Wednesday, March 5, 2008


March 5, 2008

Melbourne, FL
Sale March 29-30

Part of the collection of Lillian Watson, previously exhibited at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in New York, will be sold at Matheson’s AA Auction in Melbourne, FL.

MELBOURNE, FL - For the first time in its history Matheson’s AA Auction of Melbourne, FL will conduct an auction event live online through Auction owner Lloyd Matheson said, “We owe it to our consignors to open up this sale to the world.”

And what is so special about this sale? The 800 lot sale on March 29-30 will begin with thirty-five pieces of Asian art and antiques from the collection of Lillian Watson, noted collector and world traveler. Twenty of the thirty-five pieces were exhibited at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and were insured for over $5,000,000 in 1997. Matheson’s will offer the thirty-five pieces sequentially as the opening lots of the sale.

Mrs. Watson normally traveled with art and antiques specialists to advise her on her purchases. Among those advisors were Dr. Marty Young, curator of the Johnson Museum, Dr. Mary Linda, curator of the Rockefeller collection, Dr. Richard Howard of the Birmingham Museum and Dr. Richard Gramley. The descriptions of the individual lots in this sale from the Watson collection were provided by the committee of experts that vetted the display for the Museum. Mrs. Watson also purchased items from C. T. Loo in Paris and New York and the Aladdin Gallery.

Lot 01 of the sale will be a 14in high underglazed copper red and white pear shaped bottle, 14th century, from the early Ming Dynasty, Hongwu Reign. When this bottle was first exhibited in the Museum in 1997, on loan from Mrs. Watson, it was insured for $2,000,000. A bottle with the same design, underglaze and similar provenance, one inch shorter, sold at Christy’s Hong Kong in 1997 for $2,800,000. Matheson will open the auction with this lot at $100,000 with no reserve!

Among other items from the collection are a 10½in Imperial Chinese yellow enamel saucer dish, underglaze blue and overglaze yellow, with a floral decoration from the Ming Dynasty bearing the Emperor Chenghua mark (1465-1487), a 19½in tall Chinese Famille Noire glazed vase with court scenes from the Qing Dynasty with Kangxi mark (1661-1722) and a life size Khmer Baphuon sculpture of a male, Baphuon period, 10th century, 49in tall with base.

Following the initial group of Watson lots will be what Matheson is calling a “Discovery Asian Art” session featuring another thirty to forty Asian artifacts from other collections. This may be the opportunity, according to Matheson, for someone to find an undiscovered treasure. This section will include items like an 18th-19th century Qing Dynasty flambe’ glazed vase, 9½in tall, an eight panel Ming Dynasty blue and white table screen and six important early Japanese tiles framed together, each one signed.

In addition to Oriental art the sale will feature some significant American and European art as well as estate jewelry and select furniture items. One piece of artwork that is of special interest in this sale was previously sold by Matheson’s a little over two years ago. It is a work by American painter Ernest Lawson (1873-1939). Lawson was one of The Eight, a group of Impressionist painters working in New York after the turn of the century. The painting at hand is an Impressionist work of a young girl in a forest.

When originally offered at Matheson’s the unusually large painting by Lawson seemed to be covered by a white film. The consensus in the room was the painting had been “skinned” by over zealous cleaning. The painting sold for $40,000 plus buyer’ premium and the buyer sent it to a restorer where the film was determined to be a discoloration of over varnish. The original buyer has now consigned the fully restored colorful painting to Matheson’s to be sold without reserve.

The sale will begin at 9:30AM Saturday March 29 and will continue at 11:00 AM Sunday March 30. Preview will be Friday March 28 from 11:00AM to 6:00PM, Saturday 8:30 – 9:30AM and Sunday 9:00 – 11:00AM. Matheson’s AA Auction is located at 600 E. New Haven Avenue in Melbourne, FL 32901. Seating for 180 can be reserved by phone, (321) 768-6668 or by email at Selected portions of the catalog are available for viewing on the Matheson’s AA Auction website at and at The auction will be called by 33 year veteran auctioneer and auction co-owner Lloyd J. Matheson, Jr. Phone and absentee bids are welcomed. For more information call auction owners Lloyd or Jan Matheson or Auction Manager Carey Lucas (321) 768-6668.

Written by:
Fred & Gail Taylor


This 14th century Ming Dynasty bottle with copper red underglaze was insured for $2,000,000 while on display at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

This 30in diameter Baccarat crystal and dore bronze centerpiece was made for and owned by Gen. Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico 1876-1911. It bears his seal.

This painting by Ernest Lawson sold for $40,000 plus buyer’s premium in unrestored condition two years ago. In professionally restored condition it will now be offered without reserve.

This 15th century Ming Dynasty Imperial Chinese blue and yellow saucer bears the Emperor Chengua mark of the period.

This life size Khmer Baphuon sculpture is from the 10th century.

An 18in tall porcelain and dore bronze vase is impressed “Boch” on the bottom.

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