Scott Reyburn reminds us on Bloomberg that while the art world was fixated on New York’s Contemporary sales, Chinese buyers were flooding into London to hoover up any and all of the works of art on offer there. Three auction houses sold $30 million in jade and porcelain. As usual, works with Imperial connections or on par with Imperial works were most prized. Wealthy Chinese have shown an impatience with the auction process:
At one point in Bonhams’s sale of the jade collection, a woman shouted “One hundred thousand!”, when the bidding on an 18th-century white jade box in the form of a magpie had reached just 30,000 pounds, said Sheaf in an e-mail. The piece went on to sell for 300,000 pounds.
“The Chinese like to buy at auction,” said the London- based dealer Ben Janssens in an interview. “They enjoy the competitive element.”
Despite no individual lot selling for more than 1 million pounds, the three auction houses all exceeded their presale estimates and the totals at the equivalent sales last year. “Compared to six months ago, when perhaps individual objects were representing a large proportion of a sale total, the results now show renewed buoyancy across all areas,” Robert Bradlow, Sotheby’s London-based director of Chinese ceramics and works of art, said in an e-mail.