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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
- Christie’s Hong Kong autumn auctions of 20th century and contemporary Asian art – round-up – November 2016 – Christie’s Hong Kong dip in their autumn sales for the category “20th Century and Contemporary Asian art”
- Christie’s Shanghai contemporary art auctions take a downturn – round-up – October 2016 – Christie’s Shanghai opens Autumn sales with two auctions
- Phillips’ first 20th Century and Contemporary Art and Design sale in Asia – round-up – November 2016 – Phillips successfully closes first Asia sale of art and design in Asia with new records
- Hong Kong Spring Auctions 2016 – round-up – July 2016 – Christie’s 30-year anniversary sale in Hong Kong earlier this week rounds up the spring auction season
- Christie’s Hong Kong autumn auctions 2015 evidence evolving trends for Asian art – December 2015 – Christie’s autumn art auctions in Hong Kong wrapped on 30 November 2015
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