Ah Xian Busts Go Boom at Shapiro RBS Collection Sale

Ah Xian



Nicholas Forrest -  ArtInfo

Published: December 3, 2012


Further evidence that young contemporary artists, who are still very much entwined in the primary market system, can be successfully sold at auction given the right conditions, came via Shapiro Auctioneers who found success with their November 26 sale of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) collection.


The $541,364 total for the 40-lot RBS collection translates to figures of 90% sold by volume and 130% by value which is a great result for Shapiro. Unfortunately, the rest of the 94-lot sale was not as much of a success only increasing the overall total to $881,000 against an estimate of around $1,000,000.


Predicted to attract a good price, the two Ah Xian porcelain busts did not disappoint fetching $117,000 IBP and $104,000 IBP respectively. With only one other major recorded auction sale – the $180,000 achieved for his bust Human, Human (Bust 5) in 2009 – the Shapiro results are evidence of the allure of Chinese contemporary art.


Michael Zavros continues to fetch higher than expected prices after winning the 2012 Bulgari Art Award. The artist’s sixteen-panel work Executive Suite 2000-2001 was a runaway success for Shapiro selling for $54,600 IBP against an estimate of $20,000 - $30,000.


A fantastic sculpture by Lionel Bawden, the winner of the 2009 Wynne Prize, also eclipsed its $10,000 - $15,000 estimate with a final price of $20,150 IBP. A number of other lots from the RBS collection exceeded the top estimate including works by Petrina Hicks, Todd Hunter and Fiona Lowry.


Perhaps as a result of the popularity of the Grosvenor School prints, contemporary Australian printmaker Cressida Campbell is beginning to experience the level of respect and recognition that she deserves.


Often compared to Margaret Preston, one of the most innovative and prolific printmakers of her generation, Campbell is a young artist with an old-fashioned dedication to solving problems of composition.


A number of works by Campbell were included in the Shapiro sale including her woodblock print Xanthorrhoea 1987 which brought in $20,400 IBP against an estimate of $6,000 - $9,000.