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Sotheby's Series of Asian Art Sales Totals $19,280,279
Rare and Important Pair of Huanghuali Compound Cabinets with Two-Drawer Stands, Qing Dynasty, 17th Century. Est. $120/180,000. Sold for: $1,022,500. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s autumn series of Asian art sales concluded yesterday, bringing the combined total to $19,280,279, double the pre-sale low estimate of $8.8/12.3 million. The series was 78.6% sold by lot. Today’s sale of South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, Including Indian Miniature Paintings brought $3,747,800 (est. $2.5/3.5 million) and was 70.8% sold by lot and 90.9% sold by value. Yesterday’s sale of Fine Chinese Furniture, Works of Art and Carpets from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections brought $4,615,054 and more than quadrupled the presale low estimate of $1.1 million. The Sackler Collection was 95.4% sold by lot and 99.5% sold by value. The various-owner sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art also exceeded pre-sale expectations to bring $10,917,425 (est. $5.1/7.1 million) and was 74.9% sold by lot and 90.9% sold by value.

Henry Howard-Sneyd, Vice Chairman, Asian Art, said, “The power of the most desirable art, collections and discoveries to attract buyers from around the world to attend and bid in New York auctions was in great evidence at our series of Asian sales this week. The superb international teamwork – complete with up to 12 Mandarin-speaking staff members manning the telephones at one time – led to a total for the week that doubled our pre-sale low estimate and a very superior average sold lot value of over $66,000. These results are a reflection of the development of our Asia division in the Americas, which has been taking place over the past year.”

South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, Including Indian Miniature Paintings Zara Porter-Hill, Head of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, commented, “Today’s sale, which exceeded the pre-sale estimate and was 90.9% sold by value, confirms the growing confidence in the Indian market. We saw international bidding and buying, predominantly from private collectors, with a rejuvenated presence from our trade clients. We are delighted to have sold over 70% of our lots today, continuing the improvement we have achieved in our sold-by-lot percentages throughout this year in New York and London. This high sell-through rate is a testament to our balanced selection of quality works at competitive estimates and demonstrates that the market is underpinned by a broad collector base. Also, we are particularly proud of the exceptional fact that in all three of our 2009 sales over 50% of the lots sold reached prices above the high estimate.”

The top price was achieved by V.S. Gaitonde’s Untitled, which was pursued by four clients and sold to a telephone bidder for $602,500 (lot 22, est. $400/600,000). Strong prices were seen for works by M.F. Husain, whose paintings claimed three of the top ten prices of the day. No less than seven clients competed for his Bewildered Brown, which brought $338,500 (lot 10, est. $80/120,000). Sotheby’s was honored to have Mr. Husain present in the saleroom today on the occasion of his 94th birthday, which the audience celebrated with a round of applause. A group of Indian miniature paintings from the Estate of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy was led by An Illustration to a Jataka Series: The Sixth Dream of King Pasenadi, which exceeded the pre-sale estimate to bring $88,900 (lot 62, est. $50/70,000).

Speaking about Sotheby’s two sales of Chinese Works of Art, Dr. Caroline Schulten, Head of Sotheby’s Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Sales, North America, said, “We were incredibly pleased with the results of today’s two sales. We saw a high sell-through rate in both sales, reinforcing our strategy of offering clients well-edited sales of high-quality works. In fact, 70% of the lots sold in our various-owner sale achieved prices above the high estimate. While our top buyers in both sales today came from Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China, we saw active participation and strong underbidding from our European and American clients. We were also excited to see many new collectors from around the world emerging in the market.”

Fine Chinese Furniture, Works of Art and Carpets from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections Leading off the sale of Fine Chinese Furniture, Works of Art and Carpets from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections was a series of approximately 40 lots of Chinese furniture, mostly of huanghuali wood and dating to the 17th and 18th centuries, all of which sold and many of which hammered down at prices far above their estimates. Two clients in the saleroom battled for A Rare and Important Pair of Huanghuali Compound Cabinets and Two-Drawer Stands from the 17th century, sending the price to $1,022,500 (lot 10, est. $120/180,000). A Huanghuali Display Cabinet from the 17th/18th century was sought after by absentee bidders, telephone bidders, and clients in the room, and was ultimately sold to a client in the room for $338,500 – ten times the presale estimate of $25/35,000 (lot 18). No less than four clients in the saleroom and one telephone bidder competed for a Huanghuali Low Table estimated at $8/12,000, which climbed to $194,500 and sold to a collector in the room (lot 24).

Carpets from the Sackler Collections exceeded expectations as well, bringing over $440,000 for the group, well above the pre-sale high estimate of approximately $250,000 and led by a Ninghsia Carpet, West China, which sold for $96,100 (lot 62, est. $25/35,000).

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
The sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art was led by a Fine and Large Pale Celadon Jade Vase and Cover, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period, which more than tripled its estimate to bring $926,500 (lot 260, est. $250/300,000). A ‘Famille-Rose’ ‘Ladies of the Han Palace’ Lantern-Shaped Vase, Jiaqing Iron-Red Seal Mark and Period from the Collection of Gordon Getty was pursued by multiple bidders in the room and on the telephone, and ultimately purchased by a client in the saleroom for $902,500, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $250/350,000 (lot 222). Also among the top lots was a Series of Sets (Lian Huan Tao) painted by Lin Fengmian from the Collection of Monsieur and Madame M. Helle, which sold to a client on the telephone for $818,500, exceeding the estimate of $90/120,000 (lot 175). An auction record was set for a Coromandel Screen when a Twelve-Panel Black Lacquer Coromandel ‘Mansion of Prefect Fenyang’ Screen, Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period, sold for $602,500 (lot 131, est. $80/120,000). An Important Pale Celadon Jade Brushpot, Bitong, Qing Dynasty, 18th century, which has descended in the family of famed collector Heber R. Bishop, brought $662,500 after a lengthy battle between its purchaser on the telephone and another client in the room (lot 251, est. $300/400,000), and A Rare Large Bronze Figure of an Eleven-Headed and Multi-Armed Avalokitesvara, Ming Dynasty, 17th Century that was formerly in the collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston sold for $314,500 (lot 129, est. $200/250,000).

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