The growing popularity of Chinese art was evident at Asia Week New York last week with Sotheby’s sale of Wang Shouren’s poem, ‘Parting At The Ye River’ in cursive script, for $2,045,000 – far in excess of its estimate of $60-80,000.
Rongde Zhang, head of Sotheby’s Chinese classical paintings department in New York, said: “Throughout our sale we saw collectors go to great lengths to pursue the rarest pieces, often sending prices far in excess of the high estimate. There was tremendous pre-sale interest in the album of poetry by Wang Shouren but the $2 million price was still a wonderful surprise.”
Henry Howard-Sneyd, Sotheby’s vice chairman, Asian art and the lead auctioneer, said that there was consistent bidding throughout the auction house’s five sales with a strong sell through rate and an overall sold-by-value rate of 80% driven by collectors from throughout Asia, the US, and Europe doggedly pursuing the rarest objects often to prices several times the high estimates.
“Asia Week New York is now firmly established as a major event in the global art world calendar,” he said. “Following Sotheby’s best ever year for Asian Art auctions in New York in 2013, our week of sales totalled $56,145,252 a solid increase on last March.”
Christie’s concluded Asia Week with a combined total of $72,114,126 achieved over four days of eight sales, from March 18-21.
Jonathan Stone, Chairman and International Head of Asian Arts, said: “We had a historic week at Christie’s, with sales of many private collections of Asian art from antiquity through to the modern world. An especial highlight of the week was the Sublime and the Beautiful: Asian Masterpieces of Devotion, a unique offering of iconic works of art from Asia’s great religions.
“This sale, and indeed all the sales of the week, were beautifully presented and the global community of collectors responded with demonstrable enthusiasm. The continuing strength of the market for Asian was again confirmed. We were also honored to have facilitated the private sale of the ‘Min’ Fanglei to a group of private Chinese collectors for donation to the Hunan Provincial Museum.”