Art Radar was present in the auction room for the second instalment of Sotheby’s Ullens Collection Sale on October 2, 2011 in Hong Kong. Composed of 90 lots, this highly anticipated sale achieved sales of 93% of its featured artworks, amounting to HKD 132 million/ USD 16.9 million, far exceeding pre-sale estimates of HKD 77-106 million / USD 10-13.5 million.

Sotheby's HK Autumn 2011 Ullens Auction scene (2 October). Image courtesy Sotheby's.

Together with the Sotheby’s spring offering of The Ullens Collection – The Nascence of Avant-Garde China, the complete collection brought HKD 559,652,250 / USD 71,750,288, and earned the distinction as the highest-value single-owner collection of Contemporary Chinese art ever sold.

The 'premium lot': Zeng Fanzhi's 'Mask Series 1998 No.26' sold for a hammer price of HKD 17.5 million, totaling HKD 20.3 million (USD 2.6 million)


The sale featured a single ‘premium lot’, Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series 1998 No.26, which sold for a hammer price of HKD 17.5 million/ USD 2.2 million to a Chinese buyer in the auction room. Including Sotheby’s ‘buyer’s premium’ (sales fee) the painting brought HKD 20.3 million / USD 2.6 million.

Experts consider the artworks sold at Experimentation and Evolution to be the ‘leftovers’ that were not deemed good enough to be auctioned at the Spring sale, which was hailed as a ‘white glove’, or perfect, sale. However, bidders were unfazed by the autumn offering’s excess of second-tier works, and bids often exceeded their high estimates by many times.

Notable artworks whose final hammer price far exceeded their estimated value include:

Lui Ye, 'Portrait of Qi Baishi'. Sold for a hammer price of HKD 12 million / USD 1.5 million; estimated at HKD 7-9 million.

Ding Yi, 'Appearance of Crosses', sold for a hammer price of HKD 4.5 million / USD 576K; estimated at HKD 1.2-1.8 million

Yu Youhan, 'Circle 1986-8', sold for a hammer price of HKD6 million / USD 769K; estimated at HKD 2-3 million.

Wang Ziwei, 'Hopeless: Take Care', sold for a hammer price of HKD 500K / USD 64K; estimated at HKD 150-200K.

Philip Tinari assumes the role of Director of UCCA in December 2011

Furthermore, the recent decision to appoint Beijing-based Philip Tinari as the new director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing has signaled the organisation is committed to staying in China. Tinari brings a wealth of experience to the UCCA, as he is Art Basel’s representative in China, and is currently the editor of LEAP, a bilingual contemporary culture magazine published by China’s Modern Media group. He previously edited Artforum‘s China edition.

Click here to browse the Sotheby’s catalogue for more prices and lot details from the Autumn 2011 Hong Kong The Ullens Collection – Experimentation and Evolution Sale.


Related Topics: art auctionsart in Hong KongAsian art

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on art auction results

By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *