Phillips successfully closes first Asia sale of art and design in Asia with new records.
On 27 November 2016, Phillips held its first sale of 20th century and contemporary art and design in Hong Kong. Art Radar looks at some of the highlights of the sale.
Held at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, the UK auction house Phillips’ inaugural sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design in Asia achieved outstanding results, selling 45 of the 55 lots offered, at 82 percent sold by lot and 96 percent by value, with a sale total of HKD151,972,500 (USD19,589,255).
Collectors from across the globe competed for works ranging from iconic designers such as Jean Prouvé and Mark Newson, to younger and established contemporary artists from Asia like Xu Zhen and Yayoi Kusama, as well as blue chip western artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
The evening sale was led by American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s 1996 work Landscape with Grass, which sold for HKD35,480,000 (USD4,573,372), exceeding the high estimate of HKD35 million. The monumental work, almost three metres tall, is an important example from the “Landscapes in the Chinese Style” series, and was first exhibited in the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1998. Lichtenstein returned to the landscape genre in 1995, creating this powerful series of over 20 works appropriating the motifs of the classical landscape painting style of the Song dynasty (960–1279).
A work from one of Gerhard Richter’s most celebrated abstract cycles, Abstraktes Bild 776-1 (1992) sold for HKD19,880,000 (USD2,562,532), ranking second in the top ten lots. The work realised the highest price achieved for the artist at auction in Hong Kong to date.
The largest work on paper by Yoshitomo Nara to come to auction in a decade, Daydreamer (2003) fetched HKD12,080,000 (USD1,557,112), ranking third in the top ten, and establishing a new world auction record for a work on paper by the artist.
International bidders manifested strong interest and competition for Japanese artists, and the sale saw 100 percent sell through rates for their works, with Yayoi Kusama‘s 1998 Pumpkin selling for HKD6,080,000 (USD783,712), ranking sixth in the top ten and more than doubling its higher estimate of HKD2.5 million, and her Infinity Nets (1990) going for HKD3,800,000 (USD489,820), almost double its higher estimate and making the top ten at number nine.
Among the top ten lots were Chinese contemporary art auction favourites, such as Zeng Fanzhi‘s Trauma (2007) at number four, selling for HKD6,680,000 (USD861,052) and Zhang Xiaogang‘s Amnesia and Memory (One Week) (2004) at number five going for almost double its higher estimate of HKD3.5 million at HKD6,680,000 (USD861,052).
Works by Asian masters also made the list, like Lee Ufan‘s From Winds (1986) ranking seventh and selling for HKD5,480,000 (USD706,372) and a classic Zao Wou-Ki entitled Bol et Feuilles sur Fond Rouge (Bowl and Leaves with Red Background) (1953) at number eight going for three times its higher estimate at HKD4,640,000 (USD598,096).
The last of the top ten was fetched by Anish Kapoor‘s recent work Strange Attraction (Violet)(2015), at HKD3,800,000 (USD489,820).
Following ten minutes of competitive bidding, influential British photographer Nick Knight’s Tatjana Patitz for Jil Sander sold for HKD2,360,000 (USD304,204), exceeding by far its higher estimate of HKD620,000 and achieving a new world record for the renowned photographer at auction. Meanwhile, a 1984 photographic work by the late American photographer Irving Penn (1917-2009) failed to find a buyer, with an estimate between HKD350,000 – 450,000 (USD44,900 – 57,700).
Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie (b. 1977) represented the younger generation of artists among the top ten, with his 2009 work Elvis selling for HKD5,480,000 (USD706,372), over four times the lower estimate. Young artists from Asia also sold well at the auction, with Xu Zhen‘s Under Heaven – 2607F10138 (2013) sold at HKD400,000 (USD51,300) and 1984-born Filipino artist Jigger Cruz‘s Crawling from the Wreckage (2015) going for HKD375,000 and surpassing its higher estimate of HKD320,000 (USD41,000).
Select pieces of Decorative Art and Design were well received and the category was led by a ‘Chieftain’ armchair, designed by the famous Danish architect Finn Juhl in 1949, realising HKD1,937,500.
Phillips recently presented a conference in partnership with the FT on how to build an art collection at Asia Society in Hong Kong, involving experts and professionals such as gallerist and collector Pearl Lam, young Hong Kong collector and founder of K11 Art Foundation Adrian Cheng and Jonathan Crockett, Head of 20th Century and Contemporary Art & Deputy Chairman for Phillips Asia. Engaging in dialogue and providing expert insight into the art market, the specialists revealed some of the most salient aspects of collecting contemporary art in Asia today.
After the insightful conference, Phillips’ inaugural sale demonstrated the auction house’s deep knowledge and understanding of the vibrant market present in Asia, offering for sale local emerging and established artists, blue chip artists from the West and important designers that were sought after by collectors. Crockett, as quoted in the press release for the sale, said:
The outstanding results of Phillips’ first sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design in Asia demonstrate the ever increasing global demand for works by blue chip international artists, with world records achieved for Nick Knight and Yoshitomo Nara for a work on paper. Participation from six continents reflected the globalised nature of the current market, as we saw confident bidding from across the region including Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and more, confirming the pulse of the rapidly changing buying habits of Asian collectors. We saw fierce competition for works by both younger generation artists as well as established masters, with Adrian Ghenie’s Elvis igniting a 10 minute bidding war. The result is a testimony that Phillips’ innovative approach of offering high quality art from around the world, alongside exceptional works of design, resonates with today’s auction market. Following the strength of this result, we look forward to continuing our growth and expanding our presence in the region.
Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
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