Christie’s no longer holds auctions of Asian art in the UK (it continues to source material here for sale in Paris, New York and Hong Kong) and this year Sotheby’s May offering is missing a live event.
Sotheby’s conducts four online only sales: one for Japanese arms and armour (closing on May 10), another for Japanese woodblock prints (May 10), more Chinese works of art from the comprehensive collection formed by Dr Wou Kiuan (May 17) and a sale titled China 5000 Years (May 19).
However, it would be wrong to talk too much of decline. While it is true that the major sales of Chinese works of art are now held in New York and Hong Kong, the UK still holds its own.
This spring Bonhams embraces the London market with four live sales and, as has become the norm, there is plenty going on in the regions too. Travel outside Mayfair and St James and you will discover a host of sales and – in this season’s crop – a healthy selection of well-provenanced pieces of obvious quality and some notable discoveries.
A selection of highlights appears in this issue.