Asian Decorative Arts Fever at iGavel – artmarketblog.com
Recent results from auctions of Asian art conducted by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong show that there is high demand for modern and contemporary Asian art and that there are plenty of Asian buyers with plenty of money to spend. Also proving popular are Asian decorative arts, Asian antique decorative cultural objects and ethnographic works of art, the best of which are in very high demand at the moment as is evident by the success achieved by iGavel (http://www.igavel.com) with their recent online auctions of such items. In fact, the prices being achieved by iGavel are astonishing. Take, for instance, an auction conducted by iGavel in March where a pair of large Chinese porcelain panels sold for US$16,000 (hammer price) against an estimate of US$500-$1000 and a Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze buddha made US$11,000 against an estimate of US$500.00 to 800.00. In April, an Antiques, Asian & Tribal auction produced even more astounding results with one of the top lots, a Chinese 17th/18th c. parcel gilt & polychromed iron seated figure of an immortal, selling for US$38,500 after 44 bids against an estimate of US$5000-7000. Also selling for many times their estimates were:
– A Chinese gilt decorated archaic style bronze water buffalo-form incense burner which sold for US$28,000 against an estimate of US$1000-1500
– A Chinese carved pale green jade teapot circa 18th which sold for US$19,900 against an estimate of US$3000-5000
The May Asian, Ancient and Ethnographic Works of Art sale saw iGavel raise the bar even higher when a record price of US$105,010 (US$126,012.00 including premium) against an estimate of $80,000-$120,000 was paid for an amazing recently rediscovered Chinese 18th c. imperial bamboo brushpot that had been mounted as a lamp. Fierce competition saw the starting price of $7500 rapidly rise with a total of 51 bids being taken before a new buyer was found. Lark Mason, the founder of iGavel and an Asian art expert, was responsible for the identification of the brushpot which depicts the cultivation of cotton. It took 40 bids to decide a new owner for a modern gilt bronze figure of Maitreya which sold for US$21,000 against an estimate of US$3000-5000 and 21 bids for a Chinese 18th/19th c. White Jade Figure of Buddha, formerly of the Pan-Asian Collection, which reached US$13,500 against an estimate of US$2000-3000. Other exception results included:
-A set of ten modern Chinese celadon jade zodiac figures which sold for US$10,000 against an estimate of US$700-$900
-A 19th c. Chinese porcelain flambe glazed bottle vase which sold for US$8610 against an estimate of US$800-$1200
-A 20th C. Chinese spinach jade tripod censer and cover which sold for US$6500 against an estimate of US$500-$800
-A 20th C. Chinese carved green jade vase and cover which sold for US$5000 against an estimate of US$400-$600
According to iGavel, mainland Chinese buyers dominated the bidding which suggests that there is a high demand in China for objects that have cultural or historical significance for the Chinese and that there is plenty of money in China to purchase these items. Buying back objects of cultural and historical significance that have been taken out of the country appears to be high on the agenda for Chinese collectors in the same way that the Russian collectors started buying back their heritage a few years ago. It is encouraging to see that the global financial crisis appears to have not affected the market for art in the Asia region as much as many would have predicted and that buyers are showing an interest in a wide range of objects from the contemporary to the classical.
It is great to see that buyers are willing to spend so much money online via iGavel, a reflection perhaps of iGavel’s focus on quality and authenticity. The success that iGavel has had with their auctions of Asian art may be partly due to buyers in Asia being able to purchase items online all of which have guarantees for authenticity and condition. Also adding to the legitimacy of the items being offered for sale by iGavel is the fact that the founder of iGavel, Lark Mason, is a highly respected expert in the Asian Art field known to many from his appearances in the PBS series, The Antiques Roadshow. All in all, iGavel should be congratulated for the success that they achieve with their online auctions.
For more information on iGavel visit http://www.igavel.com
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.