The three sales of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art this season realized HK$509,866,500 (US$65,670,805) with an overall sold rate of 70% by lot and 80% by value and demonstrated the strength of the market for works of superlative quality and provenance.
Pola Antebi, Specialist Head of Department, commented: “The May 30th sale, Masterpieces of the Enameller’s Art from the Mandel Collection, marked the first time an international auction house held a single-owner sale of cloisonné enamel in Asia. The sale exceeded its pre-sale estimate and realized in excess of HK$65,270,000 (US$8,406,776) with an overall sold rate of 91%, confirming Christie’s place as market leader for the Chinese works of art category. Of the total lots sold, 76% sold for over their high estimate. The success of the sale is indicative of Christie’s renowned international expertise and ability to effectively market a private single-owner collection to a relatively new group of collectors to the category. Leading the sale was a magnificent and rare pair of cloisonné enamel figures of caparisoned elephants dating to the Qianlong period (1736-1795), alleged to have come from the collection of Winston Churchill and later from those of Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas. Fresh to the market, this extraordinary single-owner collection demonstrates the great potential of the collecting market for this category."
Among the highlights of The Imperial Sale and Important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art sale was an exceptionally rare blue and white charger from the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), reputed to have been in Japan since the 17th century and never before seen on the international market. This unusual and finely painted charger achieved the highest price of the sale at HK$29,220,000 (US$3,763,536), exceeding its pre-sale estimate. Also of note was the rare celadon-glazed archaistic vase or hu from the Qianlong period (1736-1795), said to have been from the collection of Zai Zhen (1876-1948), the great, great grandson of the Qianlong Emperor, who initially gifted the vase to the imperial court in Japan. This vase decorated with archaistic motifs was sold for HK$28,660,000 (US$3,691,408).
The jades and jadeites in the two sales also performed particularly well. A magnificent pair of white jade “boys” table screens of the Qianlong period from the collection of Sir John Buchanan Jardine sold for HK$15,220,000 (US$1,960,336). An emerald-green jadeite archaistic vessel and cover of the late Qing dynasty from an American private collection dating back to the early 20th century sold for HK$16,900,000 (US$2,176,720) against an estimate of HK$3,000,000-4,000,000 (US$386,400-515,200), demonstrating once again that the finest works with solid provenance achieved outstanding results.”
Gallery Talk (English subtitles): Highlights from the Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Sales, Hong Kong