Press Release

Sotheby's Hong Kong Spring 2021 Modern & Contemporary Art Sales Achieve a Combined Total of HK$2.25 Billion / US$289 Million

By Sotheby's




20 April 2021, Hong Kong: With Sotheby’s Hong Kong Spring Sale series still underway, sales of Modern and Contemporary Art concluded today, having realised a combined total of HK$2,249,509,540 / US$289,466,888 - establishing a new record high for any Modern and Contemporary Art sale series ever held in Asia.

The unrivalled performance of our modern art sales is a true testament of our effort and dedication to spark a cross-cultural dialogue between East and West, with Sanyu’s Nu avec un pékinois and Picasso’s Buste de matador achieving over HK$100 million each at the ICONS sale. We saw strong performances for Asian masters from Zao Wou-Ki to Chu Teh-Chun, whose Harmonie Hivernale soars to a record-breaking HK$230 million after a 4-way, 20-minute bidding battle. We were equally thrilled to achieve a world auction record for any Vietnamese work, when Mai Trung Thu’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong sold for HK$24.4 million.
Felix Kwok, Head of Modern Art, Asia at Sotheby’s
We are extremely gratified to witness tremendous passion and depth of bidding across the Contemporary Art sales. The past two days saw collectors from not only Asia but around the world respond enthusiastically to works by blue-chip masters and emerging talent from both East and West. As we yet again surpass our own record for the highest total for any single offering of Contemporary Art sales series in the region, our record-breaking results reflect a new era for the art market in Asia, with seasoned and young collectors worldwide competing at the highest level right here in Hong Kong.
Yuki Terase, Head of Contemporary Art, Asia at Sotheby’s

Sales saw participants from over 40 countries
Seven works achieve over HK$100 million (US$13 million) each:
- Chu Teh-Chun, Harmonie Hivernale
- Zao Wou-Ki, 13.02.62
- Pablo Picasso, Buste de matador
- Sanyu, Nu avec un pékinois
- Clyfford Still, PH-568
- Gerhard Richter, Schwefel (Sulphur)
- Roy Lichtenstein, Reflection on Thud!

MODERN ART achieved HK$1,153,890,320 / US$148,482,606*, the second highest total for this category at Sotheby’s Asia and on a par with the highest total of HK$1.18 billion achieved by Sotheby’s Asia in Autumn 2018.

Chu Teh-Chun’s auction record set for second consecutive year: Harmonie Hivernale soars to HK$230 million / US$29.5 million after 4-way, 20-minute bidding battle

World auction record for any Vietnamese work smashed with Mai Trung Thu’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong, which sells for HK$24.4 million / US$3.1 million

Highest prices achieved for works in Asia by Western titans: Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Pierre Soulages and Terry Frost

16 auction records:
- Evening Sale: Chu Teh-Chun, Mai Trung Thu, Li Huayi, Pham Hau, Le Thi Luu, André Brasilier, Chen Chi, Mai Trung Thu (silk painting), Lalan (works on paper)
- Day Sale: Nguyen Van Ty, Ton That Dao, Matteo Pugliese, Liu Guofu, Raymond Fung, Lai Chi Man, Thawan Duchanee (works on paper)

Ground-breaking collaborations: This season, Sotheby’s is proud to collaborate with international actress and art connoisseur Lin Chi-Ling, as well as renowned architect and artist Raymond Fung

*Modern Art offerings include Modern Art Evening Sale, Modern Art Day Sale, and Impressionist and Modern Art lots presented in “ICONS: Masterpieces from across Time and Space” (8001 Alberto Giacometti, Petit buste sur colonne; 8004 Sanyu, Nu avec un pékinois; and 8005 Pablo Picasso, Buste de matador.)

CONTEMPORARY ART achieved the highest total for this category ever in Asia: HK$1,095,619,220 / US$140,984,282, soaring beyond its pre-sale estimates of HK$691m-1bn / US$89-130.3m. 69% of lots also sold above their high estimates.

Exceptional sell-through rates: Evening sale 100% sold, Day sale 96% sold

Record total for single offering of Western Contemporary Art in Asia: HK$573.2 million / US$73.8 million achieved in Evening Sale

Post-war American titans command their highest prices in Asia: Clyfford Still, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning

Stellar results for Asian masterpieces:
- Yoshitomo Nara’s Frog Girl soars beyond high estimate to achieve HK$96 million / US$12.4 million
- Early Chinese Contemporary masterworks achieve a combined total of HK$93,981,000 / US$12,093,475

Fierce competition for works by young talents and 14 new records achieved:
- Evening Sale: Avery Singer, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Chris Huen Sin Kan, Hajime Sorayama and Joel Mesler
- Day Sale: Godwin Champs Namuyimba, Amani Lewis, Wonder Buhle Mbambo, Eleanor Swordy, Baldur Helgason, Asuka Anastacia Ogawa, Timothy Curtis and Loie Hollowell

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