Asian art

Haughtons’ International Asian Art Fair still rules NY's Asia Week

A diverse offering of Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian and contemporary art


London couple Brian and Anna Haughton once again bring their International Asian Art Fair to New York’s Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street, New York. Veteran fair organisers, the Haughtons have been responsible for the fair since its inception and it is arguably Asia Week’s most prominent event. Its first edition in 1996 coincided with the nascent craze for Asian art in New York, which has since picked up steam.

Last year’s show was a spectacular success, bringing in bevies of institutional collectors, curators from major institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Asia Society, the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Numerous younger collectors also turned up. High prices were asked, and paid. While it is likely that the quality at the Haughtons’ fair will remain high (they pride themselves on rigorous vetting) – with prices to match – it’s anyone’s guess whether present uncertainties about the American economy will affect sales.

This year’s fair includes 57 important European, Far Eastern and American exhibitors. Among them are some notable newcomers: Hirano Kotoken Co.(Japan) shows ancient Chinese works of art; Andy Hei (Hong Kong) exhibits Chinese antique furniture and artworks; Frederick Shultz (New York), a younger dealer of traditional Roman and Egyptian anquities who has branched out into Asian works.

A number of established dealers are returning, such as Europeans John Eskenazi (London) and Gisèle Croës (Brussels), and New York dealers Chinese Porcelain Company, M.D. Flacks and China 2000. Gisèle Croës can be counted on to bring along an array of brilliant Chinese objects. This year, her booth is dominated by stunning examples of ritual Shang bronzes, juxtaposed with similarly spectacular Tang earthenware horses and a pair of large bronze Taotie from the Western Zhou period. Eskenazi’s booth features a contrasting pair of fine Indian objects: an impressive 5th-7th-century sandstone sculpture of Pingala, attendant of the sun god. Surya from Salt Hills in the Southern Punjab abuts an equally stunning sandstone sculpture from Northern India, an erotic depiction of the Marriage of Shiva and Parvati.

Its strength in South Asian, and particularly Indian objects has set the Haughtons’ fair apart in recent years. In addition to the treasure trove at Eskenazi, there is a bevy of spectacular Indian and Islamic objects on view at Spink, including a lion-supported throne of black phyllite from Western Rajasthan or Gujerat, late 10th or early 11th century. Jonathan Tucker and Antonia Frazier (London), formerly with Spink, will make their debut at this year’s fair, with fine examples of Indian, Southeast Asian and Chinese fine and decorative arts. Nancy Wiener (New York) returns to the fair with important red sandstone objects from the Indian Kushan Period.

Japanese art is also well represented at the fair, by sculpture at Brian Harkins (London), screens at Liza Hyde (New York) and ceramics and prints at Joan Mirviss (New York), among others.

Last year’s fair saw an increased presence of contemporary Asian art, especially Chinese, and this year that trend continues. Xuhong Shan’s painting “Mountain #203”, as well as an interesting take on traditional calligraphy by Wucius Wong “Expression in Calligraphy #24” are on view at the booth of Plum Blossoms (Singapore). Michael Goedhuis, who deals in classical art, but has expanded in recent years into contemporary territory, will display the provocative paintings of Taiwanese artist Lio Kuo-Sung, alongside examples of contemporary Chinese art. A significant loss to the fair is New York Contemporary Asian art dealer Ethan Cohen who debuted at the 2000 fair, but won’t be returning this year.

The fair also hosts a special loan exhibition of Japanese cloisonné shippo (Kugi Kakushi and Hiki-te) from the Hosomi Museum, Kyoto. These are exquisitely crafted domestic objects: enamel coverings for door pulls or nail heads and pegs that decorate households. The Hosomi Museum has an exceptional collection of shippo, dating from the Momoyama Period (1568-1600); some of those on view are believed to have been used in the palace of 16th-century Japanese potentate Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

A gala benefit for the Asia Society, the non-profit educational organisation, will take place on 22 March.

For details, contact Madga Grigorian, 220 West 93rd Street, Suite 1A, New York 10025, tel: +1 212 877 0202 fax: +1 212 877 0066 email

Who’s exhibiting

Art of Chen, Taiwan, Art of the Past, New York, Gregg Baker, London, Berwald Oriental Art, London, Blitz Antiek En Kunsthandel, The Netherlands, Bodhicitta Inc, New York, China 2000 Fine Art, New York, The Chinese Porcelain Company, New York, Gisèle Croës, Brussels, Carole Davenport, New York, Barry Davies Oriental Art, London, Judith Dowling, Boston, John Eskenazi, London, Malcolm Fairley, London, MD Flacks Ltd, New York, Flying Cranes Antiques Ltd, New York, Sam Fogg, London, Francesca Galloway, London, Goedhuis Contemporary, London, Alexander Götz, London, Robert Hall, London, Brian Harkins, London, Gerard Hawthorn Ltd, London, Andy Hei, Hong Kong, Hirano Kotoken Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Liza Hyde - Antique Japanese Screens, New York, Imperial Oriental Art, New York, Kagedo Japanese Art, Seattle, Roger Keverne Ltd, London, Lawrence of Beijing, New York, Li Yin Arts Co. Ltd, Taiwan, Alvin Lo Oriental Art Ltd, New York, P.C. Lu Works of Art Ltd, Hong Kong, Terence McInerney Ltd, New York, Mallett, London, S. Marchant & Son, London, Joan B. Mirviss Ltd, New York, Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, Plum Blossoms Gallery, Hong Kong, Priestley & Ferraro Chinese Art, London, Samina Inc., London, Santos, London, Frederick Schultz, New York, Jacqueline Simcox Ltd, London, Lea Sneider, New York, A. & J. Speelman, London, Spink Indian & Islamic Works of Art, London, TAI Gallery / Textile Arts, Santa Fe, The Tolman Collection of Tokyo, Tokyo, Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art, London, Uragami Sokyu-Do Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Jorge Welsh, London, Sandra Whitman, San Francisco, Doris Wiener, New York, Nancy Wiener Gallery, New York, Linda Wrigglesworth Ltd, London, Koichi Yanagi & Hiroshi Yanagi, Kyoto, Koichi Yanagi, New York