NEW YORK – A remarkable week of Asian art auctions at Bonhams included four sales of Chinese, Japanese and Korean art, totaling more than U.S. $­­­7 million and impressive sell-through rates. The distinguished Asian art departments presented three Chinese art sales, one Japanese and Korean art sale and a preview exhibition of Bonhams' inaugural Himalayan art auction in Hong Kong.

"We are delighted to open Asian Art week with such an exciting group of sales at Bonhams," said Dessa Goddard, Head of the U.S. Asian Art group. "Our Chinese sales achieved top prices for Ming furniture, and our Japanese and Korean auction saw steady prices for Meiji metalwork and achieved a top price for a Park Sookeun painting. Bonhams again demonstrated this week that highly curated sales of objects with notable provenance bring consistent strong results in this competitive market."

On Sept. 12, the Asian sales kicked off with A Taste for the Remarkable: The John and Celeste Fleming Collection of Chinese Furniture and Works of Art. The 20-lot single-owner sale, composed of fine highly desirable 16th-18th century huanghuali and zitan wood furniture as well as early Chinese metalwork, brought in a total of U.S. $3.9 million with premium. The Flemings were devoted patrons of Asian art in Denver, Colo. and actively participated with important organisations such as the Asian Performing Arts Council, Denver Art Museum and Opera Colorado.

An important highlight of this collection was a rare huanghuali four-poster bed, late Ming dynasty, sold for three times its high estimate at U.S. $1,385,000 with premium. The Flemings purchased their furniture in the mid- to late-1990's from Grace Wu Bruce, a world-renowned dealer of 16th-17th century furniture. Under her guidance, they carefully built a stellar collection of Ming furniture which graced their elegant Japanese style home.

Other significant lots include:

- Sold U.S. $461,000 (incl. premium), a huanghuali corner leg side table, Tiaozhuang 17th century

- Sold U.S. $413,000 (incl. premium), a pair of huanghuali low back arm chairs, Meiguiyi 17th/18th century

- Sold U.S. $353,000 (incl. premium), a huanghuali sloping-stile cupboard, Yuanjiaogui Late 16th/17th century


This auction featured 140 lots of fine jade, glass and inside-painted bottles, sourced from private collections in the United States. It included a grouping from the collection of the late Elsa Glickman, who passionately studied, collected and wrote about Chinese snuff bottles.

- Sold U.S. $13,750 (incl. premium), a shadow agate snuff bottle, 1750-1850

- Sold U.S. $13,750 (incl. premium), a rare inscribed coconut-shell snuff bottle, 1800-1880

- Sold U.S. $13,750 (incl. premium), an embellished white and russet jade snuff bottle, the bottle: 1820-1920, embellishment: Tsuda family, Kyoto, Japan, 20th century

- Sold U.S. $12,500 (incl. premium), a shadow agate snuff bottle, 1740-1860


image008.jpgChinese Works of Art and Paintings included calligraphy, fine silk textiles, paintings, archaic and later bronze vessels, jades, scholar's rocks and a group of huanghuali furniture from the prominent collection of Mark Pratt, totaling 144 lots.

Leading this auction was an excellent lot that attracted a great deal of interest — a pair of 18th century white jade bird boxes, which sold for U.S. $305,000 with premium. It is likely that the elegantly carved birds made their second appearance at a New York auction on Sept. 12, the first being more than 100 years ago at the legendary "Remarkable Collection of the Imperial Prince Kung" at the American Art Galleries and organised by the renowned dealer Yamanaka Sadajiro who acquired the entire collection of the grandson of the Daoguang Emperor in the summer of 1912, immediately following the fall of the Qing dynasty.

Another standout lot was a set of three porcelain plaques depicting birds and flowers, by Liu Yucen (1904-1969), which achieved 40 times its high estimate selling for U.S. $245,000. The porcelain plaques in vertical rectangular format depicted three roosters inspecting an insect among yellow peonies, another illustrating red-feathered birds among plum blossoms and bamboo by a waterfall, and the last showing mandarin ducks amid bamboo and lotus. Each signed and sealed by Liu Yucen, and mounted in a wood frame.

Other significant lots include:

- Sold U.S. $143,000 (incl. premium), an inscribed archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, Gu Late Shang dynasty, Anyang period, 13th-11th century BC

- Sold U.S. $137,000 (incl. premium), a square huanghuali table, Fangzhou 18th century

- Sold U.S. $106,250 (incl. premium), a huanghuali three-drawer coffer, Liansanchu


With 319 lots, the Fine Japanese and Korean Works of Art sale was led by Korean painter Park Sookeun's (1914-1965) Gidalim (Waiting) at U.S. $605,000 with premium. Sookeun made everyday life in post-war Korea his main subject matter of his works. It is the celebration of a lost era in Korean history that may explain the great popularity of his work today, when such scenes evoke feelings of nostalgia among collectors. His body of work is thought to be quite small, perhaps no more than 400 paintings. His career was cut short by his premature death from cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 51 in 1965.

Other significant lots include:

- Sold U.S. $93,750 (incl. premium), a fine and large pair of cloisonné-enamel vases attributed to Kawade Shibataro, Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900

- Sold U.S. $37,000 (incl. premium), a pair of inlaid iron panels, Meiji era (1868-1912), late 19th century

- Sold U.S. $30,000 (incl. premium), Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968), Head of a Reclining Woman, Taisho era (1912-1926), 1924

The exhibition preview of Bonhams' inaugural Himalayan art sale in Hong Kong has also achieved great success, praised for both the quality of the works on view and the museum-level presentation. "The preview of Images of Devotion: Including Masterpieces from the Ulrich Von Schroeder Collection received the awe and excitement of collectors from the US and Europe in advance of the sale in Hong Kong on November 29," said Edward Wilkinson, Executive Director of Bonhams, Asia and Global Head of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art.

Follow Bonhams on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Bonhams1793.

Angela Zonunpari, Public Relations Coordinator U.S.
[email protected], (917) 206-1609


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also 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 forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

Related auctions