Bonhams expands China and Japan art expertise to meet Asia's boom

Bonhams auction house has announced major additions to its Asian art personnel around the globe.

The news is further evidence of the ever-increasing importance of Chinese and Japanese art to the world markets.

Bonhams, which enjoyed £17m in Chinese art sales at its London headquarters in May, has added two Chinese-nationals to its staff in the British capital, while in Edinburgh - in what is a first for a Scottish auction house - the company has appointed a full-time Asian expert to its number.

Chinese table screen
An early 20th century Chinese table screen sold for £192,000 at Bonhams London in May

The auctioneer has also announced that its first full-time Asian specialist in Australia will be based in Sydney, while a specialist Asian art business-getter has joined the staff in Paris.

"These strategic appointments will give us substantially enhanced abilities to source Asian art for our global auctions, and to develop closer relationships with Chinese clients", director of Asian Art Colin Sheaf commented, adding that it is "a time of great global demand for Asian art".

The current appeal of Asian art is most keenly felt from within the continent itself.

The growing desire among high-net worth individuals in the increasingly prosperous Asian markets for the best, most desirable, artworks from their homeland has seen many notable pieces return east after decades and sometimes centuries in Europe and North America.

An artwork by Qi Baishi made $65.5m at a China Guardian auction in Beijing in May, a record for a contemporary Chinese artwork.

Art auctions in Asia itself have increased substantially in terms of number and value in recent years.

Christie's first half art sales in Asia were up 48% on the same period in 2010 to £296m.


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