The Moment - Feb 22, 2020

Contemporary Art, French Wine Soar in Sotheby's $426M Sales Series During Hong Kong Protests

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • October 09, 2019

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Yoshitomo Nara’s Knife Behind Back brought HK$196 million / US$24.9 million
Sotheby's

Sotheby’s concluded its autumn sales series in Hong Kong, with 3,423 lots sold across 20 auctions conducted over five days at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre for a grand total of HK$3.35 billion / US$426 million – the sixth consecutive Hong Kong series to exceed US$400 million (Estimate: HK$2.5 – 3.57 billion / US$318 – 456 million).

HK$150 MILLION / US$19 MILLION WINE SALES CAP OFF A RECORD YEAR FOR SOTHEBY’S IN ASIA
• The two-day/three auction series contributes to a record-breaking year for Sotheby’s Wine in Asia, bringing our
annual total to HK$462 million / US$59 million.
• Japanese whisky takes the top spot: a bottle of Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Aged 50 Years sold for HK$2.4 million
/ US$300,272.
• Burgundy reigns supreme, led by two single-cellar collections.

Banksy, Riot Cop fetched HK$4,000,000 / US$509,840
Sotheby's

SANYU’S FINAL MASTERPIECE LEADS STRONG MODERN ART SALES
• The Modern Art Evening & Day Sales totalled HK$697 million / US$88.8 million – surpassing the series’ high estimate
(HK$674 million / US$85.8 million) and achieving the highest total for a Modern Art Day Sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
• Four bidders competed for Nu, Chinese émigré artist Sanyu’s final masterpiece and one of his largest nude paintings,
driving it to a record-shattering price of HK$198 million / US$25.2 million – far surpassing the artist’s prior auction
record of HK$128 million / US$16 million.
• 10 works by Zao Wou-Ki sold across the two sales, led by 21.04.59 from his famed ‘Oracle Bone’ series that sold for
HK$105 million / US$13.3 million.
• Eight artist records were set across the two sales, including Sanyu, Pang Jiun, Li Huayi, Sophie Chang, Chu Ko,
Zhuang Huayue, Orazio Bacci and Nino Lo Duca.

MONUMENTAL YOSHITOMO NARA CANVAS TOPS RECORD SERIES OF CONTEMPORARY ART SALES
• The Contemporary Art sales totalled HK$824 million / US$105 million, surpassing the series’ high estimate (HK$640
million / $81.5 million) and marking the highest-ever total for a Contemporary Art sales series staged by Sotheby’s
in Asia.
• Six bidders competed for 10 minutes for Yoshitomo Nara’s Knife Behind Back, driving the final price to HK$196
million / US$24.9 million – nearly five times the previous auction record, set earlier that same day. The painting is
the largest canvas by the artist ever to appear at auction.
• Liu Ye’s Smoke climbed to a record-setting HK$52 million / US$6.7 million after a prolonged five-way bidding battle.
The monumental painting was the star lot of The Gillion Crowet Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art that
achieved HK$139 million / US$17.7 million, with an exceptional 97% sell-through rate and three-quarters of all lots
exceeding their high estimates.
• Seven world auction records were set for Asian and Western contemporary artists, including Yoshitomo Nara, Liu
Ye, Sean Scully, Nicolas Party, Eddie Martinez, Nobuo Sekine and Genieve Figgis.

Nu, Chinese émigré artist Sanyu’s final masterpiece and one of his largest nude paintings, went to a record-shattering price of HK$198 million / US$25.2 million.
Sotheby's

MODERN & CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
• Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Evening & Day Sales totalled HK$90 million / US$11.5 million (est.
HK$70-107 million / US$8.9-13.7 million).
• Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès’ Women on the Terrace sold for double-estimate HK$11 million / US$1.4 million.
• Aw Tee Hong’s Untitled (Singapore River Scene) achieved a new auction record for the artist at HK$1.13 million /
US$143,000, eight times the low estimate.
• Catering to the tastes of our collectors, the sale included for the first time a piece of Vietnamese furniture: Pham
Hau’s A Wooden Cabinet with Lacquered Doors, which sold for more than six times its low estimate at HK$1.88
million / US$239,000.
The Modern, Contemporary and Southeast Asian Art sales achieved a combined total of HK$1.6 billion / US$205 million,
exceeding the combined pre-sale high estimate, and with a combined sell through rate of 82%.

FINE CHINESE PAINTINGS SALE SOARS PAST HIGH ESTIMATE
• The Fine Chinese Paintings sale totalled HK$396 million / US$50.4 million – far surpassing its high estimate of
HK$241 million / US$30.7 million, and with 70% of sold lots achieved prices above their high estimates.
• Led by Wu Guanzhong’s Sunrise in Lofty Mountains, sold for HK$49 million / US$6.2 million.
• A new world auction record was established for Zheng Wuchang, whose Landscapes Inspired by Wu Wenying's
Poetry sold for HK$16 million / US$2.1 million, more than three times the previous auction record for the artist.
FINE CLASSICAL CHINESE PAINTINGS
• Appearing at auction for the first time, Bada Shanren’s Melons and Brackens, produced during the early Qing
dynasty, sold for HK$9.8 million / US$1.2 million.

A FANCY VIVID PURPLISH PINK DIAMOND DAZZLES JEWELLERY COLLECTORS
• An exquisite 10.64-carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink Diamond led the auction of Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite,
selling for HK$156 million / US$19.9 million.
• The Dunhuang Pipa Necklace set with a 100.02 carat Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond, achieved HK$45 million /
US$5.8 million. Designed by Anna Hu, the necklace was the leading lot of the Silk Road Music Collection, which
consisted of five jewellery pieces inspired by the cultural exchanges that took place along the Silk Road.

SALES OF CHINESE WORKS OF ART TOTAL HK$697 MILLION / US$88.8 MILLION
• Exceptional prices achieved across six sales, including: A Highly Important Beijing-Enamelled Pouch-Shaped Glass
Vase, Blue Enamel Mark and Period of Qianlong, that fetched HK$207 million / US$26.4 million; An Exceptionally
Rare Blue and White ‘Dragon’ Stem Bowl, Mark and Period of Xuande, that sold for HK$75 million / US$9.5 million;
A Superb and Fine Blue and White ‘Daylily’ Palace Bowl, Mark and Period of Chenghua, that achieved HK$56.7
million / US$7.2 million.

IMPORTANT WATCHES BRING HK$136 MILLION / US$17.3 MILLION
• Led by Patek Philippe Skymoon Tourbillon Reference 5002, a Pink Gold Double Dial Wristwatch with Twelve
Complications, sold for HK$11 million / US$1.4 million.


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