The sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings on 7 October commanded a stunning total of HK$121 million / US$15.5 million, surpassing the pre-sale estimate of HK$45 million / US$5.8 million*, and achieving the highest auction total ever for this category.
The sale also set the auction world record for any Southeast Asian paintings when Fortune and Longevity by Indonesian modern master Lee Man Fong sold for HK$34.26 million / US$4.4 million.
Extremely rare in Lee Man Fong's oeuvre, Fortune and Longevity was in private hands since its completion in 1951 and is a perfect example of Lee’s work that reaffirms his contribution and influence as a pioneer Southeast Asian artist. Combining Eastern and Western art, he attained a rarely surpassed technical excellence. For example, the scene is brought alive by Lee’s striking brushstrokes, exhibiting immense technical skill which emulates the fluidity of Chinese ink, but using oil. This epic painting, one of the artist’s largest and most exquisitely executed, celebrates peace, prosperity, abundance and good health. This is expressed through the Chinese calligraphy used by the artist in addition to the auspicious symbols such as the pumpkin – a symbol of prosperity, abundance, good luck spanning generations – and the qi lin, a symbol of good omen, protection, prosperity, success and longevity.
Among other highlights, this work is joined by Gambuh Dancer by Romualdo Frederico Locatelli, which is one of the artist’s most important works in Bali, as well as Ginza, which is executed during Affandi’s creative apogee. The collection is rounded off by some of the finest examples in Contemporary Southeast Asian art, such as the highly conceptual and fresh to the market Tutur Karena, Nelan (Swallow) by Handiwirman Saputra and Ay Tjoe Christine’s The Workers, which blurs the boundaries between abstraction and figuration. This October, the Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings collection represents the original, the eclectic, the cutting edge, and the timeless.
Auction Room 1, Hall 3, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (New Wing)