Hokusai's 'Great Wave' Print Fetches Record $1.6 Million at Christie's; $35 Garage Sale Find Brings Over $700k at Sotheby's

  • March 17, 2021 16:11

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Katsushika Hokusai, Kanagawa oki nami ura (Under the well of the Great Wave off Kanagawa), circa 1831, brought a record $1.6 million.

Christie’s Tuesday sale of Japanese Art and Korean Art achieved a total of $9,712,250 with 85% sold by lot and 197% hammer above low estimate. There was global participation with registered bidders from 35 countries and 51% of lots sold to online buyers.

The top lots of the sale were a hanging scroll by Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800), Pair of Cranes and the Rising Sun, which set the artist record, achieved five-times its low estimate, selling for $1,590,000; and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Under the Well of the Great Wave off Kanagawa, which sold for $1,590,000 against its low estimate of $150,000 and established the auction record for the artist. The top Korean work of art was a gilt-bronze standing figure of Buddha, which realized $162,500 against its low estimate of $30,000.

A magnificent and monumental gray schist figure of Buddha Shakyamuni that sold for $1,950,000.

Notable results were also realized for prints and paintings by ukiyo-e masters such as Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Hiroshige; rare Heian Period Kannon sculpture; modern and contemporary art by Shinoda Toko, Inoue Yuichi and Kato Gizan; selections of lacquer works, metalworks, screens and important Korean Works of Art.

On Wednesday, the sale of South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art Including Works by Benodebehari Mukherjee from the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation achieved a total of $4,352,125.

The top lot of the sale was Francis Newton Souza’s Family, 1946, that sold for $822,000. Other notable results included Tyeb Mehta’s Confidant, 1962, which sold for $750,000; Narayan Shridhar Bendre’s Untitled (Construction), 1987, that sold for $225,000; and Sayed Haider Raza’s Encounter, 2000, that realized $187,500. Contemporary works performed with strong results for works including an impressive group of prints and a sculpture by Zarina.

Christie’s sale of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art achieved a total of $7,272,750 with 85% sold by lot and 89% sold by value.

The top lot of the sale was a magnificent and monumental gray schist figure of Buddha Shakyamuni that sold for $1,950,000. Other highlights include a rare painting of the patron, Hvashang that sold for $750,000 and an illustration from the ‘Lambagraon’ Gita Govinda series that sold for $575,000.

At Sotheby's, a rare 15th century porcelain bowl purchased at a Connecticut yard sale for just $35 was bid up to nearly $722,000 on Wednesday.

The piece, dating from the early 1400s during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, is one of only seven such bowls known to exist in the world and featured cobalt blue floral design on a white ground. Sotheby’s had estimated the small bowl to bring between $300,000 and $500,000. 

“Today’s result for this exceptionally rare floral bowl, dating to the 15th century, epitomizes the incredible, once in a lifetime discovery stories that we dream about as specialists in the Chinese Art field,” Angela McAteer, head of Sotheby’s Chinese Works of Art Department, said in a statement.

A rare blue-and-white bowl from China's Ming dynasty brought nearly $722,000 at Sotheby's. The consignor bought it for $35 at a yard sale.

Asian Art Week sales continue through the week.

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