Published: June 13, 2006
Christie’s recently completed the largest auction series in Asia with the sales of Modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art, Twentieth Century Chinese art, Asian contemporary art and Chinese ceramics works of art.
In all, the firm’s Hong Kong 2006 spring auctions, which ran from May 28 to June 1, realized a grand total of more than $154 million, a record high total for any series of auctions in Asia. The sales’ results provided a fitting finale to the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Christie’s Hong Kong.
The Modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art sale on May 28 fetched a record $6,709,664. The sales of Twentieth Century Chinese art and Asian Contemporary art realized a combined total of $39,176,696, also the highest total ever achieved anywhere in the world.
International buyers were bidding in full force throughout the day, according to Christie’s, with many lots selling well above their presale estimates. Numerous artist world auction records were set.
The imperial sale and important Chinese ceramics works of art sale, which was conducted on May 30, achieved a stunning $43,083,534, the highest total ever realized in this category at Christie’s. The star lot – an early Ming underglaze copper-red vase, Yuhuchunping, Hongwu period – fetched $10,207,600, setting a world auction record price for any Ming porcelain. It was sold to Steve Wynn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts.
Of the Modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art sale, Ruoh-Ling Keong, vice president and head of Christie’s Southeast Asian pictures department, said, “This is the highest total ever achieved in this category anywhere in the world, testifying to our leadership in this market. We are delighted to see clients who especially traveled to Hong Kong from overseas to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Christie’s Hong Kong with us and participate in a spectacular Modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art sale. Exceptional world auction records for Bali-based traveler artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès and pioneer Indonesian artist S. Sudjojono were established in this sale.”
Le Mayeur de Merprès’ (Belgium 1880-1958) “Terrace affordinga view of the sea with Pollok under an umbrella and severalfigures,” achieved a world auction record for the artist when itsold to a Southeast Asian private buyer for $1,762,800.
A total of $394,160 was realized for S. Sudjojono’s (Indonesia 1914-1986) “The indestructible desert,” also setting a world auction for the artist.
“We were thrilled to witness strong buying activity in a packed saleroom, encouraged by many new buyers from Hong Kong, the US and Europe, with the increasing presence of mainland Chinese and Taiwanese collectors,” said Keong. “We look forward to the further expansion of the market within Southeast Asia and beyond, as it steadily advances into a broader international arena.”
Rounding out the sale’s top ten lots were Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur De Merprès, “Two beauties on Tahitian beach,” $365,040; Raden Sarief Bustaman Saleh (Indonesia 1807-1880), “The Dutch colonial troops patrolling Mt Merapi & Merbabu, Central Java,” $306,800; Hendra Gunawan (Indonesia 1918-1983), “Reclining nude,” $292,240; Hendra Gunawan (Indonesia 1918-1983), “Washing by the stream,” $263,120; Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur De Merprès, “Two women in garden in front of a house,” $248,560; Affandi (Indonesia 1907-1990), “Piodalan festival in Bali,” $218,400; Walter Spies (1895-1942), “The night festival in Djogja,” $187,200; and Hendra Gunawan, “Wanita sabar menanti (Woman waiting patiently),” $140,400.
Commenting on the Twentieth Century Chinese art sale and the Asian contemporary art sale, Eric Chang, senior director, Modern and contemporary Asian pictures, head of Twentieth Century Chinese art, said, “These sales demonstrate that Hong Kong is the world center for Twentieth Century and contemporary Asian art. For the first time, the Asian contemporary art sale brought together Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Pakistani art. Bidding fiercely, international buyers ignored conventional boundaries and bought across the board, leading to the highest ever combined sold total anywhere in the world. The spectacular results reflect the rapidly growing worldwide enthusiasm for modern and contemporary Asian art. Numerous artist world auction records in every category were set.”
Top lot in the Twentieth Century Chinese art sale was Chu Teh-Chun (Zhu Dequn, b 1920), “Rouge, La pluie de pétales sur le village; Blanc, Le nuage au-dessus de la maison No. 53,” which set a world auction record for the artist at $3,364,400. Other world auction records for the artist were set for Liao Chi-Ch’un (Liao Jichun, 1902-1976), whose “Garden” fetched $2,199,600, and Wu Dayu (1903-1988), with “Dancing of Flowers,” which realized $801,840.
Rounding out the sale’s top ten lots were Sanyu (Chang Yu,1901-1966), “Flowers in a Bright Yellow Vase,” $2,738,320; ZaoWou-Ki (Zhao Wuji, b 1921), “16.4.59,” $962,000; Zao Wou-Ki (ZhaoWuji, b 1921), “Peking Opera,” $918,320; Wu Guanzhong (b 1919),”Place de la Concorde,” $627,120; Wang Yidong (b 1955), “Bride,”$598,000; Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji, b 1921), “5.12.61,” $598,000; andAi Xuan (b 1947), “Valiant Youth,” $598,000.
Asian contemporary art was topped by Cai Guo Qiang (b 1957), “Drawing for Man, Eagle and Eye in the Sky: Eagles Watching Man-Kite.” It set a new world auction record for the artist at $903,760. Other records were set for Wang Guangyi (b 1957), “Rolex,” $510,640; Fang Lijun, (b 1963), “No. 8,” $423,280; and Kim Dong-Yoo (b 1965), “Marilyn Monroe vs Chairman Mao,” $335,920.
In addition to the Ming vase, a number of other world records were broken during the May 30 sale of important Chinese ceramics and works of art. An imperial embroidery-embellished “Sanxing” kesi panel, Qianlong sealmarks and of the period (1736-1795) achieved a world auction record for a Qing dynasty kesi panel at $2,272,400. An extremely rare famille rose gilt-ground Tibetan-style ewer and cover, Duomuhu, Qianlong gilt six-character sealmark and of the period (173-1795) was also a record setting lot, bringing $962,000. And a highly important imperial “Yuting Qingyun” lacquered Qin, Song dynasty, inscribed Kaibao Wuchen cyclical date, corresponding to 968 AD and of the period, set a world auction record at $641,680.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium. For information, www.Christies.com.
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