Met’s China treasures go on block
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.