NEW YORK, NY. - Sotheby’s Asia week sales concluded this week realizing the combined total of $22,574,864, well over pre sale expectations (combined est. $10.6/15 million). The top selling lot of the week was Two Mynas on a Rock, a 1692 masterpiece by Bada Shanren which sold for $3 million – many multiples of the pre-sale estimate and a new record for a Classical Chinese Painting sold at Sotheby’s in the US - in the Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale. Bada Shanren, Two Mynas on a Rock, sold for $2,994,500 (est. $400/600,000) Manjit Bawa, Untitled, Sold for $602,500 (est. $200/300,000)
There were also several exceptional prices in the Indian and South East Asian Art sale where a record was set for a painting at auction by Manjit Bawa when Untitled sold for $602,500 - double the pre-sale high estimate (est. $200/300,000). Further highlights included an Untitled work by MF Husain which fetched $1,058,500, over five times the high estimate (est. $150/200,000).
Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Discussing the Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale, Dr. Caroline Schulten, Head of the Chinese Works of Art Department at Sotheby’s New York, said “We are delighted with the result of the spring sale. The price of nearly $3 million for Bada Shanren’s Two Mynas on a Rock is a reflection of the compelling beauty of the painting. We are thrilled to have achieved such a stunning price for this masterful depiction of two birds that has not appeared on the market for over 25 years. Jades, ceramics and furniture also performed well with particularly strong prices for fresh to the market works priced conservatively.”
Two Mynas on a Rock, which sold for $2,994,500, led a strong selection of Classical and Modern Chinese painting. Several of which achieved superb prices including, Scholar by Zhang Daqian, which has not been offered at auction for over 50 years, which sold for $902,500 (est. $120/180,000) and an Album Of Figures And Accompanying Calligraphy by Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-Chien, 1899-1983) And Pu Ru (1896-1963) which sold for over 10 times the high estimate when it fetched $662,500 (est. $40/60,000). A new record for Chinese calligraphy sold in the US was also set when Calligraphy in Xing Shu (Running Script) After Zhong Yao's "Zhang Le Tie" also by Bada Shanren sold for $482,500 (est. $100/150,000)
Works of Art
Among the highlights in the works of art section of the sale were a number of jades which achived exceptional prices including a Fine And Rare Pale Celadon Jade 'Double-Gourd' Brushwasher, Qing Dynasty, 18th Century which more than doubled the high estimate to sell for $632,500 (est. $200/250,000), a Rare White Jade Vase, Cover And Stand, Qing Dynasty, 18th Century which sold for $392,500 (est. $70/90,000) and a Very Rare Spinach-Green Jade 'Bajixiang' Vase (Meiping), Qianlong Seal Mark And Period which fetched $314,500 (est. $180/200,000). A Fine And Rare Imperial 'Zitan' Stand And Base, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period was the highlight of the furniture in the sale selling for $602,500 (est. $180/250,000).
Indian and South East Asian Art
Commenting on the result of the Indian and South East Asian Art sale today Zara Porter Hill, International Head of Indian Art at Sotheby’s said: “We are delighted to have set a new world record price for a work by Manjit Bawa at auction; the $602,500 price was far above our pre sale expectations. It is by far the most important work by Bawa to have appeared at auction in the past 10 years and it attracted interest from all around the world. We are also very proud of the many other exceptional prices for modern Indian paintings, where 74 works sold for $5.4 million – the dynamic bidding leading to a staggering 97% sold by value rate. The $1,058,500 fetched for a highly important Untitled painting from 1955 by MF Husain was a stunning success, as was the Schlesinger Collection where all the works sold, totaling $921,650 against an estimate of $237/352,000. These results again show the appetite for good quality works with distinguished provenance offered at attractive estimates.”
A highly important Untitled painting from 1955 by MF Husain achieved the highest price of the auction when it fetched $1,058,500, over five times the high estimate (est. $150/200,000); the work was just one of a number of modern Indian paintings that were enthusiastically received in a group of 74 works which sold for $5.4 million, with a 97% sold by value rate. The record breaking Untitled painting by Manjit Bawa beat the previous artist record by over $150,000 when it sold for $602,500 (est. $200/300,000), the canvas is one of the largest paintings produced by the artist and the most important work by him ever to appear at auction. Paintings by S.H. Raza also achieved a number of strong prices including L'inconnu which sold for $458,500 (est. $120/180,000) and La Mer which fetched $386,500 (est. $100/150,000)
The Schlesinger Collection
Works from private collections that have not been seen at auction for some years performed particularly strongly, most notably with the historically important Collection of Emmanuel Schlesinger. Schlesinger was a European émigré who arrived in Bombay in 1939, living there until his death in 1968, where he befriended and mentored the first generation of artists in post-Independence India. All the paintings in the collection sold totaling $921,650 (est. $237/352,000) with a 1959 Untitled painting by Tyeb Mehta fetching $566,000 (est. $100/120,000).
Works of Art
Himalayan sculpture performed particularly well in the works of art section with a Tara, Outer Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, from the 17th/18th century achieving $290,500 – almost 10 times the top estimate (est. $20/30,000). There were also a number of strong prices for property from the Francisco Capelo Collection including the $314,500 for a 14th Century Buddha from Tibet (est. $250/350,000) and Head of a Goddess, Khmer, Angkor period, Baphuon style which comfortably beat the top estimate to sell for $212,500 (est. $100/150,000).
Works from Pakistan
There were a number of high prices for Paintings from Pakistan, most notably for Allah Bux for whom a new artist record was set when Untitled (Portrait) sold for $52,500 (est. $20/30,000).