Record Set For A Chinese Contemporary Ink Painting at Auction

NEW YORK, NY – Sotheby’s fifth sale of Contemporary Art Asia: China Korea Japan in New York brought a solid $23,210,525 (est. $23.1/33.4 million) and was highlighted by Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series No. 11, 1996, a triptych showing the strivings of individualism amidst the communist collective that was latent but still present during the Cultural Revolution of Zeng’s youth, which sold for $1,127,000 to a European buyer (lot 11, est. $800,000/1 million). Li Huayi’s Autumn Mountains, 2007, which shows a dramatic mountain vista dominated by a mist enshrouded natural bridge and steep waterfalls and merges both Chinese ink painting with Western modernism, set a record for a Chinese Contemporary ink painting at auction when it sold for $451,000 (lot 161, est. $350/450,000). Other artist records were set today for Huang Gang, Guo Jin, Li Jikai and Qiu Xiaofei, among others.

Xiaoming Zhang, Vice President of Chinese Contemporary Art department, said: “We were very pleased with the results of today’s sale, which was a healthy reflection of this still new market in New York, where we launched sales two years ago. Over 80% of the works sold, and of those works, approximately 80% of them exceeded or achieved prices within their estimates. Today’s results were very consistent with the results of one year ago, and we saw a greater diversity of artist names dominating the top list of works – Zhao Wuji (Zao Wou-Ki), Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yue Minjun, Yan Peiming, Zhou Chunya, Su Xinping and Tang Zhigang. There was a very international profile of buyers, with strong participation from Asia, America and Europe.”

Other highlights of the sale included Zhao Wuji (Zao Wou-Ki)’s Quand Il Fair Beau (When the Weather is Lovely), 1955, a wonderful example of his work from an important period of his career when he was a central figure in Parisian artistic circles of the 1950s, which achieved $690,600, selling to an American dealer (lot 78, est. $450/550,000); Zhou Chunya’s Two TT, 2007, which shows two German shepherds in profile, realized $690,600, selling to an American Private collector (lot 139, est. $400/600,000); Su Xinping’s Sea of Desire, 1997, depicting a middle-aged businessman with a purposeful stride and determined gaze, brought $541,000, selling to an Asian Private collector (lot 99, est. $120/180,000); Yan Pei-Ming’s 1998 portrait of Mao, 1998, one of the many paintings he has completed on the subject of the great leader, brought $481,000, selling to a European Private Collector (lot 55, est. $400/600,000); and Tang Zhigang’s Children in Meeting, 2004, which sold for $457,000 to a European Private collector (lot 14, est. $250/350,000).