Manjit Bawa (1941-2008), Untitled (Durga), oil on canvas, painted in 2004. Auction Price Realized: $425,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd
NEW YORK, NY., – After four days of intense bidding by art collectors, art institutions and art enthusiasts, Christie’s Fall Asian Art Week came to an end Friday. With a combined total of $43,480,025 achieved in six art sales that went from September 16 through 19, the art auction has been described as one of the best showing by Asian artists in recent times. While many have attributed provenance of the works for the record auction prices, several art collectors point to the creativity of the artists that gave credence to the astonishing works by the Indian and Southeast Asian artists.
Excited by the result, Jonathan Stone, Chairman, Asian Art, could not hide his emotion about how well works by the Asian artists presented during the art auction did. He notes: “The results of September New York Asia Week demonstrate the market’s appetite for top-quality works of art with strong provenance. The continuing international demand for Chinese art was underscored by good sale through rates across all media and epochs. We now look forward to the Asia+ / First Open sale of international contemporary art, the sale of Important Chinese Snuff Bottles and the Pavilion Sale of Chinese works of art in Hong Kong on October 5th and 7th.”
Stone was not alone in his exhilaration. Many others at Christie’s have continued to express delight that South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art attracted such an unprecedented success. The Indian and Southeast Asian Art, they contend, succeeded in attracting art collectors from across the globe not just because of their provenance, but also because the works were outstanding. William Robinson, International Head of World Art, commented:
The sales of South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art and of Indian and Southeast Asian Art achieved their highest sold percentage by lot for a number of years, indicating an increased buyer confidence across all sectors of the market. It was exciting to see known buyers in the classical sale expanding their interests into categories that had not been of interest to them before. The modern and contemporary sale was notable in that all the top 10 lots were acquired by private buyers, either for institutions or for their own homes.
Joining in the thrill of Christie’s top selling Chinese work of art in New York during Asia Week is Michael Bass, Head of Department, Chinese Works of Art, New York. He commented:
The Chinese works of art sales were led by Rivers of Color: Chinese Cloisonné Enamels from Private American Collections, which was 94% sold by lot and included the top selling Chinese work of art in New York Asia Week, the 15th – early 16th century deep bowl that realized US$2,629,000. We saw enthusiastic and energetic bidding in the Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale across every category -jade, archaic bronzes, furniture, Buddhist gilt bronzes and Ming and Qing porcelain -with the top lots selling to private Asian collectors from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.
As Christie’s Fall Asian Art Week came to a close with South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art gaining great attention, there is hope that South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art work will continue to generate great interest in the art market. Robinson put it succinctly when he expressed hope that works by Indian and Southeast Asian artists will continue to generate huge interest during art auction, fetching huge auction prices.