The South China Morning Post’s Enid Tsui remains skeptical of the auction houses’ new strategy to bring Western Contemporary art to Hong Kong for sale. Her main complaint is that the works the auction houses have been bringing haven’t been choice.
This weekend, Phillips has Doig, Condo, Keifer, Richter and Ruscha on offer in Hong Kong. Christie’s has Cecily Brown, Willem de Kooning, Adrian Ghenie, Rudolf Stingel and Cy Twombly (not to mention Njideka Akunyili Crosby too.)
We’ll all be watching closely to see if Christie’s and Phillips are better able to gauge the market than Sotheby’s was. But Tsui suggests going in a different direction:
But here’s a crazy idea for really growing the Asia auction market: most art lovers in Asia will never be able to afford a Richter or a Warhol (apart from his photographs), so how about selling lower-priced items from categories that may hold special appeal here?
A case in point is Portrait of Lady Jane Staunton with Her Son, Afterwards Sir George Thomas Staunton Baronet, And a Chinese Attendant Holding a Chest of Tea. This late-18th century work by British portraitist John Hoppner, estimated at £10,000 to £15,000, was unsold in a Sotheby’s auction in London on May 3. Might it not have received much more attention in Hong Kong, where a street in Central is named after Sir George and where the figure of a Chinese attendant could have caused much post-colonial mirth?