Sotheby's New York sale of Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy realized $31,319,375, over two times the high estimate of $13 million. The highly anticipated cover lot, The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy by Su Shi, sold for $8,229,000, the highest realized price of all the Asian art sales in New York this fall.
Rongde Zhang, Head of Sotheby’s Chinese Classical Paintings Department in New York, said: “I am delighted to begin my time at Sotheby’s with this $31.4 million auction. The sale of The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy for $8.2 million will be remembered as a landmark in this auction category. Six collectors from the US and different parts of Asia competed for the piece demonstrating the amazing power of Su Shi nearly 1,000 years after his life. The extraordinary eight hour sale was marked by strong prices for artists across this diverse and wonderful field with Bada Shanren, Zhang Daqian, and many others achieving multiples of the estimates. Calligraphy was also increasingly in demand with collectors driving prices for 15th century poems and letters by the likes of Zhang Jun, Zhu Yunming, and Wu Kuan far beyond the top estimates.”
Following the successful results of the spring auctions, Sotheby’s New York’s 2013 autumn sale of Fine Classical Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy will again present an exciting selection of exceptional paintings and manuscripts. As the grand finale of New York Asia Week, exquisite works dating from the Northern Song dynasty to the turn of the 20th century, have been gathered from collections around the globe.
This anticipated sale is led by Gongfu Tie, a magisterial calligraphy work by Su Dongpo (1037-1011), one of the best-known central figures in Chinese literary and political history. A famed essayist, poet, painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome and statesman of the Song Dynasty, his influences in Chinese and Japanese culture is far-reaching and instrumental. Other highlights include a rare letter by Bada Shanren, a delightful album of letters by early Qing master Yun Shouping, as well as works by prominent historical figures such as Wang Shimin, Zeng Guopan, Li Hongzhang, Peng Yulin and Wangfang. This rich and diverse display of Chinese history culminates in dazzling paintings by modern virtuosos Zhang Daqian and Lin Fengmian.