Freeman’s September 13 Asian Arts auction attracted an international crowd, with collectors from China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan filling the first floor gallery. The 702 lot sale boasted four private collections, including the Collection of Dr. Morris Shelanski; Property from Glendower Estate, Charlottesville, VA; Paintings from the Mi Chou Gallery Collection, Part II; and Property from the Collection of Henry C. Gibson & Family. Achieving a total of $5.8 million, $2.6 million was generated from the Gibson & family’s 25 lot section of the auction.
In the weeks leading up to the sale, the Henry C. Gibson collection generated much interest from the Far East. “Mr. Gibson's acquisitions in China occurred at a time when that nation and its ruling dynasty were in decline and cultural treasures were available for purchase by Western collectors and enthusiasts. After many years of careful stewardship by the Gibson family, many of these works were repatriated to their home nation whose thriving economy and renewed passion for traditional arts is driving today’s strong Asian arts market,” said Asian Arts Department Head Richard Cervantes.
The top three lots from the Gibson collection were also the highest prices achieved at Saturday’s auction. All were sold to collectors in Asia. The centerpiece was a large and very rare Imperial Ge-type moon flask from the Yongzheng period. This monumental flask, which embodies the fine ceramic craftsmanship of Qing imperial potters under the supervision of Tang Ying during the early 18th-century, surpassed its initial estimate of $200,000-400,000. The competition for the piece was fierce and was finally won by a phone bidder for $903,750. A finely-carved Chinese white jade circular table screen also from the Qianlong period sparked a heated bidding war within the room before finally selling for $783,750. Rounding out the top three lots was an 18th century Chinese huanghuali compound cabinet, which sold to a collector in the room for $363,750. Proceeds from Gibson portion of the auction will benefit the Henry Foundation for Botanical Research founded by Mary K. Gibson Henry.
Paintings from the Mi Chou Gallery Collection also fared very well. Founded in 1954, Mi Chou is believed to be the first American gallery to exhibit and sell classical and contemporary Chinese paintings. Works by Chinese artist Chen Qikuan were the most popular. “Moonlight at Jade Tower” dated 1961 ($99,750); “School of Shrimps” dated 1964 ($75,000); “Moonlight Through Bamboo” dated1962 ($68,750); and “Remnant Lake” (Lake Towanda, Japan) dated 1960 ($68,750) soared past their initial estimates of $7,000-10,000 to achieve impressive results. The total collection brought more than $350,000.
Top lots from Freeman’s September 13 Asian Arts auction
- Lot 157 Large and very rare Imperial Ge-type moon flask, Yongzheng mark in underglaze blue and of the period, $903,750 (Gibson)
- Lot 163 Finely-carved Chinese white jade circular table screen, Qianlong period, $783,750 (Gibson)
- Lot 171 Rare Chinese huanghuali compound cabinet, 18th century, $363,750 (Gibson)
- Lot 195 Fine Chinese huanghuali painting table, 17th/18th century, $195,750
- Lot 202 Fine pair of Chinese huanghuali armchairs, 18th century, $159,750 (Glendower Estate)
- Lot 164 Large and very rare Imperial Chinese cloisonné and gilt bronze censer, Qing Dynasty, 17th/18th century, $147,750 (Gibson)
**All prices are reported with buyer’s premium.