Sunday, 18 November 2018
Sunday, 11 November 2018
Sunday, 4 November 2018
It’s fair to say that Western gardeners don’t pay much attention to the humble chrysanthemum. In Chinese culture the plant has fared rather differently. Inspired by its ability to resist winter chills, Chinese emperors drank wines laced with chrysanthemum, poets praised what they called “the petals of longevity”, and the intricate forms of chrysanthemum flowers came to figure prominently in Chinese art.
Symbolically the flower is associated with long life, good fortune and the season of autumn, so it’s appropriate that the most expensive piece in Adam’s first-ever specialist auction of Fine Oriental Ceramics, Sculpture and Art is a green “chrysanthemum dish” (Lot 74, €40,000-€60,000).
Why such a high estimate for such a tiny dish?
“It dates from the Yongzheng period, which was quite a short one, 1723 to 1735, and porcelain from that time is known for its high technical quality,” says Ronan Flanagan of Adam’s fine art department. “Porcelains were moving away from blue and white, and coloured glazes were the order of the day. The chrysanthemum dishes are well known to the market, and highly collectible.”
Sunday, 28 October 2018
Chinese art auction giants are aiming at the duopoly of Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but it looks a long shot. State-backed behemoth Poly International and China Guardian, both Beijing-based, now dominate the $7.1 billion global market for Chinese art and antiques. Having crushed smaller local rivals, they are expanding abroad. But their parochial, state-protected nature hobbles them. The Western houses’ offshore share looks safe for now.
The meteoric rise of Chinese auctioneers can be partly attributed to laws restricting foreigners from selling antiquities on the mainland – given a history of Western imperialists sneaking precious artefacts out of the country. That helped China’s Poly Auction, the world’s third largest auction company, rake in sales of $1.6 billion in 2017, according to a report by Art Basel and UBS; Guardian logged over $1 billion.
Dominance at home freed Poly and Guardian to compete abroad. Guardian founder Chen Dongsheng, for example, took a near 14 percent stake in the Sotheby’s two years ago, becoming its largest shareholder. Poly has since set up shop in Sydney, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York.
Sunday, 21 October 2018
Sunday, 14 October 2018
Luo Ying is a purist. The professor of traditional Chinese painting practises what she teaches: her classical ink landscape paintingsborrow techniques and styles of brushwork used as far back as the Song dynasty (960 – 1279AD).
“Chinese ink painting is the quintessence of our nation’s heritage. It is a timeless, classical art form that we can proudly show off to the world. There is no need to adulterate it with contemporary elements,” says the 44-year-old Hangzhou native at her first exhibition in Hong Kong.
Luo fears that clumsy attempts to make Chinese ink art relevant to today’s world can take the focus away from traditional techniques and the underlying philosophy of the ancient art form. “Showing figures wearing face masks to make a point about air pollution is a bad idea, I think. You can watch the news if you want to find out about current affairs. Chinese paintings are not supposed to be about that.”
Sunday, 7 October 2018
I must admit the eye-popping figure Christie's is expecting to fetch for Su Shi's Wood and Rock painting is hard to ignore. However, I find it extremely hard to ignore the fact that Su Shi's student's work managed to sell for a whooping $13million more than the estimated amount of Su Shi's painting! And mind you, that was 8 years ago. Maybe collecting an apprentice's work of art is not such a bad idea after all.