News & Updates

Chinese Art Connoisseur Short Course: Listening to the Object

What is a Connoisseur?

Connoisseur [kon-uh-sur, soor]

A person who is especially competent to pass critical judgments in an art, particularly one of the fine arts, or in matters of taste.  1. A discerning judge of the best in any field.

How do I sign up for the course?

Registration link:

What will I learn in this course?

In collaboration with Toronto auction house A.H. Wilkens, Susan Lahey, MA, ISA CAPP, specialist in Asian art, will present a three half-day virtual online course providing knowledge essential to the connoisseurship of Chinese art.  It will focus on the traditional collecting areas of ceramics, jades and paintings, and provide familiarity with a wide range of decorative arts such as ivories, cloisonné, bronzes and snuff bottles.  A critical awareness of materials, techniques and themes will be developed, as well as an understanding of the key challenges specific to appraising Chinese works of art.  Susan will demonstrate strategies to hone observation skills through the examination of objects available at Wilkens.  The goal is for online participants to increase their ability to identify, analyze and compare examples of good, better and best works of art, including fakes. The current market for Chinese art and global history of collecting will also be discussed.

This course will take place from 12:00-5:00pm ET on June 24, 25 & 26, 2021. 

Students are expected to be present online for the entirety of the course. 

Happy Chinese New Year

February 12, 2021 marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the OX.  Since ancient times, the ox/water buffalo (in China they are considered the same animal category) has represented a trustworthy, hardworking, agrarian stalwart. 

An early example of the important position of the ox in traditional society is the use of its scapula as a medium for divination during the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BC), as well as its depiction in other traditional areas of art such as painting, jade and ceramics. 

In the 18th century Qing dynasty (1644-1911 AD) white nephrite jade carving with orange highlights, depicting a herd boy with water buffalo found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection; or close-up of a brown and white spotted ox with carefree expression from the famous ink and colour handscroll ox painting “Five Oxen” by artist Han Huang (723-787 AD); to the Tang dynasty (618-960 AD) pottery figure included in a tomb for the afterlife, this animal symbolizes prosperity and peace.  A new red-glazed (the colour of auspiciousness) version of the ox can be purchased from Jingdezhen today, the town famous for its continuous production of ceramics since the 6th century AD for both Imperial and domestic consumption.

And finally, the classic gentleman/scholar image of the Taoist philosopher “Old Master” Laozi, author of the Tao Te Ching, riding on the back of a water buffalo as he leaves the morally corrupt Zhou court heading West into retirement, found on so many landscape paintings.

What does this year of the ox mean for you?  The general predictions for 2021 are all positive.  Well-being and peace are forecast in all aspects of life, with a focus on clarification of personal and career goals in a prosperous environment. 

Wishing my Chinese friends and colleagues a healthy, happy and prosperous 2021!

The Only CAPP Specializing in Asian Art in Canada

For Immediate Release

East Gwillimbury, ON, June 4th, 2020

With great excitement it is a pleasure to announce that Susan Lahey, MA, has achieved the highest level of certification appraising personal property as a CAPP with the International Society of Appraisers.  She is the only specialist in Asian Art in Canada with this designation. 

“Susan is a consummate authority in Fine and Decorative Asian Arts as seen in her work as an instructor and a specialist to collectors and art world professionals. Susan shows her competence through her knowledge of Chinese writing and language, and her developed eye. The International Society of Appraisers is proud to have her as a member and a welcomed connoisseur and resource. We congratulate her on achieving her Certified Appraiser status within the ISA.”  Kelly Juhasz, President, Canadian Chapter of the ISA

Susan is an award-winning appraiser and received industry recognition from the International Society of Appraisers with a Special Merit Award 2015-2016 at the Ft. Worth, Texas conference.  She is also an energetic member of the award-winning Canadian Chapter of the ISA which has won Best Chapter of the Year award three times in 2015, 2018 & 2019.

For the past 15 years Susan has worked as an independent appraiser of Asian art as President of Eastern Art Consultants Inc.  She earned degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, as well as a post-graduate diploma in Asian art from Sotheby’s/SOAS in London, England. 

She has held various positions at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Department of Near Eastern and Asian Civilizations.  More recently Ms. Lahey served as the Department head for Asian art at a Toronto auction house for six years.  She is a regular contributor of articles to antiques magazines and journals and teaches courses and webinars on Chinese fine and decorative art, as well as being a frequent speaker at conferences and symposia.  She volunteers on the boards of several community arts organizations, including the Ontario Arts Council.

Upcoming Live Webinar Appraising Chinese Art: Strategies for Success

Join Susan for a one-hour live webinar on Saturday June 13th as she presents Appraising Chinese Art:  Strategies for Success where she will discuss, What basic principles can a generalist appraiser use to identify Chinese art and when should you seek a specialist?  Focusing on the three traditional collecting areas of jades, porcelains and paintings, insider tips will be shared by an experienced pro in the field to avoid pitfalls and accurately appraise works of art in this challenging area.”  This two half-day online conference is being organized and hosted by National Appraisal Consultants.   Register here: