriads of disciples and divine figures.

Other Danish Collections

Another prominent Danish collector is Tage Wøldike Schmidt (1915-2010), who was Head of the East Asiatic Company and stationed for a number of years in both China, Pakistan and India. From his collection comes the rare Ming vase from the Yongle period between 1403-1423. Several other Danish collections are also represented at the auction with fine Himalayan bronze figures that were created as religious portraits of lamas and monks and span a period from the 1400s to the 1800s.

Preview & Auction

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Bredgade 33, Copenhagen

Preview: 24-28 November

Auction: 30 November at 2 pm

View all the Oriental Art lots

View the Oriental carpets

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are auctioned off each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.