Tuesday, November 16, 2010

At the Auctions - What's Hot

Although a number of auction records have been set in the past several months, clearly Chinese art has been, is , and will be hot. This may be saying something more about the growth of the Chinese economy rather than acting as an indicator of a worldwide recovery.

1. LONDON (AP).- It was just an old Chinese vase that had been in the family for 80 years. It turned out to be much more. When the intricately painted 18th-century piece went on the block at Bainbridges, a small suburban London auction house, it sold for a record $83 million Thursday, scooped up by a Chinese buyer. "How do you anticipate the Chinese market?" asked the shocked auctioneer, Peter Bainbridge. "It's totally on fire." The sale price was more than 40 times the pre-sale estimate and a record for a Chinese work of art — an outcome Bainbridge called "a fairy tale" for the family who owned the vase.

2.  LONDON.- In the wake of Sotheby’s record-breaking Autumn sales series in Hong Kong, which totalled over HK$3 billion, Sotheby’s biannual sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art in London will take place on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 and presents for sale over 350 lots. The auction, estimated to realise approximately £5.76 million, will be headlined by a Magnificent Blue and White 'Peony' Jar, Guan, Yuan Dynasty, mid 14th century. A magnificent Blue and White ‘Peony’ Jar, Guan, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) comes to auction from a Private Portuguese Collection, with an estimate of £400,000-600,000 (lot 32, illustrated on catalogue cover). Blue and white wares are undoubtedly one of the greatest contributions to the art of ceramics in history. In shape, design and painting style, the present vessel is an archetypal example of the 14th century blue and white porcelain

3.  LONDON.- A new record has been set for any single print sold at auction with the sale of Pablo Picasso’s La Minotauromachie for £1,273,250 / $1,987,416 at Sotheby’s in London . The print eclipsed the pre-sale high estimate of £600,000 (the estimate was £400,000-600,000). Discussing the sale, James Mackie, Sotheby’s Prints specialist, said: “A new record has been set for any single print sold at auction with the sale of Pablo Picasso’s La Minotauromachie for £1,273,250. Pablo Picasso was the most important and innovative printmaker of the Modern period and he has been credited with the creation of some of the most significant works in the medium’s five-hundred-year history. La Minotauromachie is considered to be the artist’s masterpiece of printmaking. It reflects key themes of the artist and demonstrates a mastery of technique that is unsurpassed.

4. NEW YORK, NY.- In a sign that fine art collectors are growing ever more comfortable with bidding online, Christie’s International reports that the top lot in Thursday’s sale of The Sze Yuan Tang Archaic Bronzes from the Anthony Hardy Collection sold for $3.3 million to an online bidder, setting a new house record for the most expensive item sold online. The sale price smashed the previous Christie’s online sales of $1.27 million, set in April 2008 for a Stradavari violin purchased online using Christie’s LIVE™, the company’s proprietary online bidding platform. The new record of $3.3 million was set by an American collector who competed against bidders in the saleroom and on the phone to win the rare Chinese bronze wine vessel Fangyi, from the late Shang dynasty.

5. NEW YORK - Christies auction house - The top lot of Christie's 10 November Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York was Roy Lichtenstein's Pop Art masterpiece Ohhh...Alright... which achieved $42,642,500, establishing a new world auction record for the artist. Painted in 1964 using his signature Ben-Day dots, Lichtenstein’s image of a blue-eyed, flame haired beauty illustrates the brash comic styling of the artist’s most celebrated period of artistic production. (RT: 1:52)

 6. HONG KONG - Asian buyers dominated as Sotheby’s kicked off its week of Hong Kong sales with an auction of contemporary and modern art. “Chapter of a New Century – Birth of the People’s Republic of China II,” a painting of a baby by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, led the way with a price of $6.9 million, a record for the artist. The winning bidder reportedly represented a Shanghai museum. While just 77% of the 485 lots found buyers, a number of other works sold above estimates, including Zeng Fanzhi’s 1994 “Mark Series No.5,”($2.18 million), and Cai Guo-Qiang’s screen “Man, Eagle and Eye in the Sky:People ($1.53 million). In another session, Indonesian works dominated Sotheby’s auction of modern and contemporary Southest Asian art. The highest priced lot  was S. Sudjojono’s 1956 “A New Dawn,” which sold for 1.38 million, more than four times its highest estimate.

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