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    Vibrancy Returns to Autumn Asian Art Auctions

    The fall Asian art sales in New York, held Sept. 14–17, realized $98.4 million, with Christie’s contributing $70.75 million while Sotheby’s total was $27.65 million.

    NEW YORK—The fall Asian art sales in New York, held Sept. 14–17, realized $98.4 million, with Christie’s contributing $70.75 million while Sotheby’s total was $27.65 million. Last year’s total was $77 million, of which Christie’s sales accounted for $57.3 million and Sotheby’s contributed $19.3 million (ANL, 9/22/09).

    Christie’s Asian art categories were: South Asian Modern and contemporary art ($7.54 million), Indian and Southeast Asian art ($3.98 million); Japanese and Korean art including arts of the Meiji period ($3.68 million); Chinese ceramics and works of art ($34.11 million); the Sze Yuan Tang archaic bronzes from the Anthony Hardy collection ($20.75 million); and Chinese works including objects from the Arthur M. Sackler collections ($686,000).

    Theow Tow, deputy chairman of Christie’s Americas and honorary chairman of Christie’s Asia said, “This season’s sales have shown the market for Asian art . . . remains extremely vibrant, with clients from Asia continuing to participate strongly just as American and European buyers were equally active.”

    Seven-Figure Sums for Raza, Souza

    At the South Asian modern and contemporary sale, works by contemporary Indian artists such as Subodh Gupta, T.V. Santhosh, Rashid Rana, Atul Dodiya, and Anju Dodiya did well.

    La Terre, 1985, an acrylic by Syed Haider Raza (b. 1922), sold for $1.93 million, (estimate: $2 million/2.5 million), and an oil, Untitled (Large Head) by Francis Newton Souza (1924–2002), 1962, was bought by a U.S. collector for $1.43 million (estimate: $1.2 million/1.8 million). Two Cows by Gupta (b. 1964), 2005, an installation made of bronze and aluminum with chrome, was bought for $542,500 (estimate: $280,000/350,000), and an oil on canvas, Untitled (Durga) by Manjit Bawa (1941–2008), was bought by a U.S. trade buyer for $314,500 (estimate: $200,000/250,000).

    Hugo Weihe, international director of Asian art and international specialist head, South Asian modern and contemporary art in New York, said that new clients entered the market “at a very high level, demonstrating confidence in a category that is well established. The sale saw lively bidding by international buyers in the room, on the telephone, and online, with strong participation from international institutions.”

    In the Indian and Southeast Asian art category, a Roman silver Kantharos, Gandhara, ca. late 1st century b.c., was bought by an unidentified Asian institution for $434,500 (estimate: $150,000/250,000), and a gilt bronze figure of Vajrasattva, Mongolia, Zanabazar School, 18th century sold for $314,500 (estimate: $200,000/300,000). Sandhya Jain Patel, Indian and southeast Asian art specialist, said that “the auction attracted U.S. and Asian institutions, who were among the buyers of the top ten lots and represent a diversity of interests throughout the sale.”

    In the Japanese and Korean art sales, a Joseon Dynasty, 1901, eight-panel screen, ink and color on silk—Royal Banquet for the Celebration of the 50th Birthday of the Emperor Gojong—was sold for $842,500 (estimate: $300,000/350,000).

    Sotheby’s $27.65 million total included sales of Chinese ceramics and works of art ($15.17 million), South Asian art ($7.54 million) and Chinese snuff bottles from the Joe Grimberg collection ($4.93 million).

    At Sotheby’s South Asian art sale, work by Indian artists Bhupen Khakhar (1934–2003) and Arpita Singh (b. 1937) set new records. Khakhar’s Muslims Around a Mosque II, 2001, sold for $650,500 (estimate: $150,000/250,000) and Singh’s oil Munna Apa’s Garden, 1989, was bought by an Indian bidder for $506,500 (estimate: $100,000/150,000). Also attaining a record price was a miniature opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper, an illustration to the Gita Govinda: Radha Proceeds to Her Tryst with Krishna, 1780, which fetched $290,500 (estimate: $150,000/250,000). Cinq Sens (Five Senses), 1958, by M.F. Husain (b. 1915), was bought by an Indian bidder for $782,500 exceeding the $500,000/700,000 estimate.

    Citing the sale’s “exceptional results,” Zara Porter Hill, international head of Indian art at Sotheby’s, said, “Competitive international bidding resulted in more than half the lots sold achieving prices in excess of high estimates.”