Buddha did not helped Sotheby’s

Buckle. China. 206 BC − 8 AD. Jade, carving. Lot sold for £825 250. Christie’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Export Art. London, November 4

Sotheby’s is without a top lot for the second time. After Harlequin by Picasso the auction house lost also a monumental sculpture of Buddha which was to head the Asian sales in London on November, 5.

Shortly before the sales the sculpture estimated at £2 500 000 was put off the sales by its owner. Sotheby’s representatives do not keep a secret that the reason of this decision was the difficult situation at the art market in general and in poor demand for works of a high price category in particular.

The Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction took place within the limits of the 11th annual week of the Asian art being held in London. The largest auction houses and more than 50 galleries participated in the fair. In spite of a fact that many dealers mark a steady demand and interest from collectors the sales are at a quite low level. The top price segment is in the most complicated situation. “They (collectors) know that the prices can be reduced even more and they are ready to wait”, − the owner of Mayfair Gallery Giuseppe Eskenazi comments on the situation. As he said, buyers are interested in works of high quality but they are not ready to pay for them more than £200 000.

In this range are all the Sotheby’s sales. Two Chinese vases of Qing Dynasty showed the highest result (Kang Hsi period, 1662−1722) which were sold by auction for £199 250 having exceeded the estimate considerably (£100 000–120 000). In spite of a considerable (67 %) volume of sales which totaled £3 300 000 the sales did not fetch £6 000 000 expected to receive with Buddha.

The “eastern” Christie’s auction showed a better result. It was held in London on November 4, and fetched £5 313 925. The main record of a week − £825 250 was made at the auction from the sale of a valuable nephritic buckle of Western Han period (206 BC − 9 AD). It is interesting that the buckle was estimated at only £100 000–150 000.

The Christie’s receipt exceeded the expected sum in £500 000 that was actually the first rather high result from the beginning of “collapse” of the markets in October. Experts of the auction house commented on their success with a flexible system of pricing and a special attention to quality and authenticity of a work. “People became more exacting. The lot is to be of an excellent provenance as buyers are afraid to get a fake”, − Christie’s expert Ruben Lien informs. He also notices an essential increase of percent of buyers from China that is a result of dropping in a rate of pound sterling and the consolidation of position of yuan in relation to the main European currencies.

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Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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