Here is our pick of Asian Art in London at 20

We spent four days seeing as much as we could of the 20th year of Asian Art in London, a veritable panoply of wonderful things on display and many on offer. Here are our favorite objects and exhibits, in no particular order.

20171109_160458 Eskenazi Limestone Hands being a portion of a much larger funerary piece and curiously modern in its appearance. Northern Qi period 550-575. Xiangtangshan Cave Temples. From Eskenazi’s exhibition of Six Dynasties Art from the Norman A Kurland Collection.  Photo Paul Harris

20171109_160633 Eskenazi Two Caparisoned Horses From the same outstanding exhibition, two painted earthenware horses, Northern Qi. Photo Paul Harris

20171109_160903 Eskenazi  Two Figures Earthenware Northern Wei period (early 8th century). As with all the Eskenazi exhibits, superb lighting which made photography a delight! Photo Paul Harris

20171110_105831Marchant  Kangxi Famille Verte Within their Kensington Church Street premises old-established dealers Marchant held a breathtaking exhibition of Kangxi famille verte pieces put together by them from stock items dating back more than a decade and including several bearing the provenance of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A great show.  Photo Paul Harris

20171109_155703 Ben Janssens  Their lease at an end in their Jermyn Street premises, Ben Janssens put on his show, as usual marked by the exquisite small objects on display, in temporary space in Old Bond Street. We particularly liked the exhibit in the foreground Group of Black Pottery Horses, Figures and a Carriage (Yuan Dynasty 1279-1368).  Photo Paul Harris

20171109_162345 Berwald Our attention was grabbed by this evocative rendering of a Silk Road mercant and his camel. Tang Dynasty. Photo Paul Harris

20171110_161203 Cohen & Cohen showed their usual large selection of Chinese export pieces, this time in the capacious premises of Colnaghis in St James’s which served to show off the exhibits at their best. Probably the most eyecatching was a pair of wall sconces, design attributed to Cornelius Pronck (1736-40) and entitled The Flamethrower. If you need to ask the price, you can’t afford it . . . offers please in the region of £280,000 for these exquisite pieces.   Photo Paul Harris

20171109_132648East Meets West Exhibition at The Design Centre in Chelsea concentrating on the work of contemporary young Japanese and Chinese artists. Centre, The Winter at Lianghe Village (2011) a woodcut  by Yu Chengyou.  Photo Paul Harris


It’s the word on the street . . . Sotheby’s man Robertson spills the beans

exclusive sloping to top

On Monday of last week, Sotheby’s Institute Head of Art Business Studies, Ian Robertson, got to his feet in The Albemarle Gallery and spilled the beans on where it is at in the Asian art market . . .  and where it is going. Here are the highlights!

In relation to the Chinese art market (our concern) he confirmed the popularity of everything Qing. Rather surprisingly, he observed, “If you have a Quianlong vase, you should bring it to the market now.” The implication was clear: the rise may not continue.

Addressing the question of why Asian Art in London is so popular, he said that London dealers have the best stock. An off the cuff observation was made about long-established dealer Eskenazi, “Where on earth does Eskenazi get it all?” He applauded the current exhibition in Clifford Street but there was a genuine bemusement on Robertson’s part as to how the dealer kept unearthing such wonderful items.

An area he tipped for rising prices is what he termed ‘Russian Asia’ where “the market is very strong”. He said that there “most of the money goes into non-traditional oil paintings”. Also he saw growth in “unique photographs and high quality limited editions”.

In general terms, he said that “Once an artist has made it in Asia he will be around for a while . . .  there are plenty of collectors and his works will circulate around them for a while.” However, he opined that “it is still rare to see good contemporary Asian art in London.”

Remember, you heard it here first!