NY library catalogs gift from Chinese auctioneer

Updated: 2013-03-01 12:35

By Liu Yuhan in New York (China Daily)

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NY library catalogs gift from Chinese auctioneer

Wang Yannan (center), president of China Guardian Auctions, Richard He (left), chief representative of the North American Office of China Guardian, Paul Qiu, assistant manager at Flushing Library, celebrate the donation ceremony and the 20th anniversary of Guardian Auctions on Thursday. Liu Yuhan / China Daily

China Guardian Auctions Co, the second-biggest auctioneer on the Chinese mainland, added traditional Chinese elements to a branch of New York's Queens Library by donating more than 60 auction catalogs.

After the Library of Congress and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the library in Flushing is the third US recipient of a recent gift from one of China's oldest auction houses.

Wang Yannan, the company's president, said the books donated to the branch were mainly from auctions conducted in recent years. They provide rich content for readers, including classical Chinese calligraphy, paintings, furniture and antiques.

"We hope to enrich the life of the Chinese-American community and offer American readers an opportunity to understand more about China and its culture," said Wang.

The Flushing branch generates about 150,000 visitors a month and has a daily circulation of 10,000 books.

"It's a very generous donation, and people have the need for such a special type of book," said Paul Qiu, the library's assistant manager.

"It's a pity we didn't have any auction catalogs before, not even those from internationally recognized auction houses like Sotheby's. Auction catalogs are valuable enough to be collected - that's why this donation has been very meaningful to us."

Until 2012, the value of works sold at auctions in China had been surging for three years. In 2011, the country passed the United States as the world's biggest market for art and antiques, capturing an estimated 30 percent of the world total, up from 23 percent a year earlier.

Despite slower economic growth last year, China Guardian was strong in its market. The 20-year-old company sold 22,695 items in four auctions, generating 51.62 billion yuan ($8.3 billion), including the famous sale of Chinese painter Li Keran's landscape Shao Shan for 1.24 billion yuan.

The company in February sent representatives to major North America cities, including Toronto and New York, to collect treasures such as Chinese sculptures, oil paintings, calligraphy, handicrafts, books and ancient money. The auction house said it would lead scholars and experts on appraisal-and-acquisition trips to North America twice a year in search of collections to sell in China.

China Guardian has been an avid supporter of cultural activities in an effort to spread Chinese art and culture.

In April 2012, the company co-organized, with the Asia Society, the New York exhibition Revolutionary Ink: the Paintings of Wu Guanzhong. Another exhibition, The Artful Recluse: Painting, Poetry and Politics in 17th Century China, was jointly sponsored with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Starting on Wednesday and continuing until June 2, China Guardian will cosponsor The Artful Recluse show at the Asia Society's New York headquarters.


(China Daily 03/01/2013 page1)