Dessa Goddard has served as Vice President and Director of Asian Art at Bonhams since 1981. She oversees all company specialists and consultants in the fields of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Himalayan, Indian and Southeast Asian art in North America, and is the Senior North American Asian Art Specialist in charge of acquiring consignments for the company's Asian Art auctions in San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong.
Under Goddard's 30 years of leadership, the company's Asian Art Department has achieved record-breaking sales in Chinese, Japanese and Korean Art, with the discovery of a rare pair of huanghuali continuous yoke back armchairs, 17th/18th century, that brought $1.49 million in 2011, an early Ming dynasty underglaze copper red dish, Hongwu, which sold for $5.7 million in 2004, an 18th century ivory netsuke of a Dutchman, by Masanao of Kyoto, which sold for a U.S. record of $240,000, and three separate seven figure sales of Joseon dynasty blue and white porcelain jars.
Prior to joining Bonhams, Goddard was a fellow at the Toyo Bunka Kenkyujo, the renowned research centre for archaeology at the University of Tokyo, after passing her exams for the PhD in Chinese History at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating from the Inter-University Centre for Advanced Japanese in Tokyo, a Stanford University-based programme, where she held a scholarship from the College Women's Art Association, she studied at Tokyo University under the late Professor Matsumaru Michio, a specialist in Shang and Zhou dynasty bronzes. Goddard previously interned in the Painting and Calligraphy Department at the National Palace Museum, Taibei, Taiwan. She attended Harvard University as a graduate student, where she studied under Professor Max Loehr and John Rosenfield. She holds a master's degree in Asian Art, with a thesis in the field of Chinese bronzes, and carries an undergraduate degree in Art history from Northwestern University.
One of North America's leading experts in her field, Goddard speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. She travels and lectures widely throughout the US on topics in Asian art, and has focused her research recently on the growth of philanthropy and urban culture, with a specific eye to the history of Asian art collecting in America.
She regularly appears on PBS' "Antiques Roadshow®," and lends her expertise to publications seeking information on Asian art.