As the world continues to be enamoured with Gutai, the radical Japanese post-war avant-garde group that has achieved an extraordinary resurgence in the past decade, the accomplishments of its quieter, less conspicuous members are swiftly coming to light. Uemae Chiyu and Masanobu Masatoshi are two such artists. Compared to other first-generation Gutai members who favoured explosive, expressionist and performative action-painting works, Uemae and Masanobu’s dedication to the silent art of painting manifested in pioneering experiments that are receiving renewed critical attention.
As the Hong Kong Spring Sales season continues this week, it is worth recognizing some of the initial results that have already made the sales a remarkable success. Leading the Modern and Contemporary Art Evening auction was Andy Warhol’s Mao, a 1973 masterwork that sold for HK$98.5 million (US$12.7 million). The Brushwork II: All the World’s a Stage auction achieved the rare white glove designation as all 25 works succeeded in finding buyers, bringing the total to HK$89.6 million (US$11.5 million). Click ahead to see some of the highlights from Hong Kong so far with much more to come. Hong Kong Spring Sales | 1–5 April
Celebrated for his idiosyncratic, unorthodox style and bold subject matter, Affandi was perhaps Southeast Asia’s foremost expressionist painter of the mid-20th century. Before teaching himself to paint at the age of 27, he worked as a teacher and box office clerk. He was inspired by the aesthetic shifts that swept the art world during and after the Second World War and turned to painting to capture the poignancy and richness of an Indonesia taking its first halting steps into the modern era. Besides embodying this ideal of honest representation in his own work, he also founded the organization Lembaga Pelukis Rakyat (The People’s Painters Association) to encourage Indonesian artists to strive for authenticity—rather than rehearsed reverence—in their depictions of the human experience. His determination to depict life honestly rather than romantically set him apart from the aesthetics of Mooi Indie and Pita-Maha, and he became known for painting unglamorous but fascinating scenes from daily life that held up a mirror for the turbulent society in which he actually lived, not an idealized, imaginary Indonesia. AFFANDI, DOGS FIGHTING, OIL ON CANVAS, SIGNED AND DATED 1964. ESTIMATE HK$ 1,200,000-2,500,000/US$ 155,000-323,000.
Sotheby's market leadership in the Southeast Asian art category over the past few years allowed us to assemble a desirable selection, and a high point of the evening was the record price set for the artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur, for a work which had come from the esteemed collection of the late Professor Arthur Lim. Large-scale and powerful paintings by key artists such as Ronald Ventura, Carlos Villaluz Francisco, and Hendra Gunawan performed extremely well with artist auction records set for both Francisco and Gunawan.
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