The Met Is Auctioning Off a Cache of Chinese Ceramics and Jades

The sale features items from the collection of American business titan John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

A group of 17th and 18th-century Chinese ceramics, coming to auction at Bonhams New York. Courtesy Bonhams.

Bonhams New York will bring a trove of Qing ceramics and archaistic jades from the Met to the auction block on March 18, during Asia Week. Dubbed “Passion and Philanthropy: Chinese Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art,” the sale will include some 174 examples, all offered without a reserve, or a minimum amount below which the museum won’t sell them. 

The pieces come from the collections of donors like financier John D. Rockefeller Jr., art dealer Samuel Putnam Avery, real estate heir and insurance magnate William Rhinelander Stewart, and coal dealer Samuel T. Peters.

An elaborately decorated green vase with red handles stands against a gray background.

A massive lime-green sgraffito-ground enameled vase with dragon handles from the Qianlong/Jiaqing period. Courtesy Bonhams.

One of the major pieces on offer comes from Avery’s collection; a massive lime-green sgraffito-ground enameled vase with dragon handles from the Qianlong/Jiaqing period, it bears a high estimate of $120,000. A late Qing Dynasty string of 26 jade beads donated by Peters is expected to go for as much as $35,000. 

A large slender Kangxi blue and white baluster vase and cover, acquired from American locomotive magnate Jacob S. Rogers’s estate, meanwhile, is projected to fetch up to $25,000, and a large Kangxi blue and white ovoid jar and domed cover, also from Rogers, is tagged up to $15,000.

A group of jade objects against a white background.

A group of archaistic jades from China. Courtesy Bonhams.

At the other end of the price spectrum are two 18th-century miniature blue and white jars, measuring just over two inches high and with a low estimate of $100, and a 19th-century famille-rose circular covered box and liner, with a low estimate of $400. 

Taking place March 14–22, Asia Week New York will see dealers, auction houses, and museums throughout the city focus on the region. Last year, a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai set  a record for the artist when it fetched $2.8 million at Christie’s.

“It is an incredible privilege to be entrusted with works of such impeccable provenance and present them to a wider audience for the first time in over a century,” said Dessa Goddard, vice-president and the U.S. head of Asian art. “Over the last few years, Bonhams has established itself as a world leader in Chinese art and have had resounding success bringing to auction some of the most remarkable collections formed throughout the 20th century. We look forward to this collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art finding equal success.”

Asaph Hyman, global head, Chinese ceramics and works of art, said, “This historical selection sold by the Met—amongst the great world museums—offers worldwide collectors an exceptional opportunity to add a piece of superb collecting history to their own collection. We are truly honored to have been appointed by the Met to present this fascinating collection, and our entire team, led by Michael Hughes, is very much looking forward to this special event.”

The Met Museum’s Asian art holdings number some 35,000 objects, and ranks as one of the world’s largest. Avery donated over 1,300 Chinese and Japanese porcelains, and Peters donated some 350.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.