Fine works of art set to go under the hammer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am

Chinese ceramics, sculptures and paintings from the US are among the items from auctioneer taking big strides in Asia

Bonhams, one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine arts and antiques, signalled its arrival as a major force in Asia this year, opening up its first Hong Kong office and holding three inaugural auctions in May. The auction achieved the highest sales for the company from inaugural auctions.

The auctioneer aims to further demonstrate its force with a series of three auctions taking place at the JW Marriott Hotel in Admiralty. Starting from Monday, the first sale will be of fine Chinese ceramics, works of art and paintings.

Tuesday will see sales of western and jadeite jewellery, followed by fine wristwatches.

Focusing on high-value consignments from private collections outside Hong Kong, the first auction reflects the preference among Chinese buyers for high-quality art 'fresh to the Hong Kong market'.

The outstanding range of fine works of art is expected to have collectors bidding eagerly, especially for the early Ming gilt-bronze figure of the Bodhisattva Maitreya which has a HK$1.5 million to HK$2 million estimate.

A large 'famille verte' vase, dating from the Kangxi period (1662-1722) and once owned by shipping tycoon T. Y. Chao is expected to realise a price of HK$1.5 million to HK$2 million.

The choice selection of 20th century paintings will include the Lin Fengmian 10-leaf album, The Ten Beauties, which has an estimate of HK$1 million to HK$1.5 million, and Fan Zheng's 13-leaf album Figures, which has a similar estimate.

Sculpture will be represented by two wood carvings by Zhu Ming, one of Taiwan's most famous artists, and a figure from his Taiji series is expected to fetch around HK$400,000 to HK$600,000.

The paintings have been sourced from the United States by Bonhams' specialist Meilin Wang.

She said: 'This is a fine representative group of artists who have consistently proved popular at auction among a wide range of international buyers.

'We expect some strong interest from Taiwan, China and Singapore for three best works by Zhang Daqian, Wu Guanzhong and Fan Zeng.'

Chairman of Bonhams Asia Colin Sheaf said: 'We have responded to our clients' comments after our inaugural auction here in May, and concentrated on sourcing top-quality material in the west for our highly knowledgeable local clients.

'We are proud to be offering such excellent paintings and works of art.'