Following Sotheby’s recent announcement of works from the collection of dealer Johnson Chang coming up for sale, Sotheby’s has unveiled a 1987 Gerhard Richter abstraction, titled Abstraktes Bild (649-2) and estimated at HKD 120 million–HKD 140 million ($15.5 million–$18 million), as the top lot in its Hong Kong contemporary evening sale on October 6. Beginning this week, the work will be showcased in Singapore and later travel to Taiwan for clients to preview by appointment.
Standing at 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet, the large-scale oil painting was completed in 1987 during the key period in which Richter made his “Abstraktes Bild” series. Richter’s abstractions account for the majority of works by the German artist to have sold at auction for more than $20 million.
Houses are starting to bring his abstract paintings to the Asian art market as records increase for Western artworks hitting the block in Hong Kong contemporary sales. Sotheby’s sold David Hockney’s 30 Sunflowers in July for HKD 114.8 million ($14.8 million), marking the second-highest price ever achieved for a Western artist in the Hong Kong auctions.
According to specialists, the Richter market has dipped in recent years, following a peak in 2015. His market’s nadir came after a 1986 abstraction sold for $46.3 million price following a retrospective at Tate in London. Now, auction houses are responding to stable demand for his abstract works in the Asian art market. In July, a Richter abstraction titled Frost (1), 1989, led the Hong Kong portion of Christie’s global “ONE” sale. It sold for HKD 79.3 million ($10.2 million), beating its high estimate of HKD 68 million ($8.8 million).