The 10th anniversary celebration of Asia Week New York—the Asian art extravaganza—which concluded on March 23, 2019– reported that combined sales totaled $150,544,501. At press time, this figure includes 43 out of 48 galleries and the five six auction houses: Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, Heritage Auctions and Sotheby’s. (iGavel’s online sale ends April 16).
To mark the 10- year milestone, a champagne reception was held in the Patrons Lounge at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to honor a group of ten distinguished collectors, museum professionals and dealers, who have made significant contributions to advancing Asian art in North America. The honorees included Diane and Arthur Abbey, Dr. Julia and John Curtis, Maxwell “Mike” Hearn, Elizabeth B. “Lillie” and Edward “Ned” Johnson 3d, James Lally, Soyoung Lee, Stephen Little, Joan B. Mirviss, Amy G. Poster, and Shelley and Donald Rubin.
Said Christina Prescott-Walker, chairman of Asia Week New York. “Honoring these prominent individuals leant special meaning to the 10th anniversary of Asia Week New York, which has grown in stature with its whirlwind round of activities including the simultaneous opening of 48 gallery exhibitions spanning five centuries combined with the large number of important auction sales. We look forward to continued success as we plan for 2020.”
Following the speeches and toasts, the celebration moved downstairs to the Asian art galleries for the gala reception co-hosted with the Asian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Christina Prescott-Walker, chairman of Asia Week New York, Max Hollein, Director of The Met, and Mike Hearn, chair of the Asian Art Department and welcomed over 650 collectors, curators and Asian art specialists.
Here’s a cross-section of responses from some of the participating dealers:
Said Joan Mirviss of her eponymous gallery, “I never anticipated the incredible response this exhibition ignited, first from the Japanese artists themselves, who had never seen or participated in such an exhibition, then from the Western collecting public, both private and institutional, and last from the press. My gallery’s exciting exhibition, now entering the second week of a six-week run, has only a few works yet to be spoken for out of an original selection of over eighty vessels and sculptures spanning nearly a century.” One of the items snapped up by a private collector was, a white slip-glazed flattened vessel with flared base and mouth, with curvilinear decoration in blue overglaze enamel, by Kamoda Shōji.
Sanjay Kapoor of Kapoor Galleries was pleased that the main highlight of his gallery’s exhibition –the Avalokiteshvara–found a home at a prestigious American institution. “Asia Week New York continues to deliver the right group of collectors and curators,” he said.
Kaikodo LLC saw more American collectors buying this year, with the Chinese buyers continuing their quest for good works of art. “We were very pleased with the sales this year,” said Carol Conover, the gallery’s managing director. “Private collectors and curators were on the scene from the minute we opened our doors.” Among the sales was Plovers in Grass, a beautiful 13th century hanging scroll in ink and color on silk,
Said gallery director Margo Thoma: “TAI Modern had a wonderful time at this year’s Asia Week New York, and our clients and visitors loved seeing the bamboo artwork in person in such a lovely space. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate, share, and connect.” One of the bamboo pieces snapped up was Flame, by female Japanese bamboo artist Kajiwara Aya.
Shawn Ghassemi of Art Passages reported that three pieces–including the one of the main highlights, a miniature Qahar dynasty Qur’an, circa 19th century– were acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with several pieces are under consideration to other museums.
“We were very pleased with the warm response to our collection of landscape paintings produced by the Japanese-American artist Kakunen Tsuruoka when he was confined with his family to the Poston Relocation Center in Arizona during World War II,” said Katherine Martin, director of Scholten Japanese Art. The Tsuruoka family decided to offer the paintings on the market in an effort to bring recognition to Kakunen’s life and work. “It’s not often that one can present a comprehensive grouping such as this by a single artist of an important subject with impeccable provenance,” added Martin. At least eight works, thus far, are destined for American museums.
Chinese specialist Eric Zetterquist of his eponymous Zetterquist Galleries in New York commented: “A magnificent barbed-rim Vietnamese charger with depictions of four islands was one of the highlights of the John Menke Collection of Vietnamese ceramics that we sold this season.”
Brendan Lynch, of the London-based gallery Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch, reported that their highly successful exhibition, Indian and Persian Court Painting, sold to private collectors and museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Museum, Princeton, and The Cincinnati Art Museum. Among the highlights was Emperor Shah Jahan and his sons in audience with a holyman, India, Northern Deccan, probably Aurangabad, 1710-20, which sold to a private collector in California.
Yu Okuzono of Mika Gallery, a first-time participant, remarked: “It was wonderful to be part of Asia Week New York because it offered visitors a chance to enjoy the art from many different Asian countries. We feel privileged to have been able to contribute to such an event.”
Said Nicholas Grindley, “We welcomed a good selection of mainland Chinese visitors and were pleased to have added to the collections of some of our most important clients. We met new clients and we sold to people who had come into town specifically for Asia Week New York. All in all, a good week!” Grindley reported that a rare banana leaf-shaped inkstone with a Zhao Mengfu inscription, dated to the 17th century was sold.
Erik Thomsen, of his eponymous gallery, was pleased to announce that The Houston Museum of Art acquired Young Girl with a German Shepherd Dog, a two-panel screen, dated 1934.
“Our clients were a cross section of museum curators and private collectors during this show,” said Keum Ja Kang, the founder of Kang Collection Korean Art “and we are delighted to report that we made several sales to both groups.”
Nana Onishi, who specializes in contemporary Japanese metalwork, said: “We were very excited to offer our U.S. collectors a number of Japanese Living National Treasure artists’ masterpieces during Asia Week this year. Our collectors come from all over the world and were very happy with what they discovered. The sales we made in the U.S. will help circulate important cultural works of art on a global scale as well as stimulating the contemporary art market in Japan.” Among the pieces sold was a porcelain round vase with vivid-colored glaze, by Tokuda Yasokichi III, a Living National Treasure.
Said Runjeet Singh of his eponymous gallery, “I have nothing but praise for Asia Week New York. We welcomed collectors and curators to our exhibition and were pleased with the sales that were transacted.” One of the pieces that found a home was an exceptionally rare 17th century Ming or Qing leather quiver, one of two of this type outside the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Martha Sutherland, whose gallery specializes in contemporary Chinese paintings, was pleased with the turnout this year and met many new people who came into her gallery.
Asia Week New York is always a draw for international museum curators on the lookout for treasures, and this year was no different. They came from 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 Newark Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Samuel P. Harn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Denver Art Museum, the Harvard University Art Museums, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell, the Indianapolis Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Portland Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Philadelphia Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, the Virginia Museum of Art, The Berkeley Art Museum, the Princeton Art Museum, The MacLean Collection, the Norton Museum of Art, Asia Society Museum, the Ringling Museum of Art, the Rubin Museum of Art, The China Institute, The Korean Cultural Center, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, the Seattle Art Museum, University of Michigan Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, and from Europe, the British Museum and The Musée Guimet.
Asia Week New York Association, Inc. is a 501(c) 6 non-profit trade membership organization registered with the state of New York.