Christie’s Hong Kong Spring Week Auctions set a new record – round-up

Zao Wou-Ki’s 29.09.64 (1964) sold for a record USD19.7million.

Introducing a new curatorial approach, Christie’s Hong Kong attracts a wide range of collectors.

Zao Wou-Ki, '29.09.64', 1964, oil on canvas 230 x 345 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Hong Kong.

Zao Wou-Ki, ‘29.09.64’, 1964, oil on canvas, 230 x 345 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Hong Kong.

From 26 to 31 May 2017 Christie’s Hong Kong held its Week Spring Auctions, including four auctions of Asian contemporary art, Asian 20th century art and Chinese contemporary ink.

Christie’s Art and Contemporaries: Voices from East and West sale was a feature of the spring week sales and attained a total of HKD543,380,000 (USD70,071,430) in sales. A total of 82 percent sold by lot and value. The contemporary art was a highlight of the night, in which 92 percent of the lots were sold.

Gerhard Richter, 'Abstraktes Bild (687-2)', 1989, oil on canvas 125.4 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Hong Kong.

Gerhard Richter, ‘Abstraktes Bild (687-2)’, 1989, oil on canvas, 125.4 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Hong Kong.

Record-breaking sale

The top lot for the evening was Zao Wou-Ki’s 29.09.64 (1964), a large-scale abstract work that merges western influences with his training in traditional Chinese art. Although Zao Wou-Ki spent much of his time in France, his works are popular in China. This work exceeded all expectations, selling for over three times its high estimate and establishing a new world record of HKD152,860,000 (USD19,712,015).

Zhang Xiaogang, 'Bloodline: The Big Family', 1997, oil on canvas, 128 x 99 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Hong Kong.

Zhang Xiaogang, ‘Bloodline: The Big Family’, 1997, oil on canvas, 128 x 99 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Hong Kong.

A new curatorial approach

The aim of the “Art and Contemporaries” evening sale was to introduce a curatorial approach that would unite “western and Asian works in one single sale”, according to President of Christie’s Asia Rebecca Wei.

Han-I Wang, Christie’s Specialist in Post-War and Contemporary Art, explained why this type of sale uniting eastern and western traditions is relevant:

The art market is a truly global one now. At the big fairs around the world you see work by artists from all over the globe, not just artists from a particular region. You think nothing of seeing a Cecily Brown alongside a Takashi Murakami. In that sense, our sale is just reflecting the way people look at art nowadays.

Atsuko Tanaka, '88A-93', 1988, signed 'Atsuko Tanaka', titled ''88A-93', dated '(1988) 1993' (on the reverse), vinyl paint on canvas, 162 x 130.5 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Hong Kong.

Atsuko Tanaka, ’88A-93′, 1988, signed ‘Atsuko Tanaka’, titled ”88A-93′, dated ‘(1988) 1993’ (on the reverse), vinyl paint on canvas, 162 x 130.5 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Hong Kong.

However, it is not only the collectors who are experiencing this merging of locations. Artists themselves often travel and are influenced by a number of places, traditions and communities. Eric Chang, Christie’s International Director of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art, explains about Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Net series that although it was applauded by the Minimalists in America, it also contained elements of repetition and patterning from her Japanese roots. As Chang observes, “cultural cross-pollination like that runs throughout the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st”. Artists Zao Wou-Ki is also of this community of well-travelled artists whose influences stem from several artistic traditions.

Of the sale itself, Wei explained:

The encouraging results achieved tonight in our inaugural global-themed Evening Sale reinforces Hong Kong’s position as a truly international platform for art, breaking all geographical boundaries. The strong cultural dialogue established through the sale drew intense bidding from both Asian and western buyers. These exceptional results show that we are on the right path to broadening the spectrum of art categories we offer in Asia.

Attracting buyers from 13 countries across four continents, the sale succeeded in attracting a diverse buyer base. Over 30 percent of the lots sold for above the high estimate, showing enthusiasm for the new curatorial concept.

Asian Contemporary Art

Some of the highlights from the Asian Contemporary Art day sale on 28 May included Yue Minjun’s Free at Leisure No. 11 (2004) which sold for HKD4,860,000 (USD626,720), Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series (Blue) (1998) for HKD4,260,000 (USD549,347) and Yayoi Kusama’s Dots-Obsession (Towe) (2005), which sold for HKD5,820,000 (USD750,516).

The top lot of the auction went to Yayoi Kusama’s Lemon Tea (1981), which sold for HKD8,700,000 (USD1,121,906). Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara was also popular with several drawings and a sculpture selling well.

Liu Dan, 'Poppies', Scroll, mounted and framed, Ink and colour on paper, 39.4 x 43.5 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Hong Kong.

Liu Dan, ‘Poppies’, 2002, scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper, 39.4 x 43.5 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Hong Kong.

Asian 20th Century Art and Chinese Contemporary Ink

The total sale for the Asian 20th Century Art auction was HKD120,913,750. A standout piece was Zao Wou-Ki’s 16.02.64 (1964), which sold for HKD12,660,000 (USD1,632,567). Other strong sales included a painting by Hoang Tich Chu, a 1949 painting by Zao Wou-Ki and Luo Zhongli’s Years (1984).

The Chinese Contemporary Ink sale held on 29 May achieved a sale total of HKD17,715,000. There were several pieces that sold for over HKD1,000,000, such as Qin Feng’s West Wind and East Water (2008) for HKD1,980,000 (USD255,330), Liu Dan’s Poppies for HKD1,062,500 (USD137,014) and Liu Shou Kwan’s Zen (1970) and New Scenery of Kuimen (2005) for HKD1,000,000 (USD128,955) each.

Claire Wilson

1703

Related topics: Auctions, Chinese artists, Japanese artists, Korean artists, Singaporean artists, auctions, market trends, globalisation of art, events in Hong Kong, round up

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