Notes From An Appraiser April 2017

I am preparing for New York Asia Week. What does that mean, Asia Week? It means the museums, galleries and auctions focus on Asian Art by having special exhibitions, and galleries put together themed exhibits and the New York auction houses have Asian Art auctions. There are lectures across the city at museums, universities or other public domains. One lecture I plan to listen to is given by curator John Carpenter of The Metropolitan, titled “Amusements in a Samurai Mansion” given Sunday, March 12th, 2017.

Of course The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Rubin Museum are must stops to view quality material, as are Asia Society and Japan House. There are more than ten dealers who specialize in Chinese art, four to five who specialize in Japanese art, one in Korean art and four to six in Indian & Southeast Asian Art. Dealers come from Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, Great Britain and naturally United States to sell, buy and look. My account is an over simplification and taken mostly from the Asia Week pamphlet. Many dealers that come don’t advertise in the official handbook, yet all are seen at the various openings, lectures, auctions and museum exhibits. I concentrate on Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses. There are three auctions that feature Chinese paintings and calligraphy, and three more of Chinese Fine Ceramics. I usually sit at the auctions, each for at least one hour and mark realized price in catalogue and watch who is buying. I can see trends or maybe the absence of one.

Contemporary Asian Art definitely has a presence on the art scene during this week. I haven’t ventured into the contemporary galleries before, only seeing the relatively safe museum shows. After a semester of lectures on contemporary Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum last fall, I look forward to seeing NEW ART. More frequently than previous years, I get inquiries regarding appraising contemporary Asian Art, often for charitable contribution and a tax donation credit. This field of contemporary Asian Art has prominence in the market, and I have been asked to appraise contemporary property for museum donation from the Philippines, from China, from Thailand, and from Japan. Many dealers of Antique Asian Art are now counter balancing with contemporary bamboo art, or ceramics, or paintings.

I attend Asia Week New York with my husband, Arthur Leeper, a dealer of Asian Art for more than forty years. It is a special time when our interests in Asian Art overlap and we can benefit from the other. The contacts I make are crucial to finding comparable sales, sensitive information for both buyers and sellers alike. We have different goals and achieve them individually or together. It is a time once a year, when I feel like I’m walking “the yellow brick road”. Upon returning it isn’t to Kansas, but to an open armed Asian Art Museum and community that consistently feeds my curiosity and search for knowledge.