Christie’s Hong Kong dip in their autumn sales for the category “20th Century and Contemporary Asian art”.

On 26 and 27 November 2016, Christie’s Hong Kong held four auctions of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art. Art Radar takes a look at result of the three contemporary art auctions and reports a dip in sales between 2015 and 2016 in this category.

Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie's global president, at Christie's spring sales in Hong Kong. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president, at Christie’s Hong Kong spring sales 2016. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

20th Century and Contemporary Asian Art category: Autumn sales results

The three contemporary art auctions (entitled “Asian 20th century and contemporary art evening sale”, “Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale” and “Asia 20th Century Art Day Sale” respectively) and a further evening auction entitled “Pioneers” together realised USD87,753,125. Eric Chang, Deputy Chairman, International Director of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, commented:

The four sales presented a comprehensive offering of contemporary and modern artists as they continue to gain prominence on the world stage, particularly those from Vietnam, Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea. Strong bidding in the room, on the phone and online was witnessed across the sales as collectors bid enthusiastically between the different categories of Asian 20th Century Art and Asian Contemporary Art, in the process, setting world records for some the most iconic artists such as Chu-teh Chun, Lin Fengmian, Sanyu, Atsuko Tanaka and Anita Magsaysay Ho.

Christies Hong Kong spring and autumn: comparing sales figures between 2015 and 2016

Christie’s Hong Kong Spring sales fared badly this year with total sales dropping by 13 percent in comparison with their 2015 figures, with Chinese works of art getting particularly disappointing results. With various auctions still to go at Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn sales, it is not yet clear whether the auctioneers will match or drop below their 2015 Autumn sales figures. Art Radar can confirm, however, that the Autumn sales have dipped by 7.3 percent for the four auctions included in the “Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art” category between 2015 and 2016. The total sales for this category, nevertheless, far surpassed the recent 20th Century and Contemporary art lots by rival auction house Phillips, who held their first auction in Hong Kong in November with total sales of USD19,589,255.

Yoshitomo Nara, 'Eastern Youth', 2000. Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 145 cm. Image courtesy Christies Asia.

Yoshitomo Nara, ‘Eastern Youth’, 2000. Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 145 cm. Image courtesy Christies Asia.

1. Asian 20th century and contemporary art evening sale: results

On 26 November the “Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale” totalled USD23,023,794, with 73 percent sold by lot. The top lot for the sale was Eastern Youth (2000) by Yoshitomo Nara, which realised USD2,183,247, well above the top estimate. Japanese avant-garde artist Atsuko Tanaka is most famous for her performance and wearable sculpture work Electric Dress (1956/1986). Her large scale painting work entitled 84B (1984) sold for a record-breaking USD1,328,595. A painting work by Philippines painter Anita Magasaysay-Ho entitled Nap-Ilpon Ng Dayami (Gleaners) (1975) sold for USD1,794769, also breaking an artist record.

Zeng Fanzhi , ‘Class One series No. 1; 23; & 28,’ (1996). Oil on canvas. 48 x 38 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Zeng Fanzhi , ‘Class One series No. 1; 23; & 28,’ 1996, oil on canvas, 48 x 38 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

2. Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale: results

The “Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale” was held on the 27 November and totalled USD7,189,918 with 78 percent sold by lot. The top lot for the sale was Class One Series No.1;23;&28 (1996) by Zeng Fanzhi, which realised USD 815,804. Second highest lot was Yayoi Kusama‘s Pumpkin (2003), which was one of 11 Kusama works in the auction and which achieved nearly USD200,000 over the top estimate, selling for USD442,865. Korean artist’s Oh Se-Yeol painting Untitled (2015) broke auction records for this artist selling at USD40,466. Hong Kong artist Fung Fat Fung is of a similar generation and also enjoyed record breaking sales, with his The Play of Paint and the Tree (2016) going for USD24,280.

Younger artists also enjoyed record success with Indonesian artist Lugas Syllabus’s (b.1987) large scale painting Golden Limousine in the Heaven of Art (2016) achieving USD42,085, Singapore artist Jolene Lai’s (b.1980) work A Moonlit Meadow (2015) and Chinese artist Zhou Mingde’s (b.1980) The Sea fetching USD7284 and USD21,043 respectively.

Wu Guanzhong, 'The Mansion of the Queen', 1989. Oil on canvas. 52 x 45 cm. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Wu Guanzhong, ‘The Mansion of the Queen’, 1989, oil on canvas, 52 x 45 cm. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

3. Asian 20th Century Art Day Sale: results

“Asian 20th Century Art Day Sale” totalled USD13,561,118, with 77 percent sold by lot. The top lot for the sale was The Mansion of the Queen by Wu Guanzhong, which realised USD862,421. Wu Guanzhong (吳冠中, 1919–2010) is one of the best known contemporary painters and a key figure for the translation of western painting techniques in China, introducing aspects of Western art to his students at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Other Chinese painters attributed with bringing western principles to Chinese painting include Zao Wou-Ki, whose Untitled was the second highest lot selling for USD 815,804 (over USD300,000 above the top estimate), and Chu Teh-Chun and Lin Fengmian, whose work both broke artist records at auction.

Liu Dan, 'Scholar's Rock-Grotto Heaven', 2016. Ink on paper. Image courtesy Christie's Asia.

Liu Dan, ‘Scholar’s Rock-Grotto Heaven’, 2016, ink on paper. Image courtesy Christie’s Asia.

Christie’s Hong Kong also held the auction “Chinese Contemporary Ink” on 28 November, which achieved total sales of HKD19,495,000 with Liu Dan’s Scholar’s Rock-Grotto Heaven (2016) selling for a record-breaking USD 474,142, just above the top estimate.

Christie’s also presented an online only sale of Korean contemporary art, entitled K-Art Now! (no sales results available) featuring over 30 works across four decades, with highlights from from Suh Do-Ho, Choi Jeong-Hwa, Gim Hong-Sok and Ham Kyung-Ah. The sale offered lots at prices for both emerging and established collectors, with estimates starting as low as USD1,500.

Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

Rebecca Close


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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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.

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