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Sotheby's Paris Asian Art Sale totals $13.4 million; Record for Qing porcelain at Sotheby's France
An exceptionally rare Imperially inscribed Qianlong spinach-green screen quadrupled its €200,000 top-estimate on €840,750 ($1.053.821). Photo: Sotheby's.

PARIS.- The sale of Asian Art at Sotheby’s Paris totalled €10,688,875 ($13.397.757), surpassing presale high expectations (estimate of €3.5-4.9 million*). The auction established extremely strong sell through rates of 75.3% sold by lot and 90.2% sold by value. 72% of lots were sold above their high estimate.

The €10.7m ($13.4m) total marks the sixth time in a row that a sale of Asian Art at Sotheby’s Paris has exceeded $10m. Over the past three years (Spring 2009–Spring 2012) Sotheby’s have now sold more than $100 million-worth of Asian works of art in Paris.

In the words of Caroline Schulten, who joined the Paris office in January 2012 as Head of the Asian Art Department, after working for Sotheby’s in Amsterdam, London and New York: ‘The Paris sale brings Sotheby’s sales of Asian art to a spectacular close. Once again Asian buyers were out in force, seeking objects whose quality, provenance, market-freshness and attractive estimates have made Paris a key auction venue in the field.’

The 89-lot first session brought €6.8m ($8.6m), surpassing the sale’s anticipated overall total by the end of the morning.

Highest price of both the session, and the sale as a whole, was €1,207,150 ($1.513.078) – a record price for Qing porcelain at Sotheby’s France – for a very rare Qianlong blue-and-white porcelain six-necked vase, formerly owned by Jean-Antoine-Ernest Constans (1833-1913), one-time French Interior Minister, Governor-General of Indochina, and Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (lot 69, estimate €50,000-70,000).

The German private collection of imperial jades performed beyond expectations to bring €2.7m ($3.4m), led by an exceptionally rare Imperially inscribed Qianlong spinach-green screen that quadrupled its €200,000 top-estimate on €840,750 ($1.053.821, lot 99).

Another outstanding price was obtained by a Qing Dynasty white and russet jade archer’s ring with Qianlong yuti mark (1781): a fierce battle between bidders in the room and on the telephone propelled this to €546,750 ($685.3123) against an estimate of just €15,000-20,000 (lot 44).

The most popular of a series of 18th century Chinese and Sino-Tibetan gilt-bronze figures, consigned from a private European collection, proved to be unquestionably the set of twelve Qing Dynasty Zodiac figures which pulverized their €12,000 high-estimate en route to €240,750 ($310.763, lot 8).

The second session saw a scholars’ box of exceptional size and rarity (reproduced on the front cover of the catalogue), magnificently carved in high relief and with the mark of Emperor Yongle (1403-24), soar to €504,750 ($636.669, lot 142, est. €100,000-150,000).

Also from the Ming Dynasty came a gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara with a Xuande period mark (1426-35), which sold to an Asian collector for a handsome €276,750 ($346.887, lot 119, est. €80,000-120,000).

The sale’s biggest surprise was the huge €564,750 ($685.313) obtained for a kesi scroll (probably Song Period), complete with zitan box, that had remained in the same distinguished French family since the 19th century (lot 204).

* estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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