NEW YORK—Fine art accounted for more than HK$1.4 billion ($181 million) of the overall HK$2.7 billion ($351.7 million) total achieved at the recent Christie’s Hong Kong auctions, including six day and evening sales.
At the evening sale of Asian 20th-century and contemporary art, held on May 26, the total was HK$361.7 million ($46.6 million) and the auction was 91 percent sold by lot, 96 percent sold by value. Sanyu’s Blue Chrysanthemums in a Glass Vase, painted in the 1940s, led the sale with a final price of HK$47.7 million ($6.2 million), surpassing the high estimate of HK$28 million. Also in the top lots, and marking the sale’s third-highest price at HK$38.7 million ($5 million), was Pink Lotus, also painted in the 1940s. Zeng Fanzhi took second place with Fly, 2000, which sold for HK$39.9 million ($5.2 million). Zao Wou-Ki continues to be at the forefront of these sales, with three of the top-ten lots fetching a total of HK$45.7 million ($5.9 million) for his works, each at prices higher than estimated.
The day sale of Asian 20th-century art, on May 27, totaled HK$170.5 million ($22 million), with 85 percent sold by lot and 96 percent sold by value. The Asian contemporary art figure was HK$97.2 million ($12.5 million), with 72 percent sold by lot, 79 percent sold by value.
Eric Chang, international director of Asian 20th-century and contemporary art, attributed “the robust results of the sale in part to Christie’s integration of southeast Asian contemporary and modern art into the overall Asian category, creating a wider pan-Asian platform.”
In the 20th-century category, Lin Fengmian’s Opera Series: Beauty Defies Tyranny, painted in the 1950s, sold above estimate at HK$11.6 million ($1.5 million). Chu Teh-Chun’s Accent d’orgue, 1995, sold at HK$9.6 million ($1.2 million) and his work figured again in the top ten with Untitled No. 221, 1965, selling at HK$4.8 million ($623,980), or two times the high estimate of HK$2.4 million. Also in this category, Zao Wou-Ki figured in the top ten with two works obtaining a total of HK$10.2 million ($1.3 million).
In the Asian contemporary art sale, the top lot Hearth, 1988, by Shang Yang, sold at five times its high estimate, for HK$6.4 million ($825,932). Zeng Fanzhi, known for his “Mask” series, placed second with his 1997 Mask selling at HK$5 million ($655,050).
The fine Chinese modern paintings sale, held May 29, fetched HK$454.2 million ($58.5 million), and was 91 percent sold by lot and 93 percent sold by value. In the top ten, five paintings by Zhang Daqian brought prices above estimate, with Separation, 1996, selling for HK$34.3 million ($4.4 million). The remaining four works totaled HK$54.7 million ($7 million).
Ben Kong, international specialist head of Christie’s Chinese paintings department, said Chinese paintings sales this season “continued to incite bidding from a diverse group of collectors, further reflecting a pattern of sustained growth in the market for Chinese paintings.”