A s Sotheby’s concludes its fourth day of the Hong Kong Autumn Sales and the finale of the two-day live-stream event, we look back at the standout performance of marquee evening sales in the week. In the previous day, Sotheby's Asia saw a historical moment with the outstanding success of its Southeast Asian Art and Modern Art Evening Sales, as well as a stand-alone, single lot auction of an important 102.39 carat Flawless Oval Diamond. On Tuesday night, all eyes were again on Ian McGinlay, the auctioneer in Hong Kong presiding over the Contemporary Art Evening Sale, taking bids from specialists on phone banks in real time from New York, London and Hong Kong in one high-definition experience.
The spectacular success of tonight's Contemporary Art Evening Sale is a bellwether for the Hong Kong fall series, which continues through 9 October, as well as Sotheby's reinvention of the auction experience through a pioneering live-stream format. The numbers speak for themselves. The Contemporary Art Evening Sale was 92% sold by lot and achieved a HK$684 million (US$88.3 million) total, which represents highest ever for a various-owner sale in this category staged at Sotheby’s Asia. Together with the sales from the previous evening brings the combined tally across the four marquee auctions in the live-stream event to HK$1.6 billion (US$206 million).
Gerhard Richter's 'Abstraktes Bild (649-2)' Sets a New Record in Asia
The vibrant Abstraktes Bild (649-2) by Gerhard Richter was the top lot in the sale, inspiring a flurry of bids between Hong Kong, New York, and London – and after a dramatic ten minutes, the work fetched more than HK$214.6 million (US$27.7 million). The successful bidder was the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan, one of the most prestigious private museums in Asia. The sale of Abstraktes Bild (649-2) has now set the highest price for any work of Western art sold in Asia, signaling the continued ascent of Asia as a global platform for contemporary art.
Another standout of the evening was Banksy’s monumental work Forgive Us Our Trespassing from 2011. Towering at seven meters in height, the work was won by an Asian private collector for HK$64.1 million (US$8.3 million), far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of HK$16 million – HK$32 million. The auction demonstrates Sotheby's continued leadership in Western contemporary art in Asia, including impressive results for works by Adrian Ghenie, as well as debuts of major works in Asia by Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas and George Condo.
Also highlighting the sales are Asian masterpieces by prominent names including Yayoi Kusama, Liu Ye, Kazuo Shiraga and Takeo Yamaguchi, alongside two prestigious collections from esteemed Asian collectors which will be offered across the auction tonight and the Contemporary Art Day Sale (7 October, Hong Kong).
The First Avant Garde: Masterworks from the Johnson Chang Collection
“The First Avant Garde: Masterworks from the Johnson Chang Collection” features fourteen Chinese Contemporary artworks hailing from the private collection of Johnson Chang, the eminent Hong Kong curator, critic and connoisseur, who is widely regarded for his ground-breaking efforts in placing the Chinese Contemporary art genre onto the international stage. The lots from this collection offered in the evening sale were 100% sold.
The prestigious selection was led by Zhang Xiaogang’s The Dark Trilogy: Fear, Meditation, Sorrow, presented and offered in its entirety for the first time since the early 1990s, and realizing a price of HK$54.9 million (US$7.1 million) when the gavel fell. Other highlights from the collection include The Mask Series No. 11 by Zeng and Liu Wei's Banana, all of which have been kept in Chang’s private collection since their creation and have garnered great interest from buyers in the evening.
Art of Tomorrow
“Art of Tomorrow: Works Sold to Benefit the Chu Foundation,” an eclectic selection of 34 lots from the private collection of prominent Hong Kong-based art collectors and patrons Natalie Chan Chu and Lawrence Chu, was offered across several Sotheby's auctions this autumn.
The Colleagues by Firenze Lai topped the auction record for the artist when it sold for HK$3 million (US$390,000). Another record was set for Cui Jie by Daughter of the Sea, marking a new high for the artist.