Sotheby’s sales of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art have concluded, bringing the overall total for the series of auctions to $71,320,518 (est. $17.5/25.1 million), the highest total ever achieved anywhere in New York. All three auctions exceeded their estimates and competitive bidding was seen across all categories and periods. The sales followed an energetic exhibition period packed with collectors from the United States, Europe and Asia.
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art from J.T. Tai & Co. – 22 March 2011
Sotheby’s Asia Week auctions began with the much anticipated sale of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art from J.T. Tai & Co. The auction brought a stunning total of $36,312,493 and was nearly 94% sold by lot. The sale of more than 300 lots took over nine hours, with multiple bidders in the room, on the phones and online competing for nearly every lot. The sale was led by An Unusual ‘Famille Rose’ and Gold Decorated Vase, Probably Republican Period, which sold for $18,002,500, having been estimated at $800/1,200. The vase was catalogued as ‘Probably Republican’ (early 20th century) and the estimate reflected this dating. There was a healthy debate surrounding the age of the piece, with a number of collectors clearly feeling it was significantly earlier. In the end, more than seven bidders competed for the vase, which finally sold to an anonymous bidder on the telephone. Among the other exceptional prices was A Fine And Rare Blue And White Bowl Ming Dynasty, Yongle Period which sold for $1,594,500 (est. $800,000/1.2 million), A ‘Famille-Rose’ Vase, Republican Period which fetched $1,314,500 (est. $6/8,000) and An Archaistic Yellow Jade Ornament With Hinged Twin Discs Qing Dynasty which brought $434,500 (est. $10/15,000).
Harmony of Form, Serenity of Color: A Private Collection of ‘Song’ Ceramics – 23 March 2011
The second single owner collection of the series, Harmony of Form, Serenity of Color: A Private Collection of ‘Song’ Ceramics, achieved a total of $9,039,375, comfortably exceeding the $4.7/6.8 million estimate. The sale was led by A Rare Imperial Numbered ‘Jun’ Narcissus Bowl, Early Ming Dynasty which sold for $2,210,500, many multiples of the $200/300,000 estimate. A Very Fine Carved ‘Ding’ ‘Peony’ Dish, Northern Song Dynasty fetched $866,500, comfortably exceeding the $500/700,000 estimate and A Rare Molded ‘Ding’ Basin, Jin Dynasty made $506,500, again surpassing the $120/160,000 estimate by a considerable margin.
Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art – 23 March 2011
The various owner sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art achieved a total of $25,968,650 (est. $9.2/13.1 million), Sotheby’s highest total in this category since the March 2007 sale which included highlights from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The sale was led by A Fine Pair of ‘Huanghuali’ Yokeback Armchairs (Guanmao Yi), 17th Century which sold for $2,770,500, several times the $200/300,000 estimate. The highlight of the paintings in the sale was An Important Imperial Nian Rebellion Battle Painting Qing Dynasty, Guangxu Period which was fought after by five bidders before selling for $1,986,500, well over the estimate of $800,000/1.2 million. A strong group of jades included A Rare Imperially Inscribed Celadon Jade Archaistic Vessel And Cover (Yi), Qianlong Fanggu Mark And Period from the Collection of Robert Tod which sold for $1,650,500 several times the $70/90,000 estimate. The porcelain in the sale was led by A Rare ‘FamilleRose’ Reticulated Revolving Vase, Qianlong Seal Mark and Period which sold for $1,202,500, well over the $400/500,000 estimate.
Sotheby’s upcoming Hong Kong sales begin on 1 April 2011 and will be led by two evening auctions — The Meiyintang Collection – An Important Selection of Imperial Chinese Porcelains and The Ullens Collection – The Nascence of Avant-Garde China.
Image: A Rare ‘Famille-Rose’ Reticulated Revolving Vase Qianlong Seal Mark and Period, height 8 ¼ in., 21 cm. Sold for $1,202,500, well over the $400/500,000 estimate. Photo: Sotheby´s.