Published: March 30, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — The four Asian art auctions at Bonhams during Asia Week New York achieved impressive results totaling $8.7 million. Bonhams’ three Asian art departments presented sales of distinct items from private collections and saw a community of international collectors vying for choice pieces throughout the week.
“The Asia Week auction results at Bonhams are proof that the Chinese market is vibrant and thriving, demonstrating a stability and sophistication in the market,” said Dessa Goddard, head of Asian art, Bonhams North America. “We are pleased to see the market remain robust and responsive at all price levels.”
The two Chinese art auctions realized close to $3.6 million, with a 15 percent increase in buyer registrations from last year. The auction saw a steady demand for jades. The top sale was a beautifully intricate and fine jade archaistic vase and cover from the Qianlong period that soared past its estimate and claimed $1,025,000, more than eight times its high estimate. The exceptionally pale green vase is a splendid example of the finest Qing jade production and attracted competitive bidding from seven collectors.
While a number of similarly impressive archaistic jade vases are known in private and museum collections, this vase demonstrates the infinite variety within a strict tradition achieved by Qing craftsmen. Other top jade lots that performed well above their estimates included an Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century pale green jade ruyi scepter at $125,000 and a green jade “peach and bat” brushwasher from the Eighteenth Century realizing $46,250.
A rare archaic bronze ritual food vessel from the Shang dynasty did exceptionally well, achieving $329,000. Vessels like this one, with high-quality casting and a pictogram, were extremely prized and reflect the importance of ancestral worship.
Snuff bottles by one of China’s leading artists of interior bottle-painting, Wang Xisan, were popular and brought in remarkable results. A rare inside-painted self-portrait crystal snuff bottle (1983) by Wang Xisan brought $40,000, eight times its high estimate. The auction saw six snuff bottles painted by Wang Xisan in its top selling lots, accompanied by superb porcelain and fine jade ones — all achieving two to three times their high sale estimates.
Other significant lots included a rare monumental bronze figure of Mahakasyapa, Ming dynasty, $305,000; a large and rare longquan celadon-glazed dish with lobed rim, Yuan/early Ming dynasty, Fourteenth/Fifteenth Century, $93,750; and a large blanc de chine figure of Guanyin, Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century, two Xu Yunlin seal marks and one Dehua seal mark, $62,500.
In Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art, notable lots sold were a thangka of Shakyamuni’s Parinirvana School of Choying Dorje from the late Seventeenth Century, which brought $389,000, as well as a magnificent gilt copper repoussé figure of a bodhisattva from Sixteenth Century Nepal, achieving $365,000.
The auction offered a strong section of Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture accompanied by choice Tibetan thangkas, Himalayan sculpture and Indian paintings – all of which achieved strong results bringing the sale total to more than $3.8 million.
Japanese works of art on March 16 were led by polychrome wood figures from the Fourteenth, Fifiteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The figure of Fudo Myo-o (Achala) from the Kamakura-Nanbokucho period fetched $75,000, which was matched at the same sale price by a pair of guardian figures from Muromachi period.
The sale saw a solid demand for woodblock prints from masters such as Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai. A set of 55 woodblock prints by Hiroshige sold for $68,750, far above its estimate. A long bidding match for an inlaid-iron tetsubin (kettle) from the Meiji era ensued, finally going for seven times its high estimate at $68,750.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.bonhams.com or 212-644-9001.
Sotheby’s Asia Week Sales Exceed $55 Million,
Reach High Estimate
NEW YORK CITY — Sotheby’s Asia Week New York lineup included six auctions during the March 10–20 period, realizing $52.5 million and led by a V.S. Gaitonde painting at $2.8 million.
Henry Howard-Sneyd, chairman, Asian arts, Americas and Europe, said, “Our Asia Week total of more than $52.5 million is at the top of presale expectations, proving that clients across the globe, particularly in Asia and the United States, remain actively engaged collecting the finest examples of Asian art. We tailored our offerings to the current climate, the result of which was exceptional prices across all six sales.”
The single-owner sale of the Reverend Richard Fabian collection of classical Chinese hardwood furniture kicked things off on March 15. A founder and rector of St Gregory’s of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco, Father Fabian also found time to pursue a burgeoning interest in Chinese art. He acquired his first piece of Chinese furniture, a pair of chairs, in 1974 from a small Connecticut antiques shop and the collection grew from there. The sale comprised 63 lots ranging in date from the late Ming to early Qing dynasty and in scale from a massive pair of huanghuali cabinets to small portable scholar’s objects.
The white glove sale totaled $5,521,655, led by a rare pair of huanghuali and huamu “Fu” character armchairs that sold for $1,210,000 to the Asian trade. Another pair of similar chairs went to an Asian private buyer at $910,000.
Producing the firm’s sales series top lot, the auction of Modern and contemporary South Asian art on March 15 totaled $8,185,375, led by the monumental untitled work by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde from 1960. Initially created as a commission for the Air India Building in Mumbai, it was instead purchased by eminent patron and artist, Bal Chhabda for his personal collection. The painting at 5913/16 by 1053/8 inches is perhaps the largest work that Gaitonde has ever created on canvas and symbolizes air, buoyancy and flight. It sold for $2,770,000 to an Indian private buyer.
Chinese art from Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts was an additional focus on March 15. The selection included Chinese works of art from the personal collection of Walter and Lucie Rosen, purchased in the 1920s–40s to furnish Rosen House in Katonah, N.Y., and their New York City townhouse on West 54th Street. These pieces were being sold to provide funding for the care of Rosen House at Caramoor, a performing arts venue founded by the Rosens in 1945. The 82-lot collection realized $2,360,177, led by a rare pair of gilt-bronze and paste-set lanterns, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, that was purchased by the Asian trade for $670,000.
Chinese art went up on March 16, totaling $22,613,552, above the high estimate. An Asian private buyer took a huanghuali side table, Qing dynasty, Eighteenth Century, for $1,450,000. A Yongzheng period yellow-ground “Buddhist Emblems” dish sold for $1,162,000, and a rare Tang dynasty sancai princess, offered as part of the collection of the late A. Alfred Taubman, was bid to $1,330,000.
Also on March 16, the sale of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian works of art, including a selection of Indian miniature paintings property from the estate of Dr Claus Virch, totaled $5,613,438. The top lot was a gilt-bronze group, Mongolia or Tibeto-Chinese, Eighteenth Century, depicting Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali, bringing $790,000.
Classical Chinese paintings and calligraphy on offer March 17 totaled $16,118,375, and the top lot was Zhao Zhiqian’s “Letters,” ink on paper, album of 61 leaves, which went to the Asian trade for $1,090,000.
Following the success of last year’s two Saturday at Sotheby’s sales, this season’s offering on March 19 included not only Indian, Himalayan, Southeast Asian, Japanese and Chinese works of art as before, but was expanded to include Korean works. The sale totaled $2,536,003, above its high estimate.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
Asia Week New York Rings Up
$130 Million In Total Sales
NEW YORK CITY — Asia Week New York —- the ten-day Asian art extravaganza that concluded on March 19 achieved $130 million in total sales.
From the minute the 45 international galleries of Asia Week New York opened their doors on March 10, a whirlwind of activities swept the city. The annual event was celebrated with a magnificent reception co-hosted with the Asian department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 14 when Thomas P. Campbell, the director of the Met, Mike Hearn, chair of the Asian art department, and Lark Mason, chairman of Asia Week New York, welcomed more than 650 collectors, curators and Asian art specialists. The event ignited excitement that burned for the entire week, and the Asian art world buzzed with exhibitions and auctions that were thronged with international buyers from mainland China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Korea, Europe and the United States.
“Despite concerns of the Chinese economy affecting Asia Week New York, the galleries saw steady traffic throughout the week, and the four major auction houses, including Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle and Sotheby’s, saw sales that were robust,” said Mason.
Mason reported that museum curators from all corners of the United States and the globe flooded Asia Week New York, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, The Art Institute of Chicago, Saint Louis Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Newark Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, San Antonio Art Museum, Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, Harvard University Art Museums and Indianapolis Art Museum.
Also included were Yale University Art Gallery, The Phillips Collection, Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, the Museum of the City of New York, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Philadelphia Museum, Detroit Institute of Art, Kimbell Art Museum, Worcester Art Museum, University of Michigan Museum, Cleveland Museum, Crow Collection in Dallas, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Princeton Art Museum, Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum, Norton Museum of Art, Asia Society Museum, Ackland Art Museum, China Institute, Toledo Museum, The Korea Society Gallery, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smart Museum and from abroad the British Museum of Art, Royal Ontario Museum and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.
Accolades came in from just about every quarter, as evidenced by the comments by the participating galleries. Chinese specialist Eric Zetterquist of his eponymous Zetterquist Galleries in New York commented, “We have had a very active Asia Week this year, with nonstop traffic throughout the ten days. I am particularly delighted to find that pessimism about the impact of the Chinese economy is completely unwarranted. We saw many Chinese collectors and dealers, who were active buyers. As with most years, I enjoyed visits with museum curators from all over the country, many of whom brought interested patrons. Sales were robust with still more to come, and several new clients are among the purchasers.”
“Asia Week New York 2016 was another strong year at Kapoor Galleries, with many museum curators, collectors and enthusiasts showing up throughout the ten-day event,” said Suneet Kapoor. “A sale of note was a very fine thangka of Arhat Bakula, a very large and powerful work, with beautiful detail on his robe and the various elements throughout, dating back to the Eighteenth Century.”
“We are delighted to report high attendance at our exhibition,” said James Lally of J.J. Lally & Co., another Chinese specialist, who reported that 80 percent of his exhibition was sold before the end of Asia Week. “The subject of our exhibition this year was very esoteric — ancient Chinese jade — but the response was very strong and we had many serious inquiries from American collectors and museums and we received many US collectors and curators, as well as visitors from Asia and around the world.”
“Ninety-five percent of our exhibited works sold before Asia Week’s end and nearly a month before the show closed,” said Joan Mirviss of her eponymous New York gallery Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the fervent reception of ‘A Palette for Genius: Japanese Water Jars for the Tea Ceremony.’ This was the first exhibition purely dedicated to showcasing the mizusashi, or water jar, even in Japan, and it was very gratifying to see how everyone responded to it.”
For additional information, www.asiaweeknewyork.com.
Christie’s Totes Up $37.2 Million
For Its Asian Art Week’s Eight Sales
NEW YORK CITY — Christie’s concluded its spring Asian Art Week with a combined total of $37,239,438 achieved over four days of eight sales, March 15–18.
On March 15, a painting of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi, Nepal, dated 1513, sold for $545,000. It was part of the Van der Wee collection of Himalayan paintings, which totaled $648,500.
The Lahiri collection of Indian and Himalayan art, ancient and modern, on March 15 totaled $2,376,500. It was led by a rare silver and copper inlaid bronze figure of Maitreya, Northeast India, Pala period, Twelfth Century, realized $341,000.
A total of $3,517,375 was recorded for Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian works of art on March 16. The top lot for the sale was a sandstone relief of Durga Mahishasuramardini, India, Gujarapratihara or Madhya Pradesh, late Eighth/early Ninth Century at $725,000.
The Ruth and Carl Barron collection of Chinese snuff bottles: Part II, on March 16, totaled $989,750 and was led by a yellow jade snuff bottle at $62,500.
Wang Duo’s (1592–1652) “Cursive Script After Wang Xianzhi,” hanging scroll, ink on satin, topped the March 16 sale of Chinese paintings, going out at $881,000. The auction totaled $5,236,875.
Fetching $485,000 to lead the March 17 sale of Dongxi Studio’s private collection of Chinese jade and hardstone carvings was a pale greenish-white jade carving of quince, Qianlong period (1736–1795). The sale totaled $3,729,812.
The Ian and Susan Wilson collection of scholar’s objects was offered on March 17. At a $2,243,625 total, the highest selling lot Liu Dan’s (b 1953) “Tai Hu Stone” brought $269,000.
The sale series concluded on March 18 with Chinese ceramics and works of art. Totaling $2,853,000, the sale — as well as the week — was led by a large cast and repoussé gilt-bronze figure of 11-headed Avalokiteshvara at $2,853,000.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 212-636-2000 or www.christies.com.
Doyle’s Asian Works Of Art
Auction Totals $993,594
NEW YORK CITY — Competitive international bidding drove strong prices for Chinese and Japanese works of art at Doyle’s Asian works of art auction on March 14. The competition came from bidders participating in the salesroom, on the telephone, and live on the Internet. The sale comprised more than 350 lots showcasing the arts of China, Japan and Southeast Asia from the Neolithic period through the Twentieth Century. Offerings included porcelain, jades, scholars’ objects, furniture, bronzes, screens and paintings.
With competitive bidding, the sale totaled $993,594 with 72 percent sold by lot and 76 percent by value.
Highlighting the sale was a Japanese Meiji period cloisonné enamel vase signed Kyoto Namikawa (workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, 1845–1927). Measuring 57/8 inches in height, the graceful vase captured the attention of bidders, who sent the price soaring past the estimate of $6/8,000 to achieve a stunning $59,375.
Chinese works of art featured a Qing dynasty white jade plaque of double gourd shape and measuring 3 inches in height. It was carved on each side with panels of calligraphy and scenes of a scholar on rockwork and a man kneeling on a sampan along a river bank. Estimated at $8/10,000, the plaque fetched a surprisingly strong $56,250. A Qing dynasty white jade bow of quatrelobed design carved with blossoming prunus branches and measuring 5 inches in length sold for $43,750, well over its $20/30,000 estimate.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
Consignments are currently being accepted for Doyle’s September Asian works of art sale. For information, 212-427-4141 or www.doyle.com.
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