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Painting by Lee Man Fong hits $1.3 million at Freeman's Sunday sale
Lee Man Fong, Compoon, 20th century, framed, signed and stamped with artist’s seal, $1,314,500.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s, on Sunday, September 9, in the first of the auction season’s important Asia Week Sales, outperformed expectations, exceeding the overall estimate with an especially outstanding performance by top lots, including $1,314,500 for a painting by modern Chinese master Lee Man Fong.

This is Freeman’s fourth consecutive Asian Arts auction to command million-dollar-plus prices for top items. Other recent sales include a Ming Dynasty gilt bronze and cloisonné covered jar sold in March 2012 for $1.54 million, an Imperial jade seal realized $3.5 million in September 2011, and a blue and white Ming-style vase in the March 2011 sale sold for $1.38 million.

Samuel M. “Beau” Freeman II, Chairman, commented “Another great Asian Arts auction.... We’re thrilled to be consistently making news now with great pieces that are commanding the attention of the important dealers and collectors worldwide. Impressive results like these just go to show the international market has awakened to what happens here in Philadelphia . Success like this speaks for itself. We expect that momentum to only snowball.”

Earlier in the year, there were indications worldwide that the market for Asian works was softening. This Freeman’s sale proves to the contrary that, though tastes are changing, interest remains strong. “We’re seeing dealers and collectors narrow the focus of their interest and becoming more selective,” says Rich Cervantes, Head of Freeman’s Asian Art Department . “They’re more keen than ever on quality. It’s also clear that we can rely on property associated with a prestigious name, whether it’s the emperors Qianlong and Daoguang or a modern master like Lee Man Fong.”

Paintings overall did well. 18th-century jade continues to be outstanding. Quality ceramics from Ming to Qing are very strong. In snuff bottles, demand was high for top quality. Furniture and textiles also held their own. The one disappointment was glass. But other categories more than made up the difference.

Asian Arts, September 9, 2012

1. Lot 115. Lee Man Fong, Compoon, 20th century, framed, signed and stamped with artist’s seal, $1,314,500

2. Lot 757. Large and fine Chinese flambe glazed porcelain vase, Qianlong mark and period, $182,500

3. Lot 24. Rare Chinese Imperial zitan long table, Qianlong period, $134,500

4. Lot 762. Fine Chinese famille rose 'peach and bat' porcelain vase, Daoguang mark and period, $80,500

5. Lot 473. Fine pair of Chinese carved spinach jade table screens on ivory stands, Qianlong mark, Qing dynasty, $59,375

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