Sotheby’s will debut its celebrity-driven “Contemporary Curated” series in Hong Kong on June 18 with Taiwanese singer Jay Chou acting as the influencer. But the heartthrob won’t be the only star celebrated in the series. A work by Jean-Michel Basquiat that famously appeared in the background of the New York Times Magazine cover story from 1985 that anointed him as the artist of the “Downtown” generation will lead the evening sale in Hong Kong with a HKD 255 million ($32.8 million) low estimate.
The sale will also mark the last official act of Sotheby’s star specialist, Yuki Terase, who can claim a significant role in development of the Asia as a driving force in the contemporary art market. Closing her career at Sotheby’s with Chou, who appeared on ARTnews’s list of 50 collectors under 50 to watch, is a fitting bookend for the woman who brought Western artists to center stage in the Hong Kong sales with Korean star T.O.P. in 2016.
The 1985 untitled Basquiat on offer is special because it is the work the artist chose to be photographed in front of for that seminal magazine cover. Sotheby’s is also offering the chairs from the photoshoot as a separate lot of memorabilia. The sale comes after a series of strong prices achieved for Basquiat’s work, including the $93 million paid for one of the artist’s “Skull” paintings, the $50 million that secured Versus Medici (1982) earlier this month in New York, and the $41 million that won Warrior (1982) in Hong Kong in March.
As part of the Chou-organized sale, Pablo Picasso’s late-era Buste d’Homme (1969) is being offered with a HKD 93 million ($12 million) low estimate. Also on offer is Richard Prince’s Runway Nurse with an estimate of HKD 75 million ($9.6 million), nearly the same price of $9.7 million the consignor paid for it at Christie’s in 2016, setting the artist’s auction record. Frank Stella’s 1978 painting Untitled (Double Concentric Square) has a HKD 32 million ($4.1 million) low estimate. Sought after painter Loie Hollowell’s painting Linked Lingams (yellow, green, purple, pink) is also on offer with a HKD 3 million ($380,000) low estimate.
The works will be exhibited at Hong Kong’s K11 Atelier and K11 Musea from June 11–18.