A new record for a private wine collection sold at auction was set in Hong Kong, when a three-day sale of Tran-scend-ent Wines concluded with a grand total of HK$233,582,518 / US$29,756,077, far surpassing its pre-sale low estimate of HK$147 million / US$19 million, and with 98% of lots sold.
The highest-estimated wine auction in history, Tran-scend-ent Wines was the most significant single-owner wine sale ever held and brought to the market in unprecedented breadth and depth with some of the greatest names in the wine world. It took 3 days, 25 hours and 4 auctioneers to complete the sale.
A surge in demand for wines from Burgundy has seen Domaine de la Romanée-Conti reign supreme, the sale was led by Romanée Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, with three 12-bottle lots selling for HK$2,728,000 / US$347,520 each; a 12-bottle lot of DRC’s Romanée-Conti 1985 achieving HK$2,356,000 / US$300,131; and three 12-bottle lots of Mouton Rothschild 1945 bringing HK$1,984,000 / US$252,742 each.
Bidders from across Asia and beyond battled enthusiastically, driving Sotheby’s Modern Art Evening Sale total to an outstanding HK$793 million / US$101 million, well above pre-sale expectations (estimate: HK$385-574 million / US$49-73 million), and with an impressive sell-through rate of 92.3%.
The undisputed highlight of the evening was Wu Guanzhong’s Lotus Flowers (I) from 1974, which exceeded all expectations selling for HK$130.8 million / US$16.7 million (est. HK$15/25 million) and securing its place among the top five highest prices ever achieved for the artist at auction.
An unrivaled group of six works by Zao Wou-Ki was 100% sold and totalled HK$440 million / US$56 million, over the high estimate. The group was led by a seminal work from the artist’s Oracle Bone period, Untitled (1958), which exceeded the high estimate of HK$80 million to sell for HK$116 million / US$14.8 million. Coming directly from the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the painting made its auction debut more than six decades after its creation, and proceeds from the sale will benefit the museum’s art fund.
The sale also included eight works by Guan Liang that sparked fierce competition, selling for a combined HK$43.9 million / US$5.6 million, 4.6 times of the low estimate for the group.
The Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Evening Sale achieved an outstanding total of HK$106,847,500 / US$13,611,303, with fifteen out of the sixteen lots offered finding buyers. Works by Lee Man Fong achieved exceptional prices- Bali Life achieved HK$28.9 Million / US$3.7 Million, while Doves sold for HK$12.8 Million / US$1.6 Million, 4 times of the estimate. A group of 3 rare oil on canvas by Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès were all sold, with a combined sale total of HK$29.3 Million / US$3.7 Million, far exceeding their high estimates. The sale also witness a new artist record for Pham Hau, Carps in the Water sold for HK$6,895,000 / US$878,354.