Excellent results in Hong Kong

[15 Apr 2014]


In the first week of April, Sotheby’s, global no. 2 and Poly, global no. 3 (established in Hong Kong since 2012) held a series of major sales devoted to Modern and Contemporary Asian art. The sales featured lots of works by charismatic artists whose prices are still on an ascending path. Below, some of the highlights of the two days of sales entirely dedicated to Asian art.

Sotheby’s prestige sale took place on April 5 and it was followed by three sales dedicated to Modern and Contemporary Asian the next day. The first “prestigious” session generated $68.3 million. On the 6th April, the Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings sale generated $25.2 million (only 20% unsold); the Asian Contemporary Art sale brought in $47.2 million (15% unsold), and the 20th Century Chinese Art sale totaled $53.1 million (12% unsold). The following day, Poly confirmed the solidity of the market for signatures such as WU Guanzhong, ZHANG Xiaogang, Takashi MURAKAMI, XU Beihong and CHEN Yifei.


ZAO Wou-Ki (1921-2013): is today one of the world’s most sought-after artists. To best meet demand, Sotheby’s offered no less than 11 paintings on 5 and 6 April and they all sold, with four fetching north of the million-dollar line. Poly sold two more the next day: Herbes fetched $1.33 million and Paysage Rouge reached $1.6 million including fees.

ZHANG Xiaogang (born 1958):his masterpiece Bloodline: Big Family No. 3 offered at Sotheby’s fetched the equivalent of $10.7 million ($12.1 million including fees), a new world record for the artist who crossed the $10 million threshold for the first time! The value of this work has doubled in six years: Sotheby’s sold it for the equivalent of $5.4m in 2008 (April 9) in Hong Kong. Poly also owes the 8th best result of its sale to Zhang Xiaogang after his Heaven # 4 fetched $1 million including fees.

SAN Yu (1901-1966): demand is very strong indeed for the Chinese artist Sanyu. At Sotheby’s on April 5, a large oil painting of a vase of chrysanthemums from the early 50s was acquired for no less than $9.1m ($10.4m including fees). Chrysanthemums are one of the most coveted Sanyu themes, especially since the $6.05m recorded for a still-life entitled Potted chrysanthemum in a blue and white jardinière on November 27, 2010. Sanyu was also the star of a Christie’s sale in Hong Kong in May 2012 when another chrysanthemums painting fetched the best result of the day (Blue Chrysanthemums in a glass vase) at $5.4m (26 May 2012). Poly also sold his Prunus Branches in a Green Landscape (1962) for $1.8m (including fees) at its April 6 sale.

Sindudarsono SUDJOJONO (1914-1985): a painting measuring nearly two meters wide produced a new auction record equivalent to $7.5m for the Indonesian Modern artist thereby. This result adds no less than $5.4m to his previous record! The inflation of prices on Indonesian Contemporary art is beginning much resembles the trend that affected Chinese art between 2006 and 2008.

ZENG Fanzhi (1964) : it is not surprising to find Zeng Fanzhi amongst the best results. In 2008, he was already China’s most expensive Contemporary artist. At the time, his diptych Mask series 1996 No.6 fetched $8.6m, five times its estimate (Christie’s Hong Kong) and his auction record stands at $20.64m since his The Last Supper was offered at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2013. On April 5, Sotheby’s submitted 4 paintings by Zeng, including This Land So Rich in Beauty No. 6(2006) which sold for more than $2.4m ($2.9m including fees) and Mask Series No. 5 (1994) which fetched the same price. In total, the artist generated more than $6.1m at Sotheby’s April 5 sale, which also offered Zeng lithographs that fetched around $10,000 for editions from series of less than 100. Zeng also produced the best result at Poly’s sale on April 6 when a full-length portrait from the Masks series fetched $ 2.2m including fees.

Yoshitomo NARA (1959) signed a new record with Night Walker, an acrylic work from 2001 which sold for the equivalent of $1.6m ($2m including fees, at Sotheby’s on April 5). The Japanese Pop artist is famous throughout the world thanks to a career involving some forty exhibitions over 20 years and multiple works published on a large-scale that convey his naive and yet aggressive world. Along with Takashi MURAKAMI and Yayoi KUSAMA, he is one of the favorite artists of Japanese collectors.

AI Weiwei (1957): for the first time at auction a work by Ai Weiwei fetched over $1 million (including fees). Entitled Map of China, this new record for the controversial artist was generated by an installation designed from materials salvaged from the dismantled temples of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The dissident artist – who the Chinese government cannot silence – is currently showing at the Walter Gropius Museum Berlin (since April 2, 2014).

Christie’s et China Guardian ont profité de ces grandes ventes Sotheby’s et Poly pour disperser des signatures asiatiques majeures mais elles réservent leurs meilleures pièces pour la fin du mois de mai où elles opèrent à leur tour leurs cessions d’art asiatique moderne et contemporain à Hong Kong.