Hong Kong Art Auction Roundup

May 27th, 2008

Yue Minjun, “Gweong-Gweong” via ArtNet

This weekend marked Christie’s first Hong Kong Evening Sale with artists such as Zeng Fanzhi, Zao Wou-ki, Yue Minjun setting auction records. Monday’s sale was the second day of Christie’s six-day auction of 2,400 paintings, gems and antiques that the company expects could tally HK$1.7 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Gun-Slinging Robot, Wooden Beams Mark Quiet Hong Kong Art Sale [Bloomberg]
Smiling Bombs, 101-Carat Diamond Lead Christie’s Hong Kong Sale [Bloomberg]
Picasso Women, Hirst Spots Mark Hong Kong Bid for Art-Fair Fame [Bloomberg]
Asian Contemporary Art Sets a Record [NYTimes]
Asian art records tumble at Christie’s Hong Kong auction
[China Post] 5.26.08

New records were set for Chinese contemporary art at Christie’s Asian Art auction in Hong Kong this weekend with pieces outperforming reported estimates. Noted sales include Zeng Fanzhi’s “Mask Series 1996 No. 6” which sold for HK $75.4 million ($9.7 million), the auction’s record for Asian contemporary artwork, which beat estimates of $1.9 million to $3.2 million.

Zeng Fanzhi, “Mask Series 1996 no. 6″ via Yahoo!News Singapore

Noteworthy sales also included works by Yue Minjun, with his “Dark Sky” selling for HK$6.5 million and his painting of the 1989 Tiananmen attack, “Gweong-Gweong” for HK$54.1 million. Tenmyouya Hisashi sold his “RX-78-2 Kabuki-mono 2005 Version” depicting a gun-clenching robot yesterday for HK$4.8 million. Yesterday marked the second day of the auction of 432 works fetching HK$345 million, leaving 59 lots unsold according to Bloomberg.

Tenmyouya Hisashi, “RX-78-2 Kabuki-mono 2005 Version” via ArtWorks

Despite credit problems and volatile financial markets since October, Christie’s expects to reach a total of HK$1.7 billion ($218 million) in the six-day auction of 2,400 gems, paintings, and antiques as reported by Bloomberg. The China Post finds that newly affluent Chinese collectors have helped to spike demand for this type of art. An increase in prices of the art is likely a result in part of overseas bidders who have recently entered the competition for Southeast Asian artwork. However, it is a concern that some extravagant purchases may be postponed as a result of the deadly Sichuan earthquake, claims collector Cai Mingchao.

According to Bloomberg, Picasso’s women, Warhol’s fast cars and Hirst’s spots will lead Hong Kong’s biggest effort so far to establish the city as Asia’s art-market capital. The city’s bid to be Asia’s art hub is reinforced by its auction sales and tax status. Bloomberg says that he city levies no taxes on artwork, compared with 34 percent in China. Hong Kong is also the third largest market for auctions by Christie’s.