Hong Kong’s newly expanded sales week is having some interesting effects. With both Christie’s and Poly holding sales in Hong Kong this weekend, as well as Bonhams, Ravenel and others, it’s a good time to judge the market. It seems to be maturing from a bubbly buying frenzy into a choosy “masterpiece” market following the same pattern as the markets in London and New York. That means there’s still lots of money for art but it crowds around the best pieces in a fairly narrow range.
At Poly, that meant a big 20th Century master of ink painting Zhang Daqian and for the rest Zao Wou-ki and Chu The-Chun were the magic names driving the sales in volume, top prices and sales exceeding estimates.
The biggest winner of the week may have been Hong Kong itself as the concentration of sales and marketing clout of Poly brought new mainland buyers to the Southern city:
“I’m very satisfied,” said Alex Chang, managing director for Poly Auction in Hong Kong. “We had a lot of collectors come from China, but most of the big bidding came from collectors from Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of Asia.”
The two salesrooms each held more than 150 bidders and spectators for the most popular lots. Both Christie’s and Poly said that the timing of their sales may have brought out more buyers than usual.
“Poly brought out new buyers from China for us, who had heard of Christie’s but had never been to our auction before,” Mr. Curiel said.