HONG KONG – The Spring sales series in Hong Kong concluded today following a whirlwind week that included sixteen auctions. The series got off to a strong start with an Evening Sale of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art that soared above its estimate, and ultimately totalled HK$2.7 billion (US$346.3 million). Buzz for the biannual week of sales has perhaps never been higher around the city. For the first time, highlights from Sotheby’s auctions were exhibited at Pacific Place and a host of previously uninitiated potential collectors were introduced to the world of Sotheby’s.
The Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Evening sale achieved HK$603.7 million ( US$77.4 million), easily exceeding pre-sale expectations. Wu Guanzhong’s Plum Blossoms was the evening’s star, fetching HK$66.8 million (US$8.6 million). The 1973 painting shows Wu at his most cheerful – the bold hues of the plum blossoms pop with all of the vitality of Spring.
Three works by Zhang Daqian led the Fine Chinese Paintings sale to a total HK$477.8 million (US$61.3 million). Nearly 80% of lots offered were sold above their presale estimates with 11 lots selling above US$1 million. Zhang Daqian’s Riding in the Autumn Countryside sold for HK$51.2 million (US$6.6 million).
The exquisite “Guan” octagonal vase from the Southern Song dynasty achieved the remarkable sum of HK$113.9 million (US$14.7 million). Though the crackled bluish-green guan ware became one of China’s most widely admired and therefore imitated ceramic styles, actual examples are exceedingly rare.
The Contemporary Literati: Curiosity sale achieved a total HK$84.4 million (US$10.8 million), following the inaugural auction in the Spring of 2014. The conceptual lifestyle sale brings together contemporary ink painting, scholars’ objects and Chinese Works of Art. The auction “successfully engaged the imagination of collectors,” says Nicolas Chow, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and International Head of Art.
One of the week's highlights was undoubtedly the sale of one of the world’s largest Swatch collections in private hands ever known. Comprising more than 5,800 Swatches and art acquired over 25 years, the unique collection finally sold to a European institution on the phone after some 30 bids drove the price to a remarkable HK$46.7 Million (US$6 Million).