Sotheby’s Asia Week surpasses estimated auction sales


The bi-annual Asia Week auctions held at Sotheby’s New York last week (9th – 14th September), have surpassed the series’ higher estimate of $33.7 million, fetching a total of $37.4 million. According to the Sotheby’s report, the sales of Asian art in September are up by 10.3% from 2018.  

More than 900 works across seven auctions, spanning 4,000 years, went under the hammer. The week was underscored by a selection of art gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by affluent collectors Florence and Herbert Irving and a handscroll in cursive script by Zhu Yumming, which achieved $1.6 million as the top selling lot of the week.

Angela McAteer, Sotheby’s head of Chinese Works of Art, New York, said: “We saw robust bidding on Chinese art on offer from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ancient art from the esteemed collection of Stephen Junkunc III, and works from a Pennsylvania culture institution.”

One of the seven auctions, ‘Chinese Art from The Met’ – a dedicated single-owner sale – surpassed its high estimate of $3.8 million more than twice, at $8.3 million, with an unusual 91.3% of all lots sold. The auction was led by a ‘Massive Spinach-Green Jade Dragon washer’, a washing bowl, taken home for $1.3 million – eight times its high estimate. This, in addition to a sequence in Saturday at Sotheby’s: Asian Art Featuring Chinese Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Florence and Herbert Irving Gift, sold for $11.1 million.  

‘A Massive Spinach-Green Jade ‘Dragon’ Washer’
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Junkunc: Arts of Ancient China II returned after its success in March 2019 – at Sotheby’s – achieving $4.6 million. Works from the Junkunc Collection have raised more than $11 million at Sotheby’s this year and over $22.3 million across the its 2018 and 2019 Asia Week auctions.

Finally, the seasonal sale of Chinese Works of Art, featuring work from the Neolithic to the Republic periods, also fetched a total of $10.3 million.