Met’s China trea­sures go on block

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­

Any­one in the mar­ket for that Ming vase you al­ways wanted, take note.

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art will be sell­ing more than 700 pieces of Chi­nese ce­ram­ics through live and on­line auc­tion sales at Christie’s next week.

The lot fea­tures Song through Qing dy­nasty works orig­i­nally from the col­lec­tions of John D. Rock­e­feller Jr, Sa­muel Put­nam Avery and other prom­i­nent Amer­i­can col­lec­tors.

Pro­ceeds from the auc­tion, ti­tled Col­lected in Amer­ica: Ce­ram­ics from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art, will ben­e­fit the mu­seum’s ac­qui­si­tions fund. There will be a live sale on Sept 15 and an on­line sale from Sept 13-22.

The pieces are all part of the mu­seum’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, ei­ther pur­chased or gifted on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions since the late 19th cen­tury.

One of the ear­li­est pieces came to the mu­seum in 1879, when the Met first started pur­chas­ing Chi­nese art, ac­cord­ing to Margi Gristina, Christie’s head of Chi­nese art.

Gristina said that the mu­seum is sell­ing pieces that it ei­ther al­ready had du­pli­cates of or were not con­sid­ered mu­seum qual­ity.

“They were look­ing for things to re­duce their vol­ume a lit­tle bit, while be­ing able to raise some money for their ac­qui­si­tion fund,” she said.

“It could be a pe­riod piece — like a Qian­long pe­riod thing — but maybe the painter was not hav­ing a good day, or maybe it’s not in very good con­di­tion. Or we have some re­ally beau­ti­ful top qual­ity things that they have two or three of the same type, so they’re sell­ing those,” she added.

Pieces from the sale went on tour in Hong Kong and Lon­don, where they drew strong in­ter­est from po­ten­tial buy­ers.

Pieces from the Rock­e­feller col­lec­tion and im­pe­rial pieces got a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back from in­ter­ested buy­ers.

A peach-bloom glazed chrysan­the­mum vase is ex­pected to fetch be­tween $700,000 and $900,000. A rare green and yel­low-glazed “dragon” jar could bring in $50,000 to $70,000.

“We’ve had a lot of in­ter­est fro­mom China from what I un­der un­der­stand,” and,” she said. “But I think it’s also goin­go­ing to at­tract Amer­i­can­mer­i­can col­le­crs col­lec­tors who rec­og­nize the­se­hese prove­nances fro­mom Rock­e­feller too J.P. Mor­gan to o Ben­jamin Alt­man,lt­man, and per­haps er­haps will ap­pre­ci­atep­pre­ci­ate a pieceiece and be a lit­tlet­tle forgiving on n the con­dion con­di­tion just to get a pieceiece from that col­lec­tion.”ol­lec­tion.”

Gristina said she he an­tic­i­pates strong rong sales be­cause of the strength of the mu­seum’s ums brand and be­cause of who owned the pieces be­fore the

Met ac­quired them.

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