Friday, April 26, 2013

Christie's Negotiates Return of Bronzes to China, Paid For By Pinault

Christie's Ban in China Lifted after Return of Disputed Bronze Fountain Heads

Christie's Negotiates Return of Bronzes to China, Paid For By Pinault

Qianlong Imperial Summer Palace, The Yuan Ming Yuan
A few weeks ago an article appeared in the New York Times anouncing Christie's has gotten permission and a the first ever special license from the Chinese Mainlaind Government to conduct an auction INSIDE China. The auction is scheduled to take place in Shanghai.

This was a curious announcement as several years ago Christie's got into a spat with the Chinese Govenment resulting in limitations being placed on them and their business activities.

How Did This Happen? Why Did China Do this?

After reading the announcement  I like many instantly thought about the fight started back in 2009 over the Yuan Ming Yuan Chinese Bronzes...So what happened? As the famous announcer Paul Harvey used to say.. , "now for the rest of the story".

All has been Forgiven Between China and Christie's and the Pinault's

The disagreement was over an auction conducted by Christie's in Paris containing two fine Qianlong period animal head bronzes, a Rat and Rabbit. Both had been looted from the Yuan Ming Yuan Summer Palace fountain by the French Army in 1860 following the second Opium War.

In 2009 Christie's conducted an auction of the estate of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. At that time the Chinese government had demanded the two bronzes, be returned to China.

Soon rumors spread following the auction that a shill bidder had bought the bronzes on behalf of the Chinese Government with no intention of paying for them. The bidding had reached nearly 40 Million Dollars . It was a MESS, a Messy MESS. The YSL estate had been inherited by his companion Pierre Berge and was in no mood to discus the heads being repatriated as he had issues over Human Rights Violations of the Chinese Government.

Disputed "Rat and Rabbit" Bronze Heads
Looted in 1860 From Fountain at Yuan Ming Yuan
Since then Christie's had been basically banned from entering China for business purposes. The
bronzes then were returned to  Pierre Berge.

Fast forward to day, a few weeks ago Christie's was given a license to conduct auctions in Shanghai and today we now know why. They in the end helped negotiate the return of the two bronzes to China purportedly with the financial assistance of French billionaire Francois Pinault’s family in France.

Before you get all warm and fussy over this gesture by the French Multi Billionaire..

I forgot to mention one small thing...!!

Francois Pinault Owns Both Christie's and Yves Saint Laurent



The Bronze Heads already in China, now joined
by the ones stolen by the French in 1860.

The  Pinnault family OWNS 100% of Christie's as well as Yves Saint Laurent, along with a slew of other luxury goods companies including Gucci through their PPR Conglomerate.




His family has an estimated net worth of 16 billion dollars...

 China Is Important to Pinault


China has become one of the PPR Company's biggest markets...and its growing rapidly.

He just bought a lot of goodwill for a few million dollars. How much he paid for them has not been disclosed. Its has however been estimated to be between 20 to 30 million dollars.


  • Interestingly he also a High School dropout..think about that as you write those tuition checks for college....




All is well..



Monday, April 08, 2013

Rare Chinese Bowl at Sotheby's Brings 9.5 Million in Hong Kong Auction

Rare Chinese Bowl at Sotheby's Brings 9.5 Million in Hong Kong Auction

Asian Art Market Surges As Prices Rebound

Rare Kangxi falancai bowl

Fine 4.35 inch Kangxi Bowl, Sold at
Sotheby's Hong Kong for 9.5 Million Dollars US

April 8, 2013.

In Hong Kong today Sothebys's conducted an auction of rare Chinese objects ranging from Imperial Porcelain to paintings all of which flew dispelling any ideas that the market hasn't recovered from last year's slowdown. 

Leading the way was the sale of an extremely rare and fine quality Kangxi (1662-1722) Ruby-Ground Double-Lotus "falangcai" bowl which found a buyer with the prominent Chinese dealer William Chak.

The bowl was bought for 9.5 Million dollars ($74 Million HK)  through Mr. Chak and funded by a consortium of investors planning on holding the bowl for five years and will then likely re-sell it, hopefully for a profit. The bowl was  produced around 1710 for the Imperial household of the Kangxi Emperor. Enameled bowls of this type were extremely rare during this time with only a handful of known examples in existence.

Rare Chinese Bowl at Sotheby's Brings 9.5 Million in Hong Kong Auction

Four-character blue Kangxi yuzhi mark

Measuring just 4. 3/8 inches in diameter it is possibly the most expensive piece of porcelain ever sold at auction by the inch ever...

Deputy Chairman of Sotheby's Asia and International Head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Edward Chow was obviously elated, not only with the price but the wide range of interest in the bowl. "Of course, at the very, very top of the market, you do have lots of participation from overseas and other parts of Greater China," 

Sotheby's Catalog entry as follows:

A MAGNIFICENT RUBY-GROUND FALANGCAI ‘DOUBLE-LOTUS’ BOWL
BLUE ENAMEL YUZHI MARK AND PERIOD OF KANGXI

Rare Chinese Bowl at Sotheby's Brings 9.5 Million in Hong Kong Auction

Imperial Kangxi Enamel Double Lotus Bowl

Imperial Kangxi Enamel Double Lotus Bowl, 9.5 Million Dollars

Estimate: Estimate Upon Request
LOT SOLD. 74,040,000 HKD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)THIS IS A PREMIUM LOT. CLIENTS WHO WISH TO BID ON PREMIUM LOTS MAY BE REQUESTED BY SOTHEBY'S TO COMPLETE THE PRE-REGISTRATION APPLICATION FORM AND TO DELIVER TO SOTHEBY'S A DEPOSIT OF HK$2,500,000, OR SUCH OTHER HIGHER AMOUNT AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY SOTHEBY'S, AND ANY FINANCIAL REFERENCES, GUARANTEES AND/OR SUCH OTHER SECURITY AS SOTHEBY'S MAY REQUIRE IN ITS ABSOLUTE DISCRETION AS SECURITY FOR THE BID. THE BIDnow ONLINE BIDDING SERVICE IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR
Imperial Kangxi Enamel Double Lotus Bowl

Imperial Kangxi Enamel Double Lotus Bowl

PREMIUM LOTS.

delicately potted with thin rounded sides rising from a straight foot, the exterior deftly enameled in rich, vibrant, opaque hues with a florid continuous lotus pond landscape, the lotus blooms of yellow, blue, pink and white with the tips of the petals saturated in colour, the single flower heads interspersed with three rare double lotuses, the heads all supported on slender studded stalks gently swaying in the breeze, the vivid colours complemented by the emerald-green lotus pads, their dense network of veins radiating out from the blue-shaded centre towards the furled edges depicted in various stages of aging, some with only yellow and pink on the edges while others with brown withered sections surround insect-eaten holes, the stalks interwoven with thin blades of blue water reeds, all reserved against a luxurious raspberry-red ground, the interior and base left white, the base further enameled with a four-character blue Kangxi yuzhi mark
11 cm., 4 3/8 in.

many thanks for visiting....! Peter Combs, Gloucester, Massachusetts!
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