Sotheby’s Hong Kong Contemporary Asian Art Takes US$8.5 Million

Sotheby’s sale of Contemporary Asian Art at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre achieved a total of HK$66,434,00 /US$8,501,559, within pre-sale expectations of HK$59.1-82.9 million /US$7.5-10.6 million), and was 74% sold by lot and 81% by value. 57% of the sold lots achieved prices in excess of their high estimates.

Solid results were seen for top quality works by leading Chinese Contemporary artists Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, Sui Jianguo and Zeng Fanzhi, and exciting prices were also achieved for works by Japanese, Korean and conceptual Chinese artists. Hong Kong Contemporary artists also performed well on their auction debut.

Commenting on the sale, Evelyn Lyn, Head of Contemporary Asian Art at Sotheby’s, said: “We are very pleased and encouraged by today’s results. Top quality works by all the leading Chinese artists found buyers and sold well, and we also saw some exciting prices for conceptual art and Japanese, Korean and Hong Kong artists. Bidding came from all over Asia as well as Europe and America and the results are an affirmation of our strategy of putting together a tightly edited sale focused on quality and competitive pricing. auction records were established for Sui Jianguo and Huang Yongping and we also set a new auction record for a sculpture by Yayoi Kusama.”

Conceptual Art
• All five conceptual works by Chinese artists achieved strong results but the undoubted star of the group was Huang Yongping’s copper, iron, wood and cloth sculpture Sixty-Year Cycle Chariot (lot 709). This sold for HK$3,380,000 /US$432,539, more than double the high estimate of HK$1,500,000
/US$194,000 and set a new auction record for the artist.

• Bowl of Pearls (Set of Two) by Ai Weiwei (lot 706) made HK$1,700,000 /US$219,381, again above the high estimate of HK$1,200,000 /US$155,000. Two works by Chen Zhen also exceeded their high estimates.

Contemporary Japanese Art
• Yahoi Kusama’s Pumpkin (lot 725) led the Japanese offerings and this is a prime example of the artist’s work. Executed in 2007 and part of a limited edition of 17 works, it succeeds in projecting Kusama’s obsession with repetition, pattern and accumulation. The sculpture fetched HK$2,720,000/US$348,078 against an estimate of HK$1.5-2 million /US$194,000-258,000 and established a new auction record for a sculpture by the artist.

Contemporary Korean Art
• Spearheading the Korean section of the sale was Nam June Paik’s enigmatic mixed media work Watching Buddha (lot 710), which brought HK$1,820,000 /US$234,835 against an estimate of HK$800,000-1,200,000 /US$104,000-155,000. The video art installation comprises a Buddha sculpture tied down with a rope to an elephant.

Contemporary Hong Kong Art
• Nine works by a number of Contemporary Hong Kong artists were presented at auction for the first time and they all performed strongly; the group made a combined total of HK$1,096,250 against a pre-sale estimate of HK$500,000-645,000.

• The top seller of the group was Tsang Tsou Choi’s (Kowloon Emperor) Calligraphy (lot 612), which sold for HK$212,500 /US$27,419, more than seven times the pre-sale estimate of HK$20,000-30,000/US$2,600-3,900. Calligraphy is an amalgamation of a calligraphic work he produced in 2004 and a photograph of the artist in action, which was taken by Lau Kin Wai in 1997 and which has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale.

• Kevin Fung Lik Yan’s painted teak wood Baggage Series (set of three) (lot 614), doubled its pre-sale high estimate, selling for HK$212,500 /US$27,419 (est: HK$80,000-100,000 /US$10,400-12,900) and Little Cheung, “This is Kowloon City” by Chow Chun Fai (lot 611) fetched HK$93,750 /US$12,097, over the high estimate of HK$60,000 /US$7,800.

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