Today in Hong Kong, a rare Chinese classical scroll made a record price of $42 million at Sotheby’s. A 700-year-old painting by Chinese painter and government official Ren Renfa titled Five Drunken Princes Returning on Horseback sparked a 75 minute-long bidding run and fielded more than 100 bids, before hammering at HK $265 million, and selling for HKD 306 million ($41.8 million) with buyer’s fees. The estimate was between $10-$15 million.
The top lot, which is from the Yuan dynasty and dated around the late 13th to early 14th century, brought the total sale result to HKD 375.6 million ($48.4 million), accounting for the bulk of the figure. The scroll was acquired by Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian, founder of the Long Museum in Shanghai, which has significant holdings of ancient Chinese Art. The scroll included in the museum’s permanent collection.
The result makes the scroll the most expensive work sold in Asia this year, and the most valuable classical Chinese ink painting to be sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. The painting last sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2009 for HKD 46.6 million ($6 million). That is a 600 percent increase in value in just over a decade.
“Today the market spoke, and the extraordinary price achieved for an artwork that marries impeccable provenance with painterly brilliance, rarity with exceptional condition, is thoroughly deserved” said Steven Zuo, Head of Chinese Classical Painting of Sotheby’s Asia in a statement.
The results follows the major sale of a 1987 Gerhard Richter abstraction from Ron Perelman’s collection, which sold on Tuesday during Sotheby’s Hong Kong contemporary art evening sale for $28 million. That work went to the Pola Museum of Art in Japan.