Jul 24, 2017

Art Market Changes - Especially at Christie's London

A recent NY Times article Live Auctions End at Christie’s South Ken. Will Online Sales Fill the Void? , though not directly related to Asian art sales, is indicative of the changes to the art market in recent years. As one of the people interviewed for the article stated: 
“More and more people want funky postwar design, pictures and decorative objects — and maybe one signature antique,” said William Rouse, managing director of Chiswick Auctions, a suburban London salesroom that is aiming to capitalize on Christie’s departure from South Kensington, one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. “They don’t want big lumps of brown furniture.”

The article also notes the growth in the sales at auction of luxury goods (such as handbags, watches, jewels), describing these as "luxurification” of the 21st-century market," and although sales in these categories were down, sales of old masters, 19th-century pictures and Russian art fared much worse in the past year.

However, Asian art, Impressionist and modern art, and postwar and contemporary art did the best at Christie's in the first half of this year. Overall, online-only auctions have increased in recent years, but Christie's is not necessarily the leader in these; as the article states, "in the first half of 2017, at a time of overall growth in auction sales, Christie’s held 35 online-only auctions compared with 118 digital sales the previous year."

Jun 13, 2017

NEW PUBLICATION TO ANNOUNCE

I am honored to have an essay in the new book, Zen and Material Culture, edited by Pamela D. Winfield and Steven Heine (Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 137-163.



May 10, 2017

Updated Info on Ivory Regulations

The PBS Antiques Roadshow has recently posted a useful article that summaries the current laws pertaining to sale of ivory. Access it here

Feb 14, 2017

Top Chinese Painters in 2016

Artprice market report has just published a listing of the top Chinese painting sales for 2016.
Chinese Painting Sales - 2016
The article notes -
The new records in modern and contemporary art confirm the trend which began recently, notably with the new record reached by ZHANG Daqian (1899-1983), the Chinese Picasso… The sale of Zhang Daqian’s works generated more than $300 million in 2016, although the market has quietened down compared to 2014 when his works raised more than $500m in one year.

Feb 13, 2017

Selling Your Parents' Possessions is Harder than You Think

I've been getting a lot of queries recently from people who need to dispose of family possessions. Sadly, much of what I am asked to evaluate have only minimal decorative value. That is because lifestyles of younger people have changed and they are simply not so interested in antiques, Western or Asian, unless the pieces are really, really special. I am happy to look at things, for my minimun fee, and advise on where things can be sold. But it is important for people who contact me to understand they need to have realistic expectations and in most cases, sales will not be able to pay for care of elderly loved ones.

Much has been written on this issue lately, including this interesting, basic article, Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents' Stuff

Jan 12, 2017

PERSONAL PROPERTY APPRAISERS AND YOU

The Appraisal Foundation has produced a short (2-page) brochure (download it here: PERSONAL PROPERTY APPRAISERS AND YOU), that very succinctly and clearly offers the general public and others who recommend appraisers to individuals (librarians, museum curators, bank trust officers, attorneys, insurance companies, etc.) advice on what qualifications appraisers must have and how to find appropriate specialist appraisers.




Nov 12, 2016

Concise Lowdown on US Ivory Sales Restrictions

I just came across a good, short, and clear article, "Antique Dealers Come Face-to-Face With Ivory Ban" By Kristin Hugo in National Geographic online (July 8, 2016) that explains the difficulties for the antique trade the new ban on sale of endangered species material has caused.

It explains
The new ban restricts interstate sales of ivory items to two narrow categories: antique ivory that’s proven to be more than a century old and items that contain only a little ivory, such as a violin bow with an ivory tip.

 and that
increasing stigma against ivory ownership and tighter regulations at the state and federal levels have been encouraging dealers to gradually get out of the business.

it also points out that
It remains legal to sell antique ivory within states, other than in California, New York, New Jersey, or Hawaii, which have passed state bans on the ivory trade. Other states have legislation pending. That means a market still exists for some ivory sellers. 

Lastly, the article offers some guidance on what to do with ivory items you are unable to sell:
Ivory owners who want to get rid of legally acquired ivory can donate it to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s national wildlife repository, in Colorado, if they’re willing to pay the shipping costs. Or they can simply keep it in their own private collections, which Lang said is a popular option for antique dealers wanting to remove ivory from their stores.

Owners may also offer to donate their ivory to a museum. Art, culture, and science museums in particular might be interested in legally acquired, historically significant ivory, according to Sheila Hoffman, the chair of the American Alliance of Museums’ ethics subcommittee.