Sotheby’s Finishes Asia Week
Art market watchers were amazed at the strength of the Hirst sale in the midst of the Lehman bankruptcy and AIG bailout. But Sotheby’s Hong Kong Asia Week sales stepped right in front of the freight train of a global financial pile up. The total for the week was $141 million down from $227 million the season before and $200 million a year earlier.
Here’s Bloomberg on the positive news from the sale:
Nearly half the auction’s takings came from its Chinese ceramics and antiques sale today. A Chinese imperial scroll that shows the Emperor Qianlong leading 16,000 troops fetched a HK$67.9 million, a record for a Qing Dynasty imperial painting. The 15.5-meter Dayue Tu is one of four scrolls commissioned by Qianlong in 1746 to show his military might. Eight imperial jade seals from the Emile Guimet collection totaled HK$165 million, including one bearing Qianlong’s name that set a HK$64 million record for white jade.
“These items are in a class of their own, against which there’s no benchmark,” said Lu Feifei, who bought Qianlong’s jade-hilted saber-and-scabbard for HK$59 million and his parade armor for HK$14 million at the sale, on behalf of Chinese clients. “They are worth the huge prices they command.”
“This was a good auction,” said Tian. “The timing’s awful but there’s not much one can do about that.”
Reuters has this comment:
“When it comes to certain high value pictures, maybe our sellers have been a little over-optimistic with estimates and certainly in a category which has gone up so many times in the last few years. It is only normal,” Patti Wong, Sotheby’s Asia Chairman told Reuters.
“While we didn’t reach our series’ low estimate, this is the third highest sales total ever achieved for Sotheby’s Hong Kong.”
Chinese Art Sales Weak in HK Auction (Reuters)