Bloomberg‘s Le-min Lim covers Christie’s sales of Asian art in Hong Kong this weekend with this detailed report:
Mainland Chinese buyers drove prices higher. Inflation concerns in China and a sagging dollar are driving the Chinese to convert currencies into assets such as art. They are choosing pieces by living masters such as Chu and deceased artists Fu Baoshi and Xu Beihong because they are more likely to retain value than contemporary works by Chinese artists in their 30s and 40s.
These sales and prices are quotes from Lim’s story:
- “Vertige Neigeux,” an oil-on-canvas diptych that took France-based Chu (1920- ) about a decade to complete, […] 4-meter abstract of falling snow by Chinese painter Chu Teh-Chun fetched an artist record HK$45.5 million ($5.9 million) in Hong Kong, the surprise top lot
- A 1944 scroll of ink-and-color on paper by Fu Baoshi (1904- 1965) called “Landscape Inspired by Dufu’s Poetic Sentiments” fetched an artist record of HK$60 million in the day sale.
- In the evening, a 1950s blue, white and pink oil painting of potted flowers by the late Chinese master Sanyu (1901-1966), the cover lot and tipped by Christie’s to fetch the highest price, sold for HK$35 million, against a presale estimate of HK$12 million.
- Almost every painting by Paris-based abstract Chinese artist Zao (1920- ) did well. His 44 inch-by-57 1/8 inch blue- and-white “19-11-59” sold for HK$30.3 million, more than twice the presale estimate. A 51 inch-by-76 3/8 inch orange-hued “05- 03-76” fetched HK$8.4 million, against a HK$10 million estimate. “The huge price gap between these two like-sized paintings by Zao shows buyers have matured and are focused on the best works by an artist,” said Eric Chang, head of Christie’s Asia contemporary and Chinese 20th-century art department.
- Zeng Fanzhi’s 1994, 70 5/8 inch-by-78 3/8 inch oil painting, “Untitled (Hospital Series),” the star Chinese contemporary lot at the evening sale that was expected to fetch as much as HK$12 million, sold for HK$19 million after fierce competition involving Wang Wei, wife of millionaire Chinese stock-investor Liu Yiqian, and one other auction-room bidder.
- Liu Ye’s scarlet-and-pink acrylic-on-canvas “I Always Wanted to be a Sailor,” for which she paid HK$7.2 million, against a pre-sale top estimate of HK$6 million.