Reflecting global participation and a strong appetite amongst collectors for masterpieces, the results include the highest ever Evening Sale total. Art Radar looks at the sales of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art, as well as Chinese Contemporary Ink.
Christie’s Hong Kong’s spring sales have realised record results from 18 auctions across 6 days. On their success, Rebecca Wei, Christie’s President Asia said:
“The strong results bear testament to the depth of our global client base, with three works across art and luxury categories having each achieving in excess of HK$100m. As collectors pursued masterpieces across all categories, notable auction results were achieved, propelling iconic Asian masters such as Zao Wou-Ki to new heights of international recognition. The market also responded enthusiastically to our innovative curation which saw the highest ever evening sale total in our history as we surpassed HK$1bn in sales and introduced our most ambitious offering of Western art to date.”
Held on 26 and 27 May, the three sales of Asian 20th century and contemporary art included the return of the ground-breaking ‘The Contemporaries’ evening sale. The line-up of works encompassed leading modern and contemporary artists that have shaped the course of art history and redefined cultural boarders with their revolutionary compositions. Also presented was a comprehensive selection of works by the most representative artists from across Southeast Asia.
Previewing the sale, Eric Chang, Deputy Chairman, International Director of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art commented:
“Building on the success of previous seasons when record prices were established for leading Asian artists, an exceptionally strong line-up has been curated for this sale, focusing on works of the utmost quality, presenting collectors with the opportunity to acquire iconic works from a range of periods and genres. The re-introduction of The Contemporaries evening sale will continue a global artistic dialogue by exploring the facets of similarity between the identity, culture and history of artists around the world. Hong Kong provides the perfect platform as an epicentre for international art, and we are proud to continue our curatorial leadership.”
Christie’s Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art and ‘The Contemporaries: Voices from East and West’ Spring Evening Sale brought in over HKD1 billion on 26 May 2018, with sales totaling HKD1,040,390,000 (USD133,229,798) – the highest ever evening sale total for Christie’s in Asia. The sale recorded 86 percent sold by lot and 93 percent by value.
The top lot of the sale was Zao Wou-Ki’s 〈14.12.59〉 (1959), which sold for HKD176,725,000 (USD22,630,971) more than doubling its high estimate.
By drawing on his roots in traditional Chinese ink-painting, Zao Wou-ki redefined the notion of Asian art by seamlessly blending western influences and techniques, while staying true to his identity. The reinterpretation of the aesthetic value of traditional Chinese art infused with a modern spirit has broken down cultural barriers and continues to elevate Zao Wou-ki to ever greater global recognition. The collection of works by Zao Wou-ki offered by Christie’s in this sale showcased some of the finest examples from his later career, which are rarely on the market and much sought after.
Further exploring the notion of art as without boundaries, a carefully curated selection of works by international masters was presented side by side with Chinese artists for the evening sale, breaking down boundaries not only on a geographical level, but also that of eras, cultures, age and subject matter. The works presented in this section explored the concept of art as a singular global language understood by all, uniting works from pioneering artists that have left an indelible mark on art history, and included works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter and Nam June Paik.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Orange Sports Figure) (1982) was hammered down for HKD73,225,000 (USD9,377,014), against a pre-sale estimate of HKD62,000,000 – HKD94,000,000.
Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale) totalled HKD69,483,750 (USD8,897,919) with 77 percent sold by lot and 90 percent by value. The top lot of the sale was Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama, which realised HKD7,060,000 (USD904,086).
Asian 20th Century Art (Day Sale) totaled HKD127,618,750 (USD16,342,545) with 78% sold by lot and 87% by value. The top lot of the sale was also by Zao Wou-ki with a work entitled 04.03.63, which realised HKD7,900,000 (USD1,011,655).
Notable artist records were achieved for works by Richard Lin, Nguyen Phanh Chanh, Fernando Cueto Amorsolo, Li Chen, Yuan Yuan, Besta Bestrizal, Sopheap Pich, Pang Jiun and Pacita Abad.
The three sales together realised a total of HKD1,237,492,500 (USD158,470,262).
On this fantastic result, Eric Chang, Head of Department, Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art, commented:
“This season we achieved one of the highest ever totals for the category, underpinned by passionate bidding from an international global collector base, as they pursued masterpieces from the very best artists. By transcending cultural boarders, the success of the evening sale epitomised the global nature of collecting. The three sales combined achieved 30 records for emerging and established artists demonstrating strong support for a broad spectrum of genres and price points.”
Chinese Contemporary Ink
The Chinese Contemporary Ink sale was held on 28 May, one of three auctions of Chinese Paintings held by Christie’s Hong Kong this season, which together realised a total of HKD524,446,250 (USD67,159,303), and featured standout works that embody the spirit of the literati tradition.
The literati painters were a class of scholarly and learned individuals who lived in relative seclusion, seeking to internalise their understanding of the world around them through painting. Artists often sought to capture the majestic power of nature, depicting scholars in retirement and travellers admiring their surroundings.
The Chinese Contemporary Ink sale totalled HKD25,526,250 (USD3,268,829) with 82 percent sold by lot and 93 percent sold by value. The top lot for the sale was Play of Mountain and Cloud by Liu Kuo-Sung, which realised HKD5,380,000 (USD688,950).
Estimates do not include Buyer’s Premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus Buyer’s Premium. HKD to USD figures are based on daily exchange rates: please check Christie’s website for up-to-date USD prices.
Text: Jessica Clifford
To Read More about Art Market Outlokk 2018:
Global Art Market Outlook 2018: ArtTactic report – key findings – April 2018 – ArtTactic has released its latest report on the economic outlook for the global art market in 2018