Sotheby’s Asian Art Sales Totals $74 Million
NEW YORK CITY — The week of Asian art sales at Sotheby’s concluded on September 19, bringing a total of $74,077,814, more than doubling the combined low estimate ($30/43 million). There were excellent results in all sales with strong prices for 2,000 years of Asian art spanning from Archaic Chinese Bronzes to Modern Indian paintings. The highest price of the week’s sales in New York was realized when the Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy by Su Shi, one of the towering figures of early Chinese history, sold for $8,229,000
Collectors keenly competed for masterpieces with the Julius Eberhardt collection of Chinese bronzes, a pair of Tang dynasty horses and Bhupen Khakhar’s “American Survey Officer,” all of which significantly exceeded their high estimates.
Ritual bronzes from the collection of Julius Eberhardt totaled $16,786,000, with 100 percent sold and the top lot, a ritual bronze food vessel Zuo Bao Yi Gui, early Western Zhou dynasty, Eleventh–Tenth Century BC, which sold for $6,661,000.
The sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art totaled $22,711,064, with 78 percent sold. The top lot was a pair of sancai-glazed pottery horses, Tang dynasty, realizing $4,197,000.
A total of $3,261,375 was achieved for Modern and contemporary South Asian art. Here the top lot was “American Survey Officer” by Bhupen Khakhar’s, which finished at $401,000. Six bidders fought for the painting, which after a prolonged battle, sold for almost double its presale high estimate.
Estimated in the region of $1 million, the Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy, sold for more than eight times that amount in the sale of classical Chinese paintings and calligraphy. The overall sale totaled $31,319,375, with 84 percent sold.
Rongde Zhang, head of Sotheby’s Chinese classical paintings department in New York, said, “I am delighted to begin my time at Sotheby’s with this $31.4 million auction. The sale of the Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy for $8.2 million will be remembered as a landmark in this auction category. Six collectors from the United States and different parts of Asia competed for the piece, demonstrating the amazing power of Su Shi nearly 1,000 years after his life.
The extraordinary eight-hour sale was marked by strong prices for artists across this diverse and wonderful field with Bada Shanren, Zhang Daqian, and many others achieving multiples of the estimates. Calligraphy was also increasingly in demand with collectors driving prices for Fifteenth Century poems and letters by the likes of Zhang Jun, Zhu Yunming and Wu Kuan far beyond the top estimates.”
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.sothebys.com or 212-606-7000.
Christie’s Asian Art Week Sales Total $71.6 Million
NEW YORK CITY — Christie’s concluded its fall Asian Art Week with a combined total of $71,609,313, achieved over four days of eight sales, September 17–20.
Jonathan Stone, chairman and international head, Asian art, said, “The consistently high sold-through rates were a feature of Christie’s Asian Art Week, notably the sale of archaic bronzes from a distinguished private collection, which was 100 percent-sold, the Lizzadro collection, the fine Chinese ceramics and works of art sales and also the Supratik Bose collection, setting the platform for Christie’s first sale in India on December 19.
“The relaunch and interest stimulated around Chinese paintings at Christie’s New York was well-received by the market. The strong results achieved for the week set the stage for Christie’s first auction in mainland China on September 26, a great milestone in the company’s history.”
The collection of Supratik Bose totaled $2,927,000, with 96 percent sold by lot and 99 percent by value. Top lots was Abanindranath Tagore’s untitled (Siva-Simantini), which realized $555,750, a world auction record for the artist.
South Asian Modern and contemporary art totaled $5,096,125, with 62 percent sold by lot, 67 percent by value. The sale was led by Syed Haider Raza’s “Italian Village,” which fetched $723,750.
A total of $9,220,750 was posted for the Indian and Southeast Asian art sale, with 70 percent sold by lot and 75 percent by value. A bronze figure pf Parvati, India, Chola period, circa 1100, topped the sale, bringing $963,750.
Japanese and Korean art totaled $5,201,438, with 59 percent sold by lot, 63 percent by value. Top lot was a blue and white jar with tigers executed in the Eighteenth Century; it finished at $939,750.
The $10,901,250 Chinese paintings sale was led by Shen Zhou’s “Mountains in Autumn,” which achieved $1,803,750.
The total for the sale of Chinese archaic bronzes from a private collection was $6,269,000, with 100 percent sold by both lot and value. A rare bronze ritual wine vessel and cover, Fangyi, late Shang dynasty, Eleventh Century BC, led the sale at $2,363,750.
Part II of the Lizzadro collection came in with a $3,742,250 total, 98 percent by lot, 99 percent by value. Top lot was a white jade shaped rectangular pendant plaque, Eighteenth Century, which was bid to $231,750.
Finally, a rare large famille rose turquoise-ground bottle vase, Tianqiuping Qianlong seal mark in iron red and of the period (1736–1795) led the sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art. It realized $1,683,750 in the sale that totaled $28,251,500 and was 87 percent sold by lot, 93 percent by value.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.christies.com or 212-636-2000.
White Jade Ewer Achieves $2.85 Million At Doyle
NEW YORK CITY — Doyle’s Asian works of art auction on September 16 attracted strong competition from an international audience of bidders in the salesroom, on the telephones and live on the Internet. The auction offered more than 400 lots showcasing the arts of China, Japan and Southeast Asia from the Neolithic period through the Twentieth Century. Offerings included porcelain and pottery, jades, scholar’s objects, bronzes, screens, furniture and paintings.
Highlighting the sale was property from the estate of Luz Papasian (1915–2013), which comprised 90 lots in the sale. Chinese jade from the estate featured an Eighteenth Century white jade ewer carved in the form of a phoenix, 7½ inches high, that achieved a staggering $2,853,000. An ink on paper painting depicting a horse by Xu Beihong (Chinese, 1895–1953) fetched $605,000. The selection of Chinese huanghuali furniture from the estate offered a Seventeenth Century trestle-leg table and an Eighteenth Century marble inlaid table that each sold for the identical amount of $455,000.
Born into a prominent Guatemalan family and the daughter of a diplomat, the former Luz Figueroa was the wife of Aram Papasian (1906–1994). Papasian was born in Istanbul, Turkey, to a family of Armenian descent. He was a successful businessman in the Asian textile trade, and the couple made their home on Manhattan’s East Side. Some of the proceeds from the sale of the estate of Luz Papasian will benefit a variety of religious charities.
Chinese furniture from other collections and estates featured a large, elaborately carved table of precious zitan that achieved $365,000. The table was modeled after a Qianlong period example in the collection of Beijing’s Palace Museum.
Chinese porcelain featured a pair of Chinese blue and white glazed porcelain jars with the Yongzheng six-character mark and of the period, 4¼ inches high, that sold for $185,000. The vases had been purchased in 1933 in China by a Danish collector in service to the Danish government, and they were later acquired by the commander of the Royal Danish Navy.
The selection of bronzes was highlighted by a diminutive Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century Tibetan gilt-bronze figure of Virupa seated on a lotus base, 4¼ inches high, that fetched $112,500.
With international competitive bidding, the sale totaled $8,106,063, far surpassing the presale estimate of $1.3/2 million, with 76 percent sold by lot and 96 percent by value.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 212-427-2730 or www.DoyleNewYork.com.
Asian Art Exceeds High Expectations At Bonhams
NEW YORK CITY — In a series of auctions conducted September 16-18, Bonhams offered Chinese art from the scholar’s studio, the James A. Rose Collection of netsuke and sagemono and Indian, Himalayan and South East Asian art in auctions that excelled at all levels, with multiple items exceeding estimates.
In the first auction, a fine and rare gilt bronze figure of Shadakshari Lokeshvara from the Yongle period sold September 16 for $1,370,500 at the Chinese art from the scholar’s studio auction, realizing more than six times its estimate. The Fifteenth Century figure was produced by the imperial workshops, to be brought to Tibet during one of the multiple missions made from the Chinese capital to the region between 1408 and 1419.
The auction was sold at 85 percent by lot, achieving $4,665,000. Attendees filled the gallery while clients abroad representing more than a dozen countries participated live online and via telephone.
The market for huanghuali furniture continued to be buoyant. An elegant Eighteenth Century recessed leg table brought $362,500, more than tripling its estimate, while a fine Seventeenth Century square table with a carved bamboo motif soared past its estimate to sell for $206,500.
A rare and important cast bronze incense burner and cover in the shape of a goose from the Ming dynasty achieved $326,500. The finely cast fowl is a unique example of its type retaining its finely fashioned lotus-form base.
Both classical and Twentieth Century Chinese paintings also performed well. Once again Qi Baishi (1863–1957) proved to be popular, and his composition, “Chicks,” was the section's top lot, achieving $122,500. Wu Zouren’s (1908–1997) “Camels,” quadrupled its estimate to sell for $98,500.
A 5-inch tall ivory netsuke of a Chinese court noble was the top lot at the September 17 auction of the James A. Rose Collection of netsuke and sagemono. An elegant netsuke, hailing from Eighteenth Century Kyoto or Osaka, sold for $86,500 after a lengthy bidding war.
The Rose collection performed well overall, selling at 96 percent by lot. International media was in attendance as bidders from nearly two dozen countries participated live online and via telephone. Attendees took home the majority of the top lots.
Dr Rose had an affinity for large, figural netsuke from Edo-period Kyoto. Additional highlights in this style included an ivory netsuke of Ryujin holding a tama, which sold for $50,000. A large wood netsuke of a sumo wrestler more than tripled its estimate, achieving $40,000.
Auction highlights in the form of animals included a wood netsuke of a rat with a chestnut by Mitani Goho that soared past its high estimate to realize $50,000.
The Rose collection was followed by the afternoon session of fine Japanese works of art with prints of all types offered from various owners. A print of strolling courtesans by Utamaro sold for $20,000, while a Munkata Shiko (1903–1995) woodblock print of one of the 10 disciples of Buddha achieved $27,500.
Additional highlights from the fine Japanese auction included a boldly painted lacquer screen by Morita Shiryu (1912-1998) executed in 1967, which realized $86,500.
Then on September 18, gilt bronze figurative sculpture dominated the diverse offerings in the Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art auction, claiming seven of the top ten spots.
Examples from China, Nepal and Tibet all proved popular, ranging in date from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth Century. Bidders in more than two dozen countries participated, with the Middle East, China, South East Asia, the UK and the US all well represented.
The auction's top lot was a seated bronze figure of Marichi, a goddess whose name means “ray of light,” cast in Eighteenth Century Qing Dynasty China. Coming from a private Canadian collection, the transcendent sculpture reached $254,500 after a lengthy bidding war. Another Chinese example from a private American collection, a Qianlong period standing bronze Buddha, achieved more than 10 times its estimate when it realized $158,500.
Other sculpture that performed well included a powerful figure of Yama Dhamaraja and Chamundi, or the Lord of Death with his consort, astride a superbly modeled angry buffalo from the Seventeenth/Eighteenth Century. The trio, adorned with skulls and snakes, are together crushing a prostrate human on a lotus platform. Coming from a private Northern California collection, the sculpture sold for 20 times its estimate, bringing $242,500.
Serving as a counter balance was a jewel-like and meditative Tibetan bronze of Lobzang Gyatso, or Great Fifth Dalai Lama. This naturalistic Eighteenth Century example had been in a private New England collection for over 30 years, and achieved $206,500.
Additional highlights included a circa Third Century schist figure of Maitreya from the ancient region of Gandhara that sold for $80,500, and a late Eighteenth Century illustration to the Bhagavata Purana attributable to Fattu that realized $74,500.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For more information, www.Bonhams.com or 212-644-9001.