Published: September 12, 2017
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Despite years of fluctuations and volatility in the Asian art market, Eldred’s has steadfastly conducted a weeklong series of Asian art auctions each August, this year celebrating its 50th annual Asian Art Week.
More than 1,700 lots crossed the block over five days of auction sessions August 22-26 at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis, Mass., highlighted by important woodblock prints by Kawase Hasui and Paul Jacoulet, as well as items from the estate of noted collector Suzanne H. Foster.
“What strikes me is not that our 50th annual sale was markedly different than in years past, but that Eldred’s has enjoyed 50 years of building relationships,” said John Schofield, the firm’s president emeritus and its longtime director of the Asian art department. “As a benefit of that longevity, many of the items in this year’s sales came from private collectors, like Suzanne Foster, who have been customers of Eldred’s for many, many years.”
New-to-market material from private collections were the top earners across the week of sales, which included a two-day Japanese art auction, a Prints of Paul Jacoulet auction and a three-day Asian art auction.
The Japanese sale was highlighted by a Kawase Hasui woodblock print, “Tennoji Temple in Osaka,” which sold for $9,000, far surpassing its $1,800/2,200 estimate. “The Japanese prints were generally well received,” Schofield said. Another Kawase Hasui, “Full Moon at Magome,” garnered $1,800 and “Woman with Hand Towel” by Hashiguchi Goyo brought $3,900. Other top lots from the sale include a netsuke by Hojitsu in the form of a man wresting an octopus, which went over estimate for $3,120, and a Nineteenth Century gold ojime that also bested its estimate at $2,040.
The Prints of Paul Jacoulet auction saw strong results across the board, with the sale totaling more than 30 percent over low estimate. “I’m thrilled. Ecstatic. Very happy,” said Susan Craig Schofield, director of Jacoulet prints at Eldred’s. “Some of the prints exceeded prices realized at the height of the market.”
Eldred’s conducted its first auction of the Prints of Paul Jacoulet in 1975; it was the first auction solely dedicated to Jacoulet’s prints, and, to this day, Eldred’s is the only auction house to offer dedicated Jacoulet sales. At the height of their collectibility in the early 1990s, Jacoulet prints sold for upward of $20,000, with one print, “The Parisian Lady,” fetching $25,000 in 1992.
Top sellers in this year’s sale include “La Confidente,” depicting two Manchurian princesses, which sold for $5,100 on a $1,5/2,500 estimate, and “La Gerbe d’Anthurium,” depicting a woman holding bouquet of calla lilies, which made $3,900 on a $2/3,000 estimate. Four prints from the “Rainbow” series, all depicting women in colorful dress, performed especially well, selling for a combined $4,750, almost three times over estimate.
Many of the 87 lots in this year’s sale originated from a private collection and were rare examples in excellent condition, Craig Schofield said. In addition to the rarity and condition of the prints, she also attributed some of the impressive prices realized to competitive bidding by a number of new collectors bidding at Eldred’s for the first time.
Jacoulet, who was born in Paris but lived most of his life in Japan, is known for being the first Western artists considered a master of ukiyo-e, the main artistic genre of Japanese woodblock prints. Jacoulet created about 150 different prints, the majority of which depict the indigenous peoples of Southeastern Asia.
The Asian art auction began with 300 lots from the estate of Suzanne H. Foster, who began collecting Chinese art when she was just a young girl. In addition to owning her own gallery in California, she was a board of trustees member at the Pacific Asia Museum and author of Chinese Jade: The Image from Within.
Notable items from the collection included a painting on silk from the School of Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining) depicting an imperial hunting dog, which fetched $11,400 against a $4/6,000 estimate, a brass box with inset jade panels, which brought $3,900 on an $800-$1,200 estimate, and an Eighteenth Century purple glaze vase, which garnered $3,360 on a $1/2,000 estimate. The collection, which also included textiles, jewelry, furniture, snuff bottles and books, went over high estimate, with 94 percent of lots selling.
Other top earners from the Asian art auction include an Eighteenth Century cloisonné enamel vase from the collection of Stanley Charles Nott, which performed well at $10,200, and a gray-green jade bowl from the Troubetzkoy Foundation Collection selling within estimate for $9,600. Two green dragon plates and an imperial yellow porcelain bowl with period Jiaqing mark, all from private collections, soared over conservative estimates to sell for a combined $14,220. A Xuande period sunspot bronze censer from the Arthur Kay Collection sold for $7,200, nearly five times its estimate.
“The Foster collection did very well, and the Jacoulets did better than they have in a number of years,” Craig Schofield said. “There has been some softness in the Asian market over the past few years. It slipped a bit, but now seems to be coming back a little.”
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
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