Chopped Heads, Jade Seals Star in $100 Million Asia Week
New York’s Asia Week art extravaganza includes 15 auctions with about $100 million in Qianlong seals, ink scrolls and scary deities.
In addition, more than 40 galleries are hosting Asian art exhibitions around town, with prices starting at $100 and exceeding $500,000. (Information: http://www.asiaweekny.com.)
Here are the highlights:
1. Sotheby’s first international evening sale of Indian art includes 43 artworks from the collection of Amrita Jhaveri, focusing on art from the second half of the 20th century. Highest estimate: $800,000 to $1.2 million for Tyeb Mehta’s 1982 painting of an androgynous nude.
2. Christie’s sale of early Tibetan paintings assembled by Swiss collectors Heidi and Helmut Neumann includes a 13th- century textile painting of Buddha holding his beggar’s bowl while sitting on a throne propped by two snow lions. It is estimated at $600,000 to $800,000.
3. The Bonhams auction of Japanese works has woodblock prints, folding silk screens, enamel vases and lacquered boxes. A charming ivory figure of a boy is estimated at $300 to $500; a 19th-century ivory carving of a samurai carrying a child is $5,000 to $7,000.
4. A jade seal topped with a pair of dragons from the Qing dynasty is expected to bring $1 million to $1.5 million at Sotheby’s (BID) sale of fine Chinese ceramics and works of art. The seal was probably made to mark the birth of the emperor’s first great-great-grandson.
5. Christie’s sale of South Asian modern and contemporary art includes a large, fiery 1964 canvas, “Village en Fete,” by India’s Syed Haider Raza. It’s estimated at $600,000 to $800,000.
6. A 1936 draft of a peace agreement between China’s Communists and Nationalists signed by Mao Zedong could fetch $300,000 to $500,000 at Bonhams. The document proposes to unite against the invading Japanese Army and is part of an eight-lot auction, “The Xi’an Incident: The Papers of Hyland ‘Bud’ Lyon.”
7. Among Sotheby’s Chinese classical paintings is an ink landscape of snowy mountains by 18th-century painter Tang Dai. Estimated at $400,000 to $600,000, it has Qianlong emperor seals and was listed in the ruler’s inventory. It’s from a family collection begun by Qi Yunqing, an entrepreneur, banker and corporate executive.
8. The cover lot of Christie’s auction of fine Chinese ceramics and works of art is a pear-shaped 18th-century vase. Most of its surface is covered with egg yolk-yellow glaze; the top and bottom are adorned with white-and-blue ornaments; the sides feature handles that evoke rhinoceros heads. Marked with a Qianlong seal, it’s estimated at $300,000 to $500,000.
Through the week
9. Some of the week’s most exquisite objects are exhibited at 43 private galleries on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Arader Galleries is hosting several dealers, including Carlo Cristi, who is showing Tibetan mandala paintings and 7th-century kaftans from what’s now Uzbekistan. Nayef Homsi Ancient Art of Asia has a scary 9th-century stone carving of Shiva dancing with severed heads.
10. A preview of iGavel Auctions’ Asian online sale, which runs April 17 to May 1, includes a 12-foot-tall 19th-century Chinese portrait of an imperial court official estimated at $100,000 to $150,000. A Kangxi-period porcelain Meiping-shape vase is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.
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