Highlights of 2014 on ChineseArt.co.uk

As 2014 drew to a close, we selected some highlights of the year in the world of Chinese art here in the UK as reported on ChineseArt.co.uk.

January

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In January, we launched our now popular series of Unusual Chines Art Images. This magnificent oil painting (1910) by Matilda Auchinschloss Brownall of a viewer at The Morgan Collection in New York was featured as one of our early images.

January brought in The Year of the Horse.

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Details of this painting (artist unknown) from Chinese Art in Scotland

February

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Xiao Wei and Yi Fei Li symbolise the new wave of adventurous fashion photography in modern China. Picture by Barrett Sweeger for Cream Magazine.

March

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March saw the tragic and mysterious loss of Malaysian airlines flight MH270 on a March 8 flight out of Singapore. There was a party of 19 Chinese artists, relatives and supporters on board, pictured above at their exhibition in the city state.

April

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Shanghai businessman Liu Yiqian opens his third private museum in the city and shells out US$33.6 million for a tiny chicken cup

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May

Lucy Liu Olympic Fashion shoot 2008

We featured this stunning image of actress and model Lucy Liu, shot in 2008, Olympic Games year, for Harper’s Bazaar

June

£427,250 moment of sale

record breaking charger

A record £427,250 for Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull when they sold this blue and white charger, estimated at £2-3,000.

July

fio sangdeboeuf bowl

The Fiorentini collection of 30 pieces of porcelain was exposed for sale at Bonham’s, Edinburgh and took £105,000. This sang-de-boeuf bowl was knocked down for £11,250.

August

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Shanghai-based Chinese sculptor Chen Dapeng appoints Paul Harris Asia Arts as his agents in the UK in advance of a series of exhibitions.

September

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Major UK exhibition for Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace

October

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The 17th Asian Art in London event opens. Our picture from an exhibition mounted by Michael Goedhuis of outstanding ink and watercolour paintings by Yang Yanping.

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November

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Woolley & Wallis Chinese expert Freya Yuan cradles the top selle, one of a pair of bowls which exceeded £420,000 from their £3.2m. November sale.

December

Royals Will and Kate visited New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was one Chinese picture they didn’t see . . .  Art critic Jerry Saltz posted it on Instagram and got booted off the site. We wonder why!

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Brought Christmas, as ever, but this Santa Claus print from Andy Warhol, offered by Artron in online auction, failed to find an owner.

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. . . and on to 2015. Happy New Year everyone!

Strong prices across the board at Woolley & Wallis Asian sale

There were strong prices across the board at Woolley & Wallis’s 2-day Asian sale in Salisbury. Bidding was not just confined to the crowded room: there were 14 telephone lines active plus the Internet and, of course, there were a large number of Chinese buyers in the room. Woolley & Wallis have well succeeded in bringing in the Chinese buyers, many of whom are regular attenders and they significantly outnumber any local buyers.

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A section of the telephone bank at Woolley & Wallis   Photo Paul Harris

There was an almost festive atmosphere as foreign buyers munched their way through exotic foods in between furiously bidding. The Chinese bidders, many of whom were friends, relentlessly bid against each other. Most of the time the competition was good natured although just occasionally there were some trenchant observations to each other in Mandarin!

It had been expected that the laurels for the sale would go to an early 19th century jade seal with connection to Empress Xiaoyiren. It did not sell in the room (estimated £200,000-300,000) but was sold immediately after the sale (‘a direct after sale’) at a price of £150,000 plus 22% premium. Woolley & Wallis said they were well pleased with the result.

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Top sellers in the sale at £378,200

The top sellers in the sale were a pair of tiny Yongzheng (mark and of the period) doucai lingzhi wine cups which well exceeded their estimate to sell for £378,200 (premium inclusive).

The best prices in the sale were during day 1 when the most expensive lots were exposed for sale, although there were strong prices throughout day 2 – and some surprises. A framed and glazed Tibetan thangka, estimated at £500-1,000, sold for a rather better £31,720.

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The surprise Tibetan thangka: £31,720

There were a large number of snuff bottles for sale on day 2 at the beginning of the sale (most from the collection of the late Mr John Ault). The prices achieved bore no relation to the estimates. They sold, sometimes, for ten or, even, twenty times the estimates. They seemed to set the mood for the day and prices remained strong with relatively few passes.

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Woolley & Wallis’s Chinese expert Freya Yuan shows off one of the pair of doucai cups

The Chinese buyers appeared well pleased with their purchases. For them, it was just another day: the next day they would be off to Duke’s of Dorchester for their Asian sale!

Woolley & Wallis later announced that the two day sale totalled just over £3m. The sale of the Helen Espir Collection of European Decorated Oriental Ceramics (140 lots) took £90,000.

Selected highlights of Asian Art in London demonstrate broad scope of event

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Salisbury auctioneers Woolley & Wallis have a 2-day Asian sale next week, which will include the Helen Espir Collection of decorated porcelain. Highlights of the sale were shown in Duke Street earlier this week.    Photo Paul Harris

We visited some 30 or 40 exhibitions and events associated with this year’s Asian Art in London. In coming days we shall be posting news and features related to the event so do keep watching out – we have already today posted a feature on the artist Daniel Kelly whose work we particularly admire and who is showing at Hanga Ten Gallery in Maddox Street.

1 Laurence Paul Fleur de Lys

On display at Fleur de Lys in Kensington Church Street is this fascinating 19th century painting. Although actually a Japanese painting it is, unusually, of the important Chinese figure, Zhuge Liang who was Chancellor of State for Shu Han during The Three Kingdoms period. He was a trusted confidante and a great and accomplished strategist.

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Toby Bull at the Lyon & Turnbull event at Hakkesan Restaurant     Photo by Paul Harris

Edinburgh-based auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull showed off the highlights of their Asian Sale to take place at the beginning of December – in St. Neots Cambridgeshire(Crosshall Manor). They also staged last Monday evening a fascinating talk by Toby Bull (above), a consultant on fakes and forgery and inter alia a member of the Hong Kong Police Force. We shall report his talk in full on a unique posting next week.

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Freya Yuan of Woolley & Wallis gingerly handles the star item of next week’s sale, the Imperial seal of Empress Xiaoyiren (estimated at £200,000-300,000). Photo Paul Harris

Please look out for forthcoming stories on Chinese export ware, Chinese turquoise porcelain, blanc de chine, fakes and forgeries, what to look out for in Chinese contemporary art, Vietnamese contemporary art and Olympia Art & Antiques Fair Asia exhibitors!