Auction Results: A Strong Start in Hong Kong

Launch Slideshow

As the Hong Kong Spring Sales season continues this week, it is worth recognizing some of the initial results that have already made the sales a remarkable success. Leading the Modern and Contemporary Art Evening auction was Andy Warhol’s Mao, a 1973 masterwork that sold for HK$98.5 million (US$12.7 million). The Brushwork II: All the World’s a Stage auction achieved the rare white glove designation as all 25 works succeeded in finding buyers, bringing the total to HK$89.6 million (US$11.5 million). Click ahead to see some of the highlights from Hong Kong so far with much more to come.

Hong Kong Spring Sales | 1–5 April

Auction Results: A Strong Start in Hong Kong

  • Andy Warhol Mao. Sold for HK$98,537,500 (US$12,680,791).
    The Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 2 April was led by Andy Warhol's Mao which was sold to an Asian private collector for HK$98.5 million (US$12.6 million), setting an auction record for any western Contemporary art sold in Asia. The Mao Series marked a significant stylistic turning point for Warhol in the 1970s. Through the use of bold colours that are closely associated with communism and which echo the colour scheme of the People’s Republic flag, the present work is a distinctly wonderful example of the artist’s oeuvre. 

  • Shimamoto Shozo EXPLOSION 64-1. Sold for HK$20,500,000 (US$2,638,145).
    The Modern and Contemporary Art Evening was kicked off by a White-Glove Sale of the Brushwork series with four new artist auction records for Shimamoto Shozo, Motonaga Sadamasa, Tanaka Atsuko and Morita Shiryu. Celebrating the newly globalised and interconnected post-war arena, Brushwork II – All the World’s a Stage finds a common international language on the global ‘stage’ of abstraction in the cross-cultural context of East and West.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Water-Worshipper. Sold for HK$42,287,500 (US$5,441,978).
    Executed in 1984, this remarkable work bears witness to the very year Basquiat reached full artistic maturity at the age of just 24. Combining the tobacco logo, figures from Haitian voodoo, and planks that symbolize the boat or slave ship, the work displays his intensive engagement with racism, colonialism and slavery, which were both nurtured from personal experiences as well as his interest in Afro-American history. It reflects our contemporary times and society just as it reflects history – the very reason why Basquiat’s work continues to influence the younger artist generations today. 

  • Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji), 17.07.67. Sold for HK$40,037,500 (US$5,152,426).
    Featuring in the night's top 10 lots, Zao Wou Ki’s 17.07.67 (Sold for HK$40,037,500/US$5,152,426), Bateaux au Clair de Lune (Sold for HK$31,037,500/US$3,994,216) and Nature Morte Sur Une Table Ronde (Sold for HK$19,300,000/US$2,483,717) are among the five oil works offered in this season’s Evening Sales to represent a complete circle of the legendary master’s artistic journey.

  • Kusama Yayoi Net-No.2 Yellow. Sold for HK$25,300,000 (US$3,255,857).
    Dated from 1960, the exquisitely electric Net-No.2 Yellow is the first large yellow net from Kusama Yayoi’s early period infinity nets to appear at auction. Standing at almost a metre tall, the piece is a masterpiece of blazing radiance, exhibiting endless repetitions of minute solid yellow arcs dabbed dexterously over black—a palette rarely seen in the market for Kusama’s early period nets, which mostly employed white and red. The vast net pulsates with infinite rhythmic ripples and dynamic undulations, featuring an endless writhing mass of elegant scalloped arcs punctuated by occasional swirls of thick impasto that add beguiling textural depth. A rare specimen hailing from Kusama’s most celebrated series from the most coveted era of her career, Net-No.2 Yellow is exemplary of Kusama’s iconic brand of abstraction that first established her indomitable position in the Western art world.

  • Lin Fengmian Harvest at Dawn. Sold for HK$24,100,000 (US$3,101,429).
    Rare and of museum-quality, Harvest at Dawn echoes the composition and spirit of a series of nearly or partly identical coloured ink masterpieces in the collection at the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy, and is the result of repeated experiments.

  • Le Pho Family Life. Sold for HK$9,100,000 (US$1,171,079).
    Vietnamese modern master Le Pho stands as one of the most highly sought after Southeast Asian artists today. The present lot, Family Life, epitomizes Le Pho’s technical skill and his vivid sense of imagination. However, what truly sets this masterpiece apart is its magnificent detailing; the minutia is executed to a level of intricacy seldom found in his oeuvre. This multi-layered composition is an indulgence to the eye, tracing varying natural elements and figures across a picture plane that recedes deeply into the distance. The painstakingly executed backdrop frames the work’s hallowed focal point: the mother and child, a quintessential subject of the artist.

  • Liu Wei Mao Generation. Sold for HK$10,900,000 (US$1,402,721).
    In Mao Generation, Liu Wei depicted himself and his brother as infants, sitting in front of a portrait of Mao and wearing open crotch pants. In an era where people lived and breathed Mao Zedong, Liu Wei's painting was at once a depiction of everyday life and a playful commentary on society. Mao Generation combines the exaggerated figurative forms of the artist's early period with his later, more Expressionistic abstract style. Thus the painting more closely resembles the iconic Liu Wei style we are familiar with: relaxed brushwork, spontaneous daubs of paint, with a hint of impudence and defiance.


  • Part III of A Monumental Collection, From the Cellars of a Connoisseur. Sale Total: HK$41,891,957 (US$5,370,76).
    Sotheby’s Hong Kong opens the Spring Sale Series with two outstanding wine sales, realising a combined total of HK$ 93,089,797 (US$11,934,589). Part III of A Monumental Collection, From the Cellars of a Connoisseur achieved HK$41,891,957 (US$5,370,764), concluding the trilogy of the Monumental Collection in Hong Kong  after Part I and Part II in New York and London with a grand total of HK$72,700,140 (US$9,320,531).

  • The Finest and Rarest Wines and The Macallan. Sale Total: HK$ 51,197,840 (US$6,563,826).
    The Finest and Rarest Wines and The Macallan totalled HK$51,197,840 (US$6,563,826), setting a new world record for any lot of whisky ever sold at auction, as well as becoming the third highest value lot ever sold at Sotheby’s Wine.


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