HONG KONG.- Christies Asian Art, Jewellery and Watches Spring Auctions held in Hong Kong from 27 May to 31 May 2007 realized a spectacular total of over HK$1.52 billion/ US$195.4 million a 26.5% increase over our 20th Anniversary season this time last year with a 58% market share. This testifies once again to Christies leadership in the region.
In this season, Christie's Hong Kong introduced a real-time multi-media auction service Christies LIVE, becoming the first international auction house in Asia to offer fine art through live online auctions. Over 295 online bids were accepted in nine sales, with a combined value of winning bids and direct underbidding online that totaled HK$66.15 million/ US$8.6 million. The sold value through LIVE accounted for HK$27.04 million/ US$3.51 million. The highest underbid received through Christies LIVE was HK$20 million/US$2.6 million, which is also the highest online bid ever on Christies LIVE to date.
There was strong participation and very spirited bidding by clients from around the world both in the room, on the phone, by commission bid and Christies LIVE driving the prices of many lots far above their pre-sale estimates. New world auction records were set across the board throughout the five-day auction series.
Edward Dolman, Chief Executive Officer of Christies International, said: This seasons sales totalling HK$1.52 billion/ US$195.3 million in Hong Kong have shown yet again the growing strength of the art market in Hong Kong. The strong demand in particular for modern and contemporary Asian art has resulted in exceptional works being offered for sale in the wonderful facilities that we now enjoy in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre the quality of our exhibition has never been higher.
The Asian Contemporary Art sale and the 20th Century Chinese Art sale realized over HK$609 million/ US$79.17 million, the highest total for these two categories ever achieved anywhere in the world. Scenery of Northern China by Wu Guanzhong (born in 1919) sold for HK$31,680,000/ US$4,118,400.
Portrait of the Artist and His Friends by Yue Minjun (born in 1962), a work of crucial significance in the artist's career, realized HK$20,480,000/ US$2,662,400, five times its pre-sale estimate, setting the new world auction record for the artist.
In the Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Art sale, Women around the lotus pond by Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès (Belgium, 1880-1958) fetched HK$17,120,000/ US$2,225,600, a world auction record for the artist. From a private London collection, it is one of only six paintings by Le Mayeur of this size known to exist in the world.
The top lot of the Fine Modern Chinese Paintings was All the Mountains Blanketed in Red by Li Keran (1907-1989) that fetched HK$35,040,000/ US$4,555,200 after furious bidding, setting a new world auction record for the artist. Li produced a series of paintings that took the theme from Mao Zedongs poems. The present lot is a particularly large and resplendent example.
Landscape in the Manner of Wang Meng by Wu Li (1632-1718) fetched HK$18,240,000/ US$2,371,200 in the Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy sale, many times the pre-sale estimate, establishing the world auction record for the artist.
In The Imperial Sale and Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art sale, a pair of magnificent famille rose peach bowls, Yongzheng marks and of the period (1723-1735) sold to Eskenazi Ltd for a staggering HK$50,720,000/ US$6,593,600. This sets the new world auction record for a pair of Yongzheng famille rose peach bowls.
Also of note is an important imperial gilt-incised lacquer throne, baozuo, from the Kangxi period (1662-1722) that sold for HK$13,760,000/ US$1,788,800 to casino magnate Dr. Stanley Ho. This established the world auction record for an imperial throne.
Sparkling in the Magnificent Jewellery & Jadeite Jewellery sale, a marquise-cut D colour internally flawless diamond of 13.96 carats sold for HK$12,192,000/ US$1,584,960. Its unique and elegant old style cut reveals the brilliance and personality of this stone.
The Important Watches Including a Private Collector sale achieved HK$71.49 million/ US$9.29 million, the highest sale total achieved in this category by Christies in Asia. The centrepiece is a Franck Muller platinum and diamond-set double dial dual time zone and dual minute repeating wristwatch, Model Master Mystery Double Minute Repeater that sold for HK$2,040,000/ US$265,200. This is the one and only example of this model ever produced.