New to Asian Art? Buying Tips from Market Warriors’ Kevin Bruneau

| February 12, 2013

Ed’s Note: While a large international crowd comes to New York to feast on the bounties of Asian antiques and art during March Asia Week, it’s clear the decorative arts have a vast appeal to people who are not “collectors.” So we went to an authority – Kevin Bruneau – for some answers on what you should consider when purchasing Asian Art. 

Mr. Bruneau will be Art for Eternity New York, March 16 – 19, hosting a preview of his Spring Asian art auction on ebay. Please see our Events page for time and address.

Japanese vase, mixed metals

Example of Japanese mixed metal work

AWG: You’ve been in the antiques business for a long time. What brought you Asian art?

KB: Back in the early 2000s when I owned my auction house I had some collectors and dealers that wanted to put together an auction of ancient Roman, Greek, Natural History, and Asian items, we called them “Curio” sales. I found the designs in “good” Asian antiques to be especially beautiful and was instantly hooked.

AWG: Please define Asian art.

KB: The parameters are comprised simply of items made in Asia, including (but not limited to): China, Japan, South East Asia, Korea, Indonesia, India, Middle East (even Polynesian), and all of Asia. The age today ranges from items which are from Ancient cultures 3000+ years old, to artists living today, some which are nationally treasured artists.

AWG: Where would you advise someone with a fresh interest in Asian arts to begin to collect?

KB: I would recommend buying from very reputable dealers and be aware that for every real piece there are a lot of fakes out there.  As a new collector, you should learn all you can about the item before making a substantial purchase. With decorative inexpensive (the items that make you happy when you look at them), buy with your heart and enjoy.

AWG: Can you briefly describe the objects that artisans from the different Asian countries excelled in?

Antique Oil Lamps in Bruneau Antiques eBay auction

Khmer Rouge Oil lamps

KB: Japan was known for its sword smiths and later there metal work in fine objects of virtue. The Korean people were known for fine early gilt bronze Buddhist figures and distinctive earthenware and glazed vessels. The Thai people excelled in the making of fine bronze and pottery utilitarian items.

AWG:  Thanks so much for the overview. One last question – what resources can you recommend for new buyers or decorators  who want to get an overview of the eras or dynasties and what each excelled in?

KB: A great resource that is accessible to most people is to visit as many museums as possible that feature extensive Chinese collections. The collections in many are so vast and have works on display from ancient civilizations right up to contemporary art.





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