With sales nearing $130M, Asia Week New York returns with robust sales, enthusiastic crowds
March 30, 2023
NEW YORK, NY.- Ending their 9-day run on March 24th, the 14th edition of Asia Week New York returned with the energy and exuberance of pre-pandemic years with twenty-six galleries and six auction houses reporting sales that collectively rang up an impressive $131,267,504 in sales.
At press time, this figure includes 22 out of 26 galleries reporting and 5 out of 6 auction houses–Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, Heritage, and Sotheby’s. iGavelAuctions had three sales, one of which closed on March 21st with the other two ending on March 30th and April 18th, respectively.
Said Dessa Goddard chairman of Asia Week New York: “This March, increasing levels of international travel by scholars and colleagues from around the globe demonstrated once again what a powerful magnet New York City is for all of us who value celebrating our love for Asian Art with our colleagues and friends. We congratulate our members’ brilliant successes this week and look forward to sponsoring an exciting year of activities leading up to our 15th anniversary in 2024.”
To celebrate this great week of exhibitions, auctions and events, a gala reception co-hosted by Asia Week New York and the Asian Art Department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art took place at the Museum. Andrea Bayer, Deputy Director for Collections and Administration, Dessa Goddard, the Chairman of Asia Week New York and Mike D. Hearn, the Douglas Dillon Chairman of the Department of Asian Art welcomed the ebullient crowd of over 600 guests comprised of international collectors, curators, gallery owners, and scholars who packed the imposing Great Hall.
Here is a sampling of the responses and sales from the dealers:
Ancient and/or Contemporary Chinese Art
Collectors snapped up several Chinese porcelain pieces from Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc. Among them were a large circa 17th century Shunzhi/early Kangxi period saucer dish with Qilin decoration, a pair of Kangxi period figural plates, and a rare blue-and-white vase with French mounts and clock.
"Curators and their directors arrived from museums across the country, both private and academic," said Craig Yee, of the Bejing-based gallery, INKstudio. He reported that the monumental Splendid Flowers Valley, which was part of their exhibition Many Splendored Spring, by the Taiwanese artist Peng Kanglong sold, as did several figure paintings and portraiture by Li Jin from Tianjin.
“It was very successful as far as sales and foot traffic were concerned,” said Eric Zetterquist, the owner of Zetterquist Galleries, which specializes in Chinese objects dating to the 14th century and earlier. Zetterquist reported that two-thirds of The Mary and Cheney Cowles Collection of Chinese Ceramics sold. “It was wall-to-wall people every day, all day long, with many visitors from all over the world happy that Asia Week New York was back.”
Ancient and/or Contemporary Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art
Brendan Lynch, of the London-based gallery Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd., reported that among their sales a Folio from an Ottoman album Two nightingales in a rose bush, signed by Abdullah Bukhari (d. 1745) Turkey, circa 1725-45 and Buland Darwaza Gateway at Fatehpur Sikri Company School, Agra, circa 1815 were purchased by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Princeton University Art Museum, respectively.
“This year’s Asia Week New York witnessed a re-energized presence of institutions as well as private collectors, the strongest since the pandemic years,” said Sanjay Kapoor of Kapoor Galleries. Among the pieces that sold was a gray schist relief of Panchika and Hariti, Gandhara, dated 2nd-3rd century. According to Kapoor, some of the museums or their representatives that visited his gallery include the Yale University Art Gallery, Princeton University Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and many others.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian, Minneapolis, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, as well as very serious and informed private collectors all paid a visit to Thomas Murray, the Indian and Indonesian textile specialist. Murray noted that their focus was on Indonesian textiles and Indian trade cloths–a woman’s art form both historically and aesthetically important. “Museums are keen to acquire paintings by women to help redress the long existing imbalance in their collections. Considering budgetary limitations, when it comes to textile art, a curator can deliver a high 'price-performance ratio',"said Murray. Among the pieces that were snapped up was an 18th century Ramayana Trade Cloth, India, for the Indonesian Market and a 17th /18th century Ceremonial Cloth and Sacred Heirloom, from the Maá, Coromandel Coast, India, traded to the Toraja region, Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Ancient and/or Contemporary Japanese Art
Ippodo Gallery featured Terumasa Ikeda: Iridescent Lacquer, a single-artist exhibition that focused on Terumasa Ikeda’s revolutionary laser-incised raden technique, a method the artist spent eight years developing. Said gallery owner Shoko Aono, “During Asia Week New York 2023, we welcomed collectors, art lovers, scholars, and curators from museums worldwide to our exhibition. The artist himself flew from Japan and attended the exhibition in New York for two weeks, and Ikeda sensei developed meaningful new relationships with new friends, communicating ideas about the merging of traditional techniques and modern technology and themes. Both our artist’s talk and opening reception garnered great responses, and our attendees were excited to see cutting-edge design and technology combined with traditional craft. We are glad that Terumasa Ikeda's first overseas solo exhibition has been such a success.” Collectors snapped up Ikeda’s delicate jewel-like pieces including “Shore" Incense Container, made of Urushi lacquer, cypress, mother-of-pearl, turbo snail pearl, silver lip oyster, and gold.
Among the works in the exhibition Japanese Paintings and Prints: 1800-1860 at Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art that sold was Large Map of China, a large, imaginary view of China which was the last map that Hokusai made. Unlike his earlier maps, the four points of the compass are marked, and we are looking from south to north. China is pictured as full of mountains, the peaks of which have small, rectangular labels attached to them, giving their names. Hokusai’s point of reference may have been guidebooks, such as the Illustrations of Famous Places in China, which was published early in the nineteenth century.
“This Asia Week New York felt more like a reunion, a homecoming, a celebration, and at many times, simultaneously all of the above,” said Joan Mirviss of her eponymous gallery. As the pandemic struck during Asia Week New York 2020, now three years later, there has been an air of poignancy and joy for just being together again and being able to celebrate the art that we all love collectively. We were blessed with a remarkably steady flow every day of serious Asian art connoisseurs and enthusiasts.” To date, Joan B Mirviss LTD sold over ninety works of art (some sales still pending) from Painted Clay: Wada Morihiro and Modern Ceramics of Japan–an exhibition of this master's oeuvre alongside the many Japanese artists who paint on clay–to clients and museums from across the country, Asia, and Europe. “All in all, this Asia Week New York has been truly extraordinary for me.” The gallery also collaborated with Shibunkaku, a prominent Kyoto- and Tokyo-based gallery, here specializing in postwar and abstract Japanese calligraphy and paintings.
Nana Onishi of Onishi Gallery welcomed numerous collectors and museum curators. Among the pieces she sold was the most significant one by Osumi Yukie, her leading metal artist who is the first female artist in history who was designated as Living National Treasure in her field. Ms. Onishi was particularly gratified to hear that one of her important collectors who was new to the Asia Week New York programs was very impressed by how well organized the reception at The Metropolitan Museum was and the atmosphere that the Asia Week New York committees, dealers, museum curators and collectors created there. Said Onishi, “It was a very important occasion for celebrating his collection of Asian arts by meeting with other collectors and the dealers that he purchases from in person. Coming to Asia Week New York and joining its programs was very rewarding for him and gave deeper meaning to his collection.”
Said Katherine Martin, managing director of Scholten Japanese Art, “We were very encouraged to see a new wave of energy during Asia Week New York this year. Visitors who hadn’t been here for 4 years were ready, willing, and able to dive back in. Several museums were circling our modern paintings in our Multiple Masters exhibition, and as of mid-week, three Torii Kotondo (1900-1976) hanging scrolls have been reserved for potential acquisition by museums, while all five of the Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) watercolors were snapped up by private collectors, as were several of the woodblock prints by other modern masters on offer (and more sales in the works). Additionally, all four of the Suzuki Harunobu (1724-70) prints included in our exhibition of Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints from the Shin Collection found buyers, as well as an incredibly rare, illustrated poetry book published in 1798 with works by ‘golden age’ luminaries such as Utamaro, Hokusai and Eishi." The Shin Collection included excellent examples of landscape prints by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), which sold well and drove additional sales of Hiroshige prints from the gallery’s collection. One of the stand-out works from the Shin Collection was a rare impression of Night Rain at Karasaki from the Eight Views of Omi by Hiroshige which sold quickly to a private collector.
“We were extremely happy to participate in Asia Week New York for the first time and made new connections with institutions, patrons and collectors, who truly love and support Asian arts,” said Natalie Ku, who reported that Shibunkaku sold pieces to a museum and private collectors. “We look forward to returning next year,” she added.
“Overall, we had a very good turnout, the number of visitors increased significantly from last year, and we received encouraging feedback about our single-artist show Manika Nagare: Spectrum of Vivid Moments which showcased the work of Manika Nagare, a Tokyo-based painter,” said Miyako Yoshinaga of her eponymous gallery, MIYAKO YOSHINAGA. Museum curators expressed their keen interest in acquiring the set of 9 works entitled "Track of Colors" which sheds light on marginalized Japanese female artists of the last centuries.
Ancient and/or Contemporary Korean Art
Heakyum Kim of HK Art & Antiques LLC, who specializes in Korean ancient and contemporary art, sold several paintings by Kim Sou, Cho Yong-Ik, Kim Hyungguen, and Lee Daiwon. “I was delighted with the response from the collectors and pleased to meet many curators who visited my gallery,” commented Ms. Kim.
Museums Return in Full Force
After a three-year absence, curators from over three dozen museums–from the U.S. and abroad– returned in full force seeking out treasures for their Asian art collections. Among the many international institutions represented were the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Harvard Art Museums, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell, the Indianapolis Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the China Institute Gallery, University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum (Oregon), Walters Art Museum, Ringling Museum of Art, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Museum of Art and Design, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the Univeristy of Oregon, Smith College Museum of Art, Crocker Museum, Santa Barbara Museum, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, the Chazen Museum of Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam.