NEW YORK — With strong results in a variety of categories, Bonhams recent September sale of Fine Japanese Works of Art demonstrated the increasing international interest in this dynamic field. Japanese bidders were well represented, but collectors and institutions in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Hong Kong and Europe made an especially strong showing in the salesroom, on the telephones and online.
Bonhams exceptional offering of unusually well-preserved woodblock prints proved particularly appealing, with overall results significantly exceeding the original estimates. The impressive collection, dating from the mid-18th to mid-19th century, came from Dr. Herbert McLean Evans (1882-1971) and Dr. Miriam Elizabeth Simpson (1894-1991). The two noted academics maintained a close collaboration spanning over 50 years, during which time they meticulously collected and maintained important works on paper. The Japanese prints featured in the auction reflected the pair's high standards, and bidders clearly appreciated their rarity. One such example, Totoya Hokkei's One Surimono, soared above its original estimate of $1,500 - $2,000 to sell for $11,070.
Meji decorative objects also impressed bidders, with strong prices realised for cloisonné enamels, tachi swords, and inlaid bronzes. A pair of Atsuyoshi's late 19th century inlaid bronze vases went for over 6 times their original high estimate of $3,500-$4,500, selling after competitive bidding for $27,500. Fully finished on all sides and featuring an enchanting diversity of flora and fauna realised in a variety of precious metals, the vases beautifully exemplify why Meji period pieces are considered the zenith of Japanese craftsmanship.
Bonhams plans continue the momentum with their highly anticipated Arts of the Samurai Sale, set for October 16th at their New York gallery. The sale will feature armour, swords, and sword fittings from the 14th century through 21st century, including a 2006 sword made by Japanese national treasure Akimori.
To view the full auction please visit bonhams.com/20040.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com