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Christie’s Hong Kong: Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Shines

December 2, 2020
white flowers on a black background

Sanyu’s Pink Chrysanthemums in a Basket

Starting in the wee hours in New York (so I was asleep when it took place), Christie’s Hong Kong offered up a selection of works that surely opened up people’s eyes.  When I initially went to their website, I noticed that there was an option to open a pdf version of the printed catalog (printed catalogs are becoming rare these days).  I click the button and it started to download a 372-page catalog.  What?!  It takes close to 400 pages to market 58 works?  (HK$ = Hong Kong Dollars, and unless otherwise noted, prices include the buyer’s premium)

mother and father with baby with yellow face

Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline Series The Big Family No. 2

The top lot in the sale was Sanyu’s Pink Chrysanthemums in a Basket which carried a HK$68-98M estimate and sold for HK$138.1M ($17.9M); the painting last sold in 2005 for HK$3.26M ($420K) – that was a very nice return.  Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline Series The Big Family No. 2, was expected to make HK$38-48M and brought HK$98M ($12.6M). This same painting sold in 2008 for HK$26.4M ($3.4M), so the owner did pretty well. In a close third they had Zao Wou-Ki’s 15.01.82 Triptyque at HK$94.6M ($12.2M – est. HK$70-120M). The seller of this one did not do as well – they bought it in 2013 for HK$85M ($11M). Rounding out the top five were Zao Wou-Ki’s 09.03.65 at HK$75.7M ($9.8M – est. HK$60-80M), and Chu Teh-Chun’s The White Forest I brought $HK42.3M ($5.5M – est. HK$35-55M) – this one last sold in 2006 for HK$10.6M ($1.35M) … another happy seller.

abstract painting with yellow and black

Zao Wou-Ki’s 15.01.82 Triptyque

There were several other lots that performed extremely well; these included Mathew Wong’s The Journey Home (est. HK$700K-1.5M – sold HK$11M/$1.43M), Huang Yuxing’s Gyatso’s Palace (est. HK$800K-1.2M – sold HK$4.3M/$548K), Pan Jiun’s The World Best Scenery – Jiang Nan (est. HK$900K-1.5M – sold HK$5M/$645K), and Leonard Foujita’s Reclining Nude with a Small Dog (est. HK$10-15M – sold $HK37.5M/$4.8M).

By the end of the session, of the 58 lots offered, 55 sold (94.8% sell-through rate), and the total take was HK$885M ($114M) on a HK$587.4-$882.7M ($76-$113.8M) estimate range. So, with the buyer’s premium, they squeaked past the upper end. With lots of action, and some strong prices, I am sure that many sellers were happy with the results.