SAN FRANCISCO, CA.-
A magnificent blue and white porcelain vase, dating to the Yongzheng period (1723-1735), sold in the auction room today at Bonhams
in San Francisco for more than $5.9 million, against multiple phone bidders from Mainland China. The vase, offered on behalf of a California institution, was part of the bequest of Chinese porcelains by former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, who began acquiring blue and white porcelains while living in London in the first two decades of the 20th century.
Estimated conservatively at $500,000-700,000, the bidding began slowly among multiple telephone bidders and built to a crescendo, with the ultimate buyer entering the competition at the $3 million mark. This buyer was Richard Littleton of Littleton and Hennessy, an Asian Art advisory group based in the US, London and Hong Kong. From then on, the bidding escalated quickly as a battle between the room and the telephone, with the floor bidder, Mr. Littleton, victorious.
Dessa Goddard, Director of Asian Art for Bonhams North America stated, "We are thrilled to have had the privilege of bringing this magnificent piece to the market from the collection of a great public servant and humanitarian, who loved Chinese blue and white porcelain. Blue and white vases of tianshouping shape from the Yongzheng period are so very rare; this particular example may be the only one of its type with classic wave pattern on the shoulder and rim."
Also performing very well in the auction - above the $100,000 mark - was a large cast bronze seated figure of the Amitabha Buddha, Ming dynasty, which brought $314,500 (est. $125,000-200,000); two figures by Park Soo-Keun, dated 1964, which brought $242,500 (est. $200,000-300,000); a fine and massive blue and white porcelain yenyen vase of the Kangxi period, which brought $158,500 (est. $50,000-70,000); and a massive hunaghuali veneered altar table of the 18th century, which brought $110,500 (est. 50,000-70,000).