Dealers and auction houses report a combined $25m more than last year
By Charlotte Burns. Web only
Published online: 02 April 2014
J.J. Lally & Co gallery sold most of the 25 Chinese archaic jades it showed
The numbers are in and according to dealers and auction houses, around $200m was spent during Asia Week New York last month—$25m more than the 2013 total. Spending was fuelled by an increase in the number of Chinese buyers as well as a strong showing by American museum curators and patrons.
The nine-day umbrella event featured special exhibitions by 47 galleries as well as 19 sales at four auction houses, with works on show ranging from archaic Chinese bronzes to contemporary Indian painting. A special reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 17 March was attended by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and more than 600 collectors, curators and Asian art specialists.
“The results achieved during Asia Week were beyond satisfactory. I am glad to say that we had more collectors from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong than ever before, in every category and at every level,” says James Lally of J.J. Lally & Co gallery. The gallery’s sales included most of the 25 Chinese archaic jades it had acquired from a New York collector. The jades date from the Neolithic period (around 2,000BC) to the Han dynasty (206BC– AD220) and ranged in price from $4,000 to $40,000.
The auction houses trumped their considerable success as well. Christie’s struck a private deal with a group of Chinese collectors who bought the ‘Min’ Fanglei for an undisclosed amount, with the intention of donating it the Hunan museum. The bronze ritual wine vessel, which dates from the late Shang or early Western Zhou dynasty in the 12th or 11th century BC, previously sold at Christie’s in 2001 for $9.2m—setting a record for any archaic Chinese bronze sold at auction.
Christie’s made $72m in its eight public sales, while Sotheby’s totalled $56.1m across its five auctions. Sotheby’s also staged a selling exhibition of contemporary Chinese ink paintings, “Shiumo/Water Ink”, which included bawdy works from Li Jin’s “St Patrick’s Day” series—an unlikely but timely subject considering the show was open during the popular holiday on 17 March.