NEW YORK—Christie’s autumn auctions in Hong Kong (Nov. 25-27) were heavily focused on contemporary art and realized $270.4 million exceeding last year’s total of $210 million (ANL, 12/26/06, p. 5). Fine art accounted for about $145 million of the total. The auction series included Asian contemporary art ($60.1 million), Chinese 20th-century art ($39.9 million), fine Chinese modern paintings ($16.8 million), and Southeast Asian contemporary and modern art ($8.27 million) among other sales.
In the Asian contemporary art sale, which was 96 percent sold by lot and 99 percent by value, a record was set for Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957) when his Set of Fourteen Drawings for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, 2002, sold for $9.54 million.
Eric Chang Ting-Yuen, international director of Chinese 20th-century art and Asian contemporary art at Christie’s said the work “presented a powerful combination of traditional and contemporary elements that appealed to both East and West and drew bidders from Asia, Europe and America.”
A record was also set for Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964), when The Mask-Five Faces, 2000, fell for $1.05 million. Another Chinese artist, Yue Minjun (b. 1962) had four works in the top ten with three of his paintings exceeding $1 million each. His installation Life, 1999, of 15 separate paintings, each depicting the artist in different, contorted positions, fetched $2.77 million. Portrait in Yellow, by Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958), went for $2.92 million, more than twice the high estimate.
The Asian sale included Korean, Japanese, Indian and Pakistani art. Commenting on 22 works of contemporary Indian and Pakistani art, Yamini Mehta, director of Christie’s Indian modern and contemporary art department, noted that more than a dozen records had been set. Korean highlights included On Chi Gyun’s Autumn in Sabuk, 2000 ($647,051) and Nam June Paik’s Wright Brothers, 1995 ($647,051).
Though smaller than the other contemporary sales, the Southeast Asian contemporary and modern art sale posted five records and was 96 percent sold by lot, 99 percent by value. Leading the sale was Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet (1895-1978) with Market Scene, 1948, bringing $1.48 million, well over the high estimate.