NEW YORK — Bonhams spectacular Asia Week results position the auction house as a unique source for highly unusual, culturally resonant, fresh to the market Asian art and related historical documents. The tightly organised and innovative auctions garnered a tremendous response from buyers, particularly those located in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
The most significant auction was The Xi'an Incident: The Papers of Hyland 'Bud' Lyon on March 20 – referred to by one Chinese journalist as the single most important event of Asia Week New York. Bonhams offered only eight extraordinary lots, consisting of documents and photos related to China in the 1930s including the pivotal 1936 Xi'an Incident, none of which had ever been publicly exhibited before. The sale was 100% sold and brought over $2.7 million. A signed manuscript from Zhang Xueliang realised $854,500 while two draughts of a peace agreement signed by Mao Zedong sold for $506,500.
"The Xi'an Incident sale shows that both established and emerging Asian collectors interests' are piqued by highly specialised sales of rare and culturally significant material, and we are responding to that demand," said Dessa Goddard, Vice President and Director of Asian Art at Bonhams. "Our excellent relationships with private collectors and institutions in the US and Asia make Bonhams singularly able to take on these initiatives. We are essentially forging a new path, and becoming a true force in the Asian art market."
Bonhams realised nearly $9 million over four auctions in the most successful Asia Week for the New York salesroom to date. An average of 79% of lots sold, with an 84% sold rate by value.
"With our Asian specialists on both the East and West Coasts of the United States, Bonhams is uniquely able to advise clients as they navigate the international Asian art market, presenting them with the best opportunities to achieve excellent results at auction worldwide," said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Group CEO.
Other highlights included a Meiji period silver model of a dragon by Kazumi that realised $128,500 in the March 19 Fine Japanese Works of Art sale, where Meiji period works proved extremely popular. Classical Chinese painting was particularly strong in the March 20 Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy sale, as demonstrated by the 1648 Wang Shimin ink landscape that achieved $110,500. A massive ornamental dorje from Tibet sold for $92,500 in the March 18 Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art, which revealed special market interest for southeast Asia sculpture and decorative arts.
Bonhams next auction of Fine Chinese Paintings & Contemporary Asian Art will take place on May 25 in Hong Kong.
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