Press Release

Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (649-2) Leads Sotheby's Hong Kong Contemporary Art Autumn Sales 2020

Hong Kong
LED BY GERHARD RICHTER’S ABSTRAKTES BILD (649-2)
THE HIGHEST ESTIMATED WESTERN CONTEMPORARY WORK TO COME TO AUCTION IN ASIA
Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (649-2), 1987, oil on canvas, 200 by 200 cm, 78 ¾ by 78 ¾ in.

HIGHLIGHTING

TOP TIER WORKS BY LEADING INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS
David Hockney | Adrian Ghenie | Yayoi Kusama | Liu Ye | Kazuo Shiraga

DEBUT OF MAJOR WORKS IN ASIA BY BLUE-CHIP WESTERN ARTISTS
Francis Bacon | Marlene Dumas | Ellsworth Kelly

PRESTIGIOUS COLLECTIONS FROM TWO GENERATIONS OF ASIAN CONNOISSEURS
The First Avant-Garde: Masterworks from the Johnson Chang Collection
Art of Tomorrow: Works Sold to Benefit the Chu Foundation


Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Autumn Sales 2020, scheduled for 6-7 October in Hong Kong, will present an exceptional selection of Western and Asian masterpieces of unprecedented diversity. Led by the stunningly vibrant Abstraktes Bild (649-2) by Gerhard Richter, the Evening Sale showcases a stellar line-up of international blue-chip artists such as David Hockney and Adrian Ghenie, as well as debuts of major works in Asia by Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas and Ellsworth Kelly.

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 connoisseurs which will be offered across the Evening and Day Sales. “The First Avant Garde: Masterworks from the Johnson Chang Collection” features 14 Chinese Contemporary artworks hailing from the private collection of Johnson Chang, the eminent Hong Kong curator and critic, who is widely regarded for his ground-breaking efforts in placing the Chinese Contemporary art genre onto the international stage; while “Art of Tomorrow: Works Sold to Benefit the Chu Foundation” offers 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.

We are delighted and honoured to announce our Contemporary Art Sales this October, which marks the most distinguished line-up of top-quality works by blue-chip international artists ever to come to auction in Asia. We are also deeply privileged to present curated selections of works from the prestigious Johnson Chang Collection and the Chu Foundation, which represent the cutting-edge visions of two generations of Asian connoisseurs responsible for trailblazing cultural developments in Asia and around the world.
Yuki Terase, Head of Contemporary Art, Asia of Sotheby’s

TOP TIER WORKS BY LEADING INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (649-2)
1987, oil on canvas
200 by 200 cm, 78 ¾ by 78 ¾ in.
Est. HK$ 120,000,000-140,000,000 / US$ 15,490,000-18,070,000

Fresh to auction, Abstraktes Bild (649-2) from 1987 is a superlatively powerful painting from Richter’s best-known series. Texture, colour and structure are deployed with force and sensitivity to engender a seductive painterly synthesis comprising infinite tonal variations and abyssal layers beyond the picture plane. The balance between hard and soft, structural solidity and phosphorescence, photographic and abstract, renders the present work a remarkable exemplar of Richter’s abstract canon. Many examples of Richter’s Abstrakte Bilder from 1986-1988 reside in prominent institutional and private collections.

David Hockney, Still Life
2017, acrylic on canvas
122 by 244 cm. 48 by 96 in.
Est. HK$ 42,000,000-62,000,000 / US$ 5,420,000-8,000,000

Still Life from 2017 is the first of David Hockney’s iconic hexagonal paintings to come to auction. Presenting a whimsical indoor panorama on an unprecedented hexagonal canvas, Still Life enacts a rigorous treatise on perspective, with the lower indentations of the canvas dramatically opening up the viewer’s perception of space. Painted in Hockney’s 80th year, coinciding with his monumental world touring retrospective, Still Life draws the viewer into a fantastical world replete with the painterly genius, intellectual zest and eccentric wit that distinguish the very best of the artist’s output.

Adrian Ghenie, Lidless Eye
2016-2018, oil on canvas
180.3 by 150 cm. 71 by 59 in.
Est. HK$ 42,000,000-62,000,000 / US$ 5,420,000-8,000,000

Lidless Eye from 2016-2018 is an emblematic piece from Adrian Ghenie’s acclaimed works inspired by Vincent van Gogh. Growing up in Romania under a repressive regime, Ghenie was deeply captivated by Van Gogh’s works as a youth. The present work is a tribute to the great master as well as a prism through which to examine the Nazi’s purging of ‘degenerate art’, which included works by Van Gogh. A composite of the personal and historical, and a revival of both history painting and self-portraiture, this work encompasses Ghenie’s childhood adulation for Van Gogh as well as his core preoccupations regarding contemporary history’s darkest chapters.



WORKS BY PROMINENT ASIAN MASTERS

Yayoi Kusama, A-PUMPKIN-(CHA)
2011, acrylic on canvas
112 by 145.5 cm. 44 by 57 in.
Est. HK$ 22,000,000-32,000,000 / US$ 2,840,000-4,130,000

Executed in 2011, A-PUMPKIN (CHA) is a classic Yayoi Kusama pumpkin painting. The background features Kusama’s iconic infinity net motif, while the pumpkin itself universally emblematic of the artist and is deeply central to her psyche. Consummately executed, A-PUMPKIN (CHA) is a superlative paradigm of one of the most legendary figures of contemporary art.

Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY-NETS (NOLM)
2013, acrylic on canvas
162 by 130.3 cm. 63¾ by 51¼ in.
Est. HK$ 6,000,000-9,000,000 / US$ 775,000-1,170,000

Fresh to auction, rendered in a shimmering golden and chartreuse palette, INFINITY-NETS (NOLM) from 2013 is a beautifully alluring example of Yayoi Kusama’s epochal infinity net canon. The painting exudes a compelling rhythm tuned into both nature and the psychological undulations deep within the viewer.

Liu Ye, Florence
1994, oil on canvas
119.7 by 150.2 cm. 47⅛ by 59⅛ in.
Est. HK$ 7,000,000-9,000,000 / US$ 905,000-1,170,000

Executed in 1994, Liu Ye’s Florence is remarkably rare as one of the artist’s few outdoor landscapes and the only recorded landscape depicting an actual real-life location: the Fort Belvedere in Florence, Italy. An early touchstone of Liu Ye’s practice, the work features the very first recorded instance of the striped Breton shirt, amongst many other iconic symbols of the artist. Created just before Liu Ye’s return to China after his German period, the piece is a reflection on identify, artistic history and the essence of artistic creation itself.


THE FIRST AVANT-GARDE: MASTERWORKS FROM THE JOHNSON CHANG COLLECTION

Zhang Xiaogang, The Dark Trilogy: Fear, Meditation, Sorrow
1989-1990, oil and collage on canvas, in three panels
(i) 179 by 114 cm. 70 ½ by 44 ⅞ in. (ii) 179 by 114 cm. 70 ½ by 44 ⅞ in.
(iii) 177.8 by 114.3 cm. 70 by 45 in.
Overall: 179 by 342.3 cm. 70 ½ by 134 ¾ in.
Est: HK$ 25,000,000 – 45,000,000 / US$ 3,226,000 – 5,806,000

This esteemed assemblage of 14 Chinese Contemporary artworks hail from the private collection of Johnson Chang, the eminent Hong Kong curator, critic and connoisseur. The selection is led by Zhang Xiaogang’s monumental triptych The Dark Trilogy: Fear, Meditation, Sorrow, which will be presented and offered in its entirety for the first time since the early 1990s. To be offered across Evening and Day Sales. (Please click here to view press release for more information.)

Zeng Fanzhi, The Mask Series No. 11
1994, oil on canvas
180 by 150 cm. 70 ⅞ by 62 ⅝ in.
Est. HK$ 12,000,000 – 22,000,000 / US$ 1,548,000 – 2,839,000

ART OF TOMORROW: WORKS SOLD TO BENEFIT THE CHU FOUNDATION

This eclectic collection from prominent Hong Kong-based art collectors and patrons Natalie Chan Chu and Lawrence Chu features a compelling group of works by highly sought-after artists including Martin Wong, Firenze Lai, Zhang Enli and Jonas Wood. A portion of the sale proceeds will benefit the Chu Foundation, an independent not-for-profit entity founded by the Chu’s with a mission to empower human potential through art and education. To be offered across Evening and Day Sales. (Please click here to view press release for more information.)

Martin Wong, Iglesia Pentecostal
1986, acrylic on canvas
273 by 211.5 cm. 107 ½ by 83 ¼ in.
Est. HK$ 4,000,000 – 6,000,000 / US$ 520,000 – 775,000
Georg Baselitz, Ein Werktätiger (The Worker)
1967, oil on paper laid on canvas
100 by 81 cm. 39 ⅜ by 31 ⅞ in.
Est. HK$ 4,500,000 – 6,000,000 / US$ 585,000 – 775,000
Firenze Lai, The Colleagues
2017, oil on canvas
130 by 110 cm. 51 ¼ by 43 ⅜ in.
Est. HK$ 900,000 – 1,200,000 / US$ 117,000 – 155,000

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