Christie’s Hong Kong autumn 2011 sales: Indonesian art triumphs, Indian falters amid cautious market


HONG KONG CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART AUCTIONS

The response to Christie’s Hong Kong Day Sale of Asian Contemporary Art, held on 27 November 2011, was restrained. Presided over by Christie’s Los Angeles President, Andrea Fiuczynski, 28 percent of works in the 273-lot sale failed to sell. Art Radar reports from the auction room.

Christie's Hong Kong November 2011 Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)'s top-yielding work was Zeng Fanzhi's 'Mao + Calling', painted in 2005. It brought in over HKD9 million/USD1.16 million. Image courtesy Christie's.

Asian art market falters

Sotheby’s, Christie’s unsold lot numbers similar

The lackluster result of Christie’s autumn 2011 Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale in Hong Kong is strikingly similar to the outcome of Sotheby’s contemporary Asian art sale, held on 3 October 2011, also in Hong Kong, which saw 27 percent of all lots unsold. Despite Sotheby’s sales yields in excess of HKD227.8 million/USD29.2 million, the high percentage of unsold works confirmed the Asian art market has finally faltered.

Including Christie’s hefty buyer’s premium, which can add up to 25 percent to the winning bid, the November 2011 sale yielded in excess of HKD113.6 million/USD14.5 million, an extremely low result for this sizeable sale of 273 lots. In comparison, Sotheby’s disappointing October 2011 Asian contemporary art sale of 176 lots brought in twice the value of the Christie’s equivalent, despite Christie’s offering almost 100 additional lots.

Click here to browse the Christie’s catalogue for more prices and lot details from the Hong Kong Autumn 2011 Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale).

Christie’s Asian category now includes Southeast Asian art

The autumn 2011 Christie’s Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale was unique due to the decision by Eric Chang, Christie’s International Director of Contemporary Art, to include Southeast Asian artworks in the general Asian Contemporary category. This unprecedented move created a new all-encompassing auction category that included work by Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai and Burmese artists.

Which regions attracted buyer interest?

Chinese works still highly sought after

Of the 273 lots in the Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale 2011, 147 (54 percent) of these were Chinese works. Of these Chinese works, 39 failed to sell, comprising 50 percent of the sale’s 78 total unsold works. Although 26.5 percent of all Chinese works remained unsold, Chinese artwork still proved highly sought after when compared with works by the other nationalities represented in the sale; they were only surpassed in relative popularity by the demand for Indonesian artwork.

Christie's Hong Kong November 2011 Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)'s top-yielding Indonesian work, coming in at 13th overall with HKD1.7 million/USD219,000, was Rudi Mantofani's 'Sudut Bumi #3 (The Corner of the Earth #3)', painted from 2007 to 2008. Image courtesy Christie's.

Indonesian art most popular by percentage of sales

Indonesian works experienced the greatest success, with only 4 of the 35 offered works failing to sell, resulting in the Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale’s highest success rate by nationality. Indonesia was the second most highly represented nationality at the Asian sale, after works by Chinese artists, with 35 total pieces up for auction (13 percent of the total sale).

Indonesia clearly emerged as the Asian art leader, with the hammer price of over half of all Indonesian artworks exceeding their highest sales estimate. Despite ongoing speculation that the low to mid-priced contemporary auction market is experiencing difficulty, modestly priced Indonesian artworks inspired bidding wars that resulted in final hammer prices of over three times a work’s highest estimate. Rudi Mantofani’s Sudut Bumi #3 (The Corner of the Earth #3) tripled modest expectations of HKD380-480,000/USD219,000 and finally sold for HKD1.7 million/USD219,000.

Christie's Hong Kong November 2011 Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)'s 2nd highest yielding Indonesian artwork, coming in at 18th overall and selling for HKD1.46 million/USD188,000, was I Nyoman Masriadi's 'Uang Segar (Fresh Money)', painted in 2007. Image courtesy Christie's.

Christie's Hong Kong November 2011 Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)'s highest yielding Indian artwork, coming in 30th overall and bringing more than HKD1 million, was Jitish Kallat's 'Dawn Chorus - 13', painted in 2007. Image courtesy Christie's.

With so much apparent interest in the Indonesian art, it begs the question of whether a single collector snapped up a great portion of Christie’s contemporary Indonesian works in an effort to create a specialised private collection. However, it seems that the Indonesian artworks on offer in this 2011 sale were bought by a wide variety of buyers.

Indian art least popular

Indian art saw the poorest rate of sales at Christie’s November 2011 Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale, with collectors overlooking the opportunity to secure the few contemporary Indian artworks available, which represented just 4 percent of the overall offering. Eight of the eleven available Indian works failed to sell, resulting in 73 percent of Indian artworks remaining unsold. Despite this apparent lack of interest in Indian art, Jitish Kallat’s Dawn Chorus – 13 bucked the trend by yielding a final price in excess of HKD1 million/USD134,000.

Christie’s autumn 2011 Contemporary Asian Art (Day Sale) breakdown: Unsold works by nationality

Total offered for sale % of overall sale Amount unsold % unsold Outcome
Chinese 147 54% 39 26.50% Fair
Indonesian 35 13% 4 11% Excellent
Korean 29 11% 13 45% Poor
Japanese 28 10% 8 28.50% Fair
Filipino 17 6% 5 29% Fair
Indian 11 4% 8 73% Very Poor
Singaporean 3 1% 0 0% N/A
Burmese 1 0% 1 100% N/A
Thai 1 0% 0 0% N/A
Malaysian 1 0% 0 0% N/A
Total Sale
273 offered artworks 78 unsold works; 28% of total sale Fair
Disclaimer: All percentages in this post have been rounded off to the nearest integer.

EW/KN/HH

Related Topics: market watch – art auctions, art happenings in Hong Kong, Asian artists

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