Today was a big day for Asian art in Hong Kong as Sotheby’s held three different sales bringing in $35m.
Contemporary Asian Art totaled HK$116m ($15m)
Many people talk about the fall of Chinese Contemporary Art but this Zeng Fanzhi painting WE No. 2 tells a slightly different story. Bought in February of 2008 by Charles Saatchi at Christie’s for $454k and displayed in his gallery show The Revolution Continues, the work fetched $544k today.
That’s not a spectacular rise–and Zeng + Saatchi is a pretty strong combination of artist and provenance–but its also not a loss. Meanwhile, Zeng’s next lot Tiananmen was estimated at HK$4m but made HK$6.26 ($807k)
Zhang Xiaogang‘s Comrade (Diptych) was estimated at HK$5.4m but got bid up to HK$8.54m ($1.1m). Those are not pre-credit crisis prices but also not giving the art away by any means.
Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings made HK$50m ($6.45m)
The Contemporary Asian Art sale has been expanded to include a large number of Japanese contemporary and Korean artists. This is a function of the contraction in the Chinese Contemporary art market and the expansion of Hong Kong’s role as the Asian art center (sorry, Singapore.) It may also be a comment on the changing nature of Asian art collections where buyers are expanding the scope of their collections to include a pan-Asian point of view. That process has also begun in the market for Southeast Asian art where Chinese collectors have joined buyers from Indonesia and the Philippines to create a larger market for Southeast Asian works.
Lee Man Fung‘s Magnificent Horses rung the bell in the SE Asian sale making HK$8.2m ($1.06m) against estimates that were only as high as HK$2.5m.
Affandi is among the artists whose prices have been rising with interest in the region. This picture, Self Portrait, Eating Watermelon, was owned by an Australian collector. Sotheby’s estimated it at HK$800,000; collectors valued it at HK$2.66m. ($343,000)
S. Sudjojono‘s Istiqlal and Cathedral tells a similar story with an estimate around HK$400,000 but selling for a solid six times that number at HK$2.3m ($296,000)
20th Century Chinese Art reached HK$109m ($14m)
Sanyu‘s Lotus and Red Fish was the big draw and it didn’t disappoint, blowing through the high estimate of HK$25m to make HK$36.5m. That’s $3.225m, a very healthy number and enough to make it the fourth highest price paid for a Sanyu canvas.
Zhao Wou-Ki‘s 7.4.61 also got a good boost over the estimate range with an initial expectation of HK$12,000,000 and a final selling price of HK$15,780,000 ($2.04m)