C elebrating the 50th anniversary of Sotheby’s in Asia, this autumn Sotheby’s Hong Kong is delighted to bring a thrilling series of five livestreamed auctions on the evening of 5 October, featuring an exciting line-up from titans of modern and contemporary art to two exceptional jewels offered as single-lot sales.
Read on to discover a few of the spectacular highlights across fine art and luxury coming to auction.
The Hong Kong Autumn Sales are presented in partnership with Qatar Executive.
Known for his proficiency with both Eastern and Western artistic traditions, and his ability to employ both simultaneously within his work, Zao Wou-Ki has become an important figure in mid-century art historical canon. Sous un grand arbre d'été - 05.07.54 was created at the starting point of Zao's Oracle Bone Period. At that time, no longer restricted by the exact representation of things, Zao comprehended nature in an abstract style with the help of oracle bone symbols, and captured the essence of natural elements including the sun, forest, summer on the canvas.
Sous un grand arbre d'été - 05.07.54
From Kanagawa to Space
Modern Evening Auction presents From Kanagawa to Space, a series of works that look back in hisotry to analyze the development of figurative and abstract landscape painitngs. Leading with Katsushika Hokusai's Under the Wave off Kanagawa, this thematic includes the works by Marc Chagall, Wu Guanzhong, Liu Kuo-Sung and Chu Teh-Chun, presenting the Modern aesthetic of breath-taking landscape of the world we live in and the abstract world of our mind and soul.
Flowers and Beauties
Showcased alongside From Kanagawa to Space is a special curation of still life and portrait paintings, constructing the theme of Flowers and Beauties, which is seen in Modern Art across time and place. Highlights from this curation include Chen Yifei's Admiration, Vietnamese artist Le Pho, Mai Trung Thu and Vu Cao Dam's works depicting Vietnamese beauties, Georgette Chen's Coconut and chilies, Bernard Buffet's Nature morte à la cafetière bleue, and a selection of sculptures by Eastern and Western masters.
Dedicated to a diversity of visual arts – Western and Eastern, ancient and contemporary – Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei first began collecting over thirty years ago with a singular vision to build a museum that would leave no part of art and cultural history untouched. Established in 2012, the Long Museum has since become a source of inspiration throughout Asia with a legacy that resists categorisation. The cumulative endeavours of a life lived in pursuit of artistic excellence, the collection is exceptionally diverse and entirely eclectic in style, provenance, genre and content. Pioneering in scope and exhilaratingly ambitious, the journey of the Long Museum has found Liu and Wang at the centre of a particular moment in history, their encyclopaedic collection affording a truly global artistic education whilst strengthening local cultural roots as one of the most significant public institutions in China. Creating a passage between visionaries and innovators that transcends temporal and spatial boundaries, Liu and Wang’s collection has connected the lives and works of history’s most iconic artists.
Modern beauty was best epitomised by Modigliani’s emotionally intense portraits, in particular the masterpiece Paulette Jourdain (c.1919). Towards the end of Modigliani’s brief and turbulent life, but his fame by now firmly established, Modigliani painted the 14-year-old housemaid of his dealer Léopold Zborowski. The young Jourdain’s portrait exalts her humble background: her austere clothing, black-ribboned hair and clasped hands are animated by bold, swerving lines that echo the linear forms of African sculpture, transforming her into a totemic symbol of dignity.
Modigliani's final portrait
Surrealist master René Magritte is famed for his intriguing images that combine everyday objects in whimsical and thought-provoking contexts. In a world of paradoxes, Magritte seeks to question the experience of perception within painting. Le miroir universel belongs to a celebrated body of works Magritte executed during the mid-1930s and 1940s on the subject of a female nude in an unidentified landscape. Over a metre in height, Le miroir universel is the largest of the early representations of this theme and dates from the most important period in the Surrealist movement, and arguably one of the most visually arresting examples from the series.
Le miroir universel
Léonard Tsuhuharu Foujita
Léonard Tsuhuharu Foujita’s inventive hybrid Eastern-Western painting techniques found their apex in his sensational paintings of the object of his affections Lucie Badoud, most notably Nu au chat (1930), with sumi ink lines contouring the radiant grand fond blanc of her delicate ivory flesh. Foujita closely guarded the recipe for his signature luminous milky glaze, which was formed from a mixture of flaxseed oil, crushed chalk (or white lead) and magnesium silicate. Combined with his Japanese heritage, in particular the aesthetic of woodblock ukiyo-e prints and the Japanese concept of ma (or negative space), Foujita transformed Western figurative painting into a sublime and minimalist celebration of sensuousness.
Nu au chat
The Infinite Blue
The Infinite Blue is a stunning 11.28-carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond, faceted and polished with the inclusion of the number 8 in mind. Well-regarded as an embodiment of prosperity and auspiciousness in Asia, the form of the numerical digit is reminiscent to the universal symbol for infinity. Designed as a ring embellished with brilliant-cut diamonds, the Infinite Blue has a captivating hue that alludes to the vastness of the ocean. With shades of vivid blues reminiscent of the clearest skies, the Infinite Blue possesses an unmatched versatility. The diamond evokes a sense of tranquility, spirituality, and introspection. In a world where beauty is celebrated and treasured, gemstones such as the Infinite Blue stand as a testament to the extraordinary creations that nature bestows upon us. Their presence on the world stage, whether showcased at prestigious auctions or displayed in renowned museums, ignites fascination and admiration.
Jade, a gemstone steeped in rich cultural heritage and revered for its captivating beauty, stands as a testament to the wonders of nature's artistry. The Jadeite Tianchi (璟瑤凝翠) is a jadeite and diamond demi-parure featuring eight impeccable jadeite cabochons of the utmost quality. The name of the jewel alludes to a transcendent scene akin to a goddess bestowing heavenly lakes upon the mortal realm. As light dances through its translucent depths, jade reveals an inner glow, creating an ethereal radiance that is truly captivating. Beyond its enchanting appearance, jade holds deep cultural and spiritual significance. It has been treasured for centuries by civilizations around the world, from ancient Chinese dynasties to Mesoamerican cultures, as a symbol of wisdom, purity, and protection. As we explore the beauty of jade, we unravel a story woven by nature itself – a narrative of elegance, spirituality, and timeless allure.
The Jadeite Tianchi
Explore the top highlights of Contemporary Evening Auction, from Julia Mehretu’s monumental Untitled (2001), where a palimpsest of frenzied marks explosively synthesise abstract hieroglyphic symbolism and architectural visual vocabulary, to Liu Ye’s She and Mondrian, a quintessential and defining painting from the artist’s Golden Era – without question amongst the best of his prolific and accomplished practice.
Willem de Kooning
One of the leading lights of the post-war New York abstract expressionist boom, Willem de Kooning (1904-97) is an artist who captivates and mesmerises in equal measure. His Souvenir of Toulouse (1958) represents a turning point in his professional career as he turned from the creative hub of New York City towards nearby Long Island. To change location meant not just a change of scenery, but new journeys. This painting fizzes with the blurred urgency of rushing wind in a speeding automobile towards Long Island; the dashes of sunlight through the car window, the blue horizons, the palpable velocity. This museum-quality work has played its part in some of the greatest exhibitions of de Kooning in history, including at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild (1994) is emblematic of a genius in full flow. With his unique synergy of figuration, abstraction and the journey into memory, Gerhard Richter investigates forms of perception. His squeegee, drawn across the canvas, demonstrates his mastery of space, direction and pressure – and surrenders control to the elements, gravity and happenstance. This painting was included in the seminal 1995 exhibition “Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties,” at Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. Works from this show are now dispersed across the world’s most significant collections, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
From Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara to Chiharu Shiota and MR., Japanese contemporary art continues to draw in an international audience. Discover how the country’s rich history in creating compelling artworks helped paved the way for Japanese artists to command the world’s attention.