At Large  June 22, 2017

Success for Lempertz with Chinese Art in Brussels

For the first time, the auction for Asian art was offered in two parts this year. The first part of Indian, South East Asian and Japanese art took place on 9 June in Cologne, whilst the second part of Chinese and Tibetan/Nepalese art was auctioned on 18 June in Lempertz' offices in Brussels. The decision to hold the auction during the Brussels’ fair for non-European art (CULTURES), and time-wise close to the China auctions in Paris, attracted many Chinese buyers – and so is over 90% of the Chinese art going back to China. The highlights of the auction were Chinese porcelain (up to €99,000), and sculpture (also €99,000). With a total result of nearly 2 million euro, it was another successful Lempertz auction for Asian art.

The fifth part of the Kolodotschko netsuke collection, one of the largest and most important of its kind in Germany, was unusually successful. In a packed saleroom – the Netsuke Convention in Cologne, co-organised by Lempertz, had again intensified international interest – the netsuke from this collection were almost completely sold out, most seeing substantial increases, and providing a dazzling conclusion to the past four auctions of this unusual collection.

One of the top lots of Chinese works was the famille verte rouleau vase from the Kangxi period (1662 – 1722). The 76 cm high porcelain vase with an impressive provenance sold to a Chinese bidder for 99,000 euro (lot 1415, 70/100,000). A result of 64,500 was seen for a large famille verte dish, also from this period, with a diameter of 55 cm, also selling to a Chinese bidder (lot 1410, 50/70,000). A rare, white-glazed plate with carved anhua decoration from the Qianlong period (1735 – 1796) reached 22,300 (lot 1356, 15/20,000). The sculpture was also dominated by a 99,000 result for a gilt and lacquered wood Guanyin in lalitasana from the 17th/18th century. Lempertz had already sold two similar figures a few years ago (lot 1082, 80/120,000). A painted wood sculpture of the Daoist deity Mazu from the 18th/19th century reached 16,000 (lot 1083).

Amongst the broad offering of Chinese decorative arts peaked a rhinoceros libation cup from the 18th century, at 8.4 cm high and with a handle in the form of four interweaved rain dragons. At 93,000, it went way above the estimate (lot 1270, 30/50,000). A further, smaller rhinoceros cup from the 18th/19th century jumped from 8/12,000 up to 40,000 (lot 1269). Two finely worked ruyi sceptres also sold above their estimates, including an impressive jade work from the Qing dynasty with fine carving, which sold far above the 10/15,000 estimate for 32,000 (lot 1200).

The highlight of the Japanese offering was an impressive brush painting by Morita Shiryû (1912 – 1998) with the character 'kan' (contemplation). Painted in broad, expressive strokes, it was estimated at 12/15,000, and after a fight, sold eventually to a Japanese bidder for 50,000 (lot 308A). The woodcut prints included an ôban by Kasushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) which rose from 1,400/1,600 to 20,000 (lot 226).