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Sotheby’s auction of Chinese art collection to bring $23 million

A collection of Chinese art, including works from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is expected to command at least $23 million at Sotheby’s auction house in the city this week. Hammer prices are exceeding estimates several times over – hardly a surprise for unique works of art.

According to the Sotheby’s auction listing, 127 lots were auctioned on September 10, gifted by philanthropists and Asian art collectors Florence and Herbert Irving to The Met. The collection fetched a total of $8,274,875.

High among the desirable lots in the Irvings’ collection was a rare example of a Qing dynasty jadeite “landscape” table screen — about the size of calendar — that was knocked down for $1.08 million. In parallel a massive inscribed spinach-green jade ‘dragon’ washer, also from the Qing dynasty, was the most expensive lot, coming in at $1.34 million.

This was one of seven live auctions, including 1,200 items, held this week to coincide with Asia Week New York 2019. 

Phyllis Kao, a Chinese art specialist at the auction house told UPI that Chinese collectors will have a big part to play in the auction. “They’re very important,” Kao said. “A lot of the main players are mainland Chinese buyers. A lot of the winning bidders are really driving the price of art.”

The art on sale covers all major classical Chinese periods. Across the lots, bidders will have a wide range of paintings, calligraphy and sculptures to choose from. Other highlights include a 600-year old gilded, wood figure of Buddhist deities estimated at $1.5 million and a 18th century Qianlong period jade brushpot – part of The Met collection – which has sold for $375,000.

‘A finely carved large spinach-green jade ‘immortals’ brushpot, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period’
Courtesy of: Sotheby’s

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Yuvan Kumar

Yuvan Kumar

Yuvan is editor of PAI. He is an arts journalist editing a financial magazine about the art world. He has written across Corporate Jet Investor, Revolution.Aero and Helicopter/VTOL Investor, since joining the company in November 2018.