Sotheby’s New York|Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy|Auction Summary

Sotheby’s New York Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy recorded a mediocre sell-through rate of 67% and the top three lots were, as expected, the highlights of the sale. They were artworks by Wang Hui, Zhang Daqian and Chen Peiqiu.

Ranking in the top is Landscape after Ni Zan created by Wang Hui (1632-1717), estimated at US$300,000 – 500,000 and was sold at US$850,000 with buyer’s premium. Wang Hui was an early Qing painter who was best-known for copying many lost Song paintings. Ni Zan (1301-1374) was a notable artist of Nanzong landscape painting. Ni Zan, Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen and Wang Meng are collectively called ‘The Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty’.

The second one is Zhang Daquian (Chang Dai-Chien)’s Blue Cliff and Old Tree, which is estimated at US$450,000 – 650,000 and marked with the year Wushen (1968). It fetched US$840,000 with buyer’s premium. Zhang was suffering from deteriorating eyesight when he created this piece but he was able to reach another new height in his artwork. It was painted when Zhang was living in his house ‘Bade Yuan’ in Brazil, where the present owner bought directly from the artist himself.

There were two lots that sold for US$396,000, ranking the third. One is contemporary painter Chan Peiqiu’s Flowers and Birds After Song Dynasty Master, which was estimated at US$150,000 – 200,000. In early 20th century, most Chinese artists were influenced by Western art, not many artists would pick traditional Chinese art. It is even rarer to have an artist like Chen that chose to imitate art from Five Dynasties and Song dynasty. Another one is Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-chien)’s Lotus, carrying an estimate of US$300,000 – 500,000.


Top Lots

Wang Hui (1632-1717). Landscape after Ni Zan. Ink on paper, hanging scroll.

Lot no.: 540
Size: 106 x 52.6cm
Estimate: US$300,000 - 500,000
Price realized: US$852,500

Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-chien) (1899-1983). Blue Cliff and Old Tree. Ink and colour on paper, mounted for framing.

Lot no.: 706
Size: 59.8 x 83.5cm
Acquired by the present owner directly from the artist when he was living in Brazil
Estimate: US$450,000 - 650,000
Price realized: US$840,500

Chen Peiqiu. Flowers and Birds After Song Dynasty Master. Ink and colour on silk, album of ten leaves.

Lot no.: 631
Size: 27 x 30.3cm (each)
Estimate: US$150,000 - 200,000
Price realized: US$396,500

Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-chien) (1899-1983). Lotus. Ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll.

Lot no.: 705
Size: 135 x 69cm
Estimate: US$300,000 - 500,000
Price realized: US$396,500


Auction Summary

Auction house: Sotheby’s New York
Sale: Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy
Sale no.: N09675
Auction date: 2017/9/14
Sale total: US$10,735,375
No. of lots: 233
Sold: 156
Unsold: 77
Average price per lot: US$68,816
Sell-through rate: 67%

(All prices realized have included buyer’s premium unless otherwise specified)