Met’s China trea­sures go on block

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - 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.

In par­tic­u­lar, pieces from the Rock­e­feller col­lec­tion and im­pe­rial pieces, in­clud­ing those from schol­ars’ desks, got a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back from in­ter­ested buy­ers, Gristina said.

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 from China from what I un­der­stand,” she said. “But I think it’s also go­ing to at­tract Amer­i­can col­lec­tors who rec­og­nize these prove­nances from Rock­e­feller to J.P. Mor­gan to Ben­jamin Alt­man, and per­haps will ap­pre­ci­ate a piece and be a lit­tle for­giv­ing on the con­di­tion just to get a piece from that col­lec­tion.”

De­spite the cur­rent slow­down in the global art mar­ket, Gristina said she an­tic­i­pates strong re­sults from the sale be­cause of the strength of the mu­seum’s brand and be­cause of the own­ers of the pieces be­fore the Met ac­quired them.

“We’ll hope­fully experience some­thing like the Ellsworth sale in that peo­ple will want a piece of Chi­nese porce­lain from the Met,” she said, re­fer­ring to the Robert Ellsworth col­lec­tion that sold at Christie’s in March 2015, bring­ing in $131.7 mil­lion, the largest ever Asian Art Week haul for Christie’s.

Ning Lu, man­ager of the fine art price data­base at, said that the re­sults of the Met col­lec­tion are go­ing to be the “high­light of the sea­son”.

“This cre­ates a great op­por­tu­nity for col­lec­tors from China who are look­ing for lots with­out ques­tions about their au­then­tic­ity or prove­nance,” she said.


Some of the ce­ram­ics from the Met go­ing on sale next week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.