ArtListings > News > Archive > Art Dealers Get Tough as $83 Million Chinese Vase Goes Unpaid

Art Dealers Get Tough as $83 Million Chinese Vase Goes Unpaid

13 December '11 by the editors | Source: www.bloomberg.com

The most expensive Chinese work of art at auction is still not paid for, more than a year after it was bid to 51.6 million pounds ($83 million).

The elaborately decorated Qing-dynasty porcelain vase had been found in a routine house clearance and was included in a sale of antiques on Nov. 11, 2010, by Bainbridges of west London. Its price was more than 50 times the presale estimate and the auction house ceased to comment after several months passed without payment.

Payment is still awaited, a dealer with knowledge of the matter said in an interview. Though some money has changed hands, it doesn’t look as if settlement is imminent, he said.

The record price was the most spectacular in recent sales that saw Asian clients bid multiples of the estimates for rare objects made for Chinese emperors. Bidding hasn’t always been translated into final payment in an international trade that is now valued at $10 billion.

Auctioneer Peter Bainbridge, who broke his hammer as the record was set, wasn’t prepared to publicly comment when visited by Bloomberg News in his West Ruislip auction rooms.

“I’ve signed a confidentiality clause with the buyer,” said Bainbridge, dressed in a frayed crew-neck sweater as he moved pieces of Victorian furniture entered into his next general sale. He would not confirm that the successful bidder on the vase had failed to settle the bill, nor that some money had changed hands.

Hong Kong Offer

“Once you accept a part-payment, your hands are tied,” said the London dealer John Berwald. “Perhaps they should have just canceled the deal and re-offered the vase in Hong Kong. I believe it’s 100 percent genuine. Second time around, it could be worth at least 20 million pounds.”

The piece, thought to be associated with the Qianlong Emperor, went to an agent in the room bidding on behalf of a Chinese collector. The vase featured a pierced “reticulated” body painted in a famille rose palette, and was discovered in the London suburb of Pinner. It was owned by a retired solicitor, Tony Johnson, and his mother Gene, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper. The earlier history of the vase isn’t known.

The reluctance of Bainbridges’ Chinese buyer to settle the record-breaking bill has led other auction houses to ask for deposits on high-value works at Asian art sales.

Paris-based Asian-art specialist Pierre Ansas required clients to leave a 200,000 euro ($265,000) deposit to bid on a Qianlong-period Imperial scroll painting and seal offered at auctions in Toulouse, France, on March 26.

Picture: Bainbridge's via Bloomberg


Read entire article...


More news

Monet's Waterloo Bridge, created during one of his stays at The Savoy, is returning to the London hotel over 100 years after it was drawn.
13 December '11
www.bbc.co.uk


Major auction houses and galleries have been caught up in Beltracchi’s fake art scam
12 December '11
www.theartnewspaper.com


In an effort to grow its business, a Melbourne hotel is displaying an original work by street artist Banksy - and inviting people to walk off with it. For the next month, starting on December 15, any guest who successfully manages to steal “No Ball Games” - a painting valued at up to $15,000 - will be allowed to keep it.
12 December '11
www.theaustralian.com.au


Celebrated German artist reflects on his work before opening of his biggest UK show, at White Cube gallery in London.
12 December '11
www.guardian.co.uk


A rediscovered painting by Velazquez sold for 3 million pounds ($4.7 million) at an auction in London today as wealthy international collectors battled for trophy Old Master paintings.
11 December '11
www.bloomberg.com


British artist Damien Hirst will fill 11 Gagosian galleries worldwide with shows of his 'Spot' paintings, many for sale. But how much is too much?
11 December '11
www.latimes.com


An outstanding, unfinished Édouard Manet portrait of a woman sitting sedately on a balcony has had a temporary export bar placed on it by the government in the hope that someone will raise £28m to keep the painting in the UK.
09 December '11
www.guardian.co.uk


Participatory art, as it turns out, is not all fun and games. The New Museum, whose exhibition of the work of the Belgian-born artist Carsten Höller has been packing in crowds since it opened last month, has raised its general admission price to $16, from $12.
09 December '11
artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com


Booming art prices have produced plenty of "treasures in the attic" of late, and this week could see another when a painting first valued at 300 pounds ($470) is set to fetch up to three million after Bonhams discovered it was by Velazquez.
07 December '11
www.reuters.com


A painting attributed to one of Rembrandt's students has now been identified as one done by the master's hand. An advanced x-ray technology has revealed outlines of a self-portrait by a young Rembrandt underneath an oil painting of an old bearded man.
07 December '11
www.artfixdaily.com


Art experts have signed a petition to stop drilling into a fresco in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio which may be hiding a Leonardo Da Vinci work.
07 December '11
www.bbc.co.uk


Although Leonardo da Vinci died almost half a millennium ago, he has had a great year. The success of his show at the National Gallery in London has been sensational.
07 December '11
www.bloomberg.com


Being told that a work of art is fake alters your response to it, researchers at Oxford University have found.
07 December '11
www.telegraph.co.uk


Traders snared in a conmen's scam are pursued with demands to pay huge sums for an advertising listing.
05 December '11
www.guardian.co.uk


Art Miami, Miami’s longest running contemporary art fair and anchor fair to the City of Miami, announced at the close of the fair’s fourth day (Saturday) that collective sales exceeded the 2010 figures by more than double.
05 December '11
www.artfixdaily.com


The 3rd edition of Miami International Art Fair (MIA), one of America's most exciting mid-winter contemporary art fairs, will return January 12-16, 2012 with a dynamic ensemble of 28 international galleries representing artist from Europe, Latin America, United States and Asia.
05 December '11
www.artdaily.org


Even a show-off like me finds this new, super-rich art-buying crowd vulgar and depressingly shallow.
05 December '11
www.guardian.co.uk


Days after Manhattan’s 165-year-old Knoedler & Co. art gallery unexpectedly closed, a London hedge- fund executive sued it and its former director, Ann Freedman, accusing them of selling a forged Jackson Pollock painting.
05 December '11
www.bloomberg.com


Follow ArtListings
New on ArtListings
Latest art news
Art & Antiques Fairs