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Christie's Hong Kong Autumn 2009 Auction Series Totals US $212.5 Million
A Christie's auctioneer conducts a sales session during Christie's Hong Kong Autumn Auctions 2009 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre December 1, 2009. Christie's, hit by anaemic spring sales due to the financial crisis, had been banking on the current autumn sales in Hong Kong, now the firm's third biggest arts hub after New York and London, for a reversal of fortunes. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu.
HONG KONG.- Christie's Hong Kong completed its five-day Autumn sales with strong results across the board in Asian art, watches, jewelry and wine. Totaling HK$1.65 billion/US$ 212.5 million/£ 128 million, the results show a robust recovery of the art and auction market, giving Christie’s a 58% market share for the year in Asia. Records were achieved in a range of categories, including Chinese modern paintings and works of art, Asian contemporary art, watches and jewelry, reaffirming the consistent demand by collectors for the best and rarest.

As confidence returns to the global economy, collectors – the majority being private buyers from Asia (86.4%) and Greater China (69%) – showed increasing sophistication and persistence in their bid for works they wished to acquire.

“We are seeing a return of passion in the art market.” said Andrew Foster, President of Asia at Christies. “From the record-breaking Vivid Pink diamond to the record prices achieved for works by Chinese 20th Century Chinese artist Chu Teh-chun and modern Chinese painter Fu Baoshi, we could see collectors buying what they are passionate about, and consignors being rewarded for their confidence.”

Ed Dolman, Chief Executive at Christie’s, also commented, “Our Hong Kong sales clearly indicate the tremendous potential of the Asian art and auction market, and we believe the momentum of these sales will play a crucial role in driving a real recovery. This revival will no doubt inject renewed confidence among consignors to return to the art market.”

CHRISTIE’S HONG KONG AUTUMN AUCTION: SEASON RESULTS REVIEW

Fine Chinese Modern Paintings
Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy
Sunday, November 29

Christie’s Autumn sales of Fine Chinese Modern Paintings and Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy realized a combined total of HK$349 million (US$45 million) – the highest total ever for Christie’s Hong Kong in this category. The morning session of Fine Chinese Modern Paintings totaled HK$208 million (US$26.8 million) and was 90% sold by value, and 84% sold by lot. This sale saw a new world auction record for Chinese artist Fu Baoshi with Landscape Inspired by Dufu Poetic Sentiments, a monumental work that sold HK$60 million (US$ 7.7 million), far-exceeding its pre-sale estimate of HK$35million. The Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy sale which followed totaled HK$141 million (US$18.2 million) and was 95% sold by value, 76% sold by lot. The top lot - a handscroll by Ren Renfa entitled Five Drunken Kings Return on Horses - sold for HK$ 46.6 million (US$ 6 million), more than seven times its pre-sale estimate.

Market Update: The results from the Chinese Modern and Chinese Classical Paintings sales indicate a consistent demand from collectors for top quality and rare works with important provenance that are sourced from around the world. The strength of the market is clear from the large proportion of sold lots over the high estimate - 70% in both sales - with some lots exceeding their high estimate by six or seven times. These strong results reflect the continued appeal of, and the robust market for, the Chinese Paintings category.

Asian Contemporary Art and Chinese 20th Century Art Evening Sale
Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale & Chinese 20th Century Art Day Sale
Sunday, November 29- Monday November 30

The Evening and Day sales of Asian Contemporary Art and Chinese 20th Century Art show a robust recovery of the art market in Asia, achieving a combined total of HK$389.3 million (US$50.2 million) which represents a 48% increase over the Autumn 2008 season. The sales were a combined 93% sold by value and 74% sold by lot. Leading the three sales this season was Chu Teh-Chun’s Vertige Neigeux which sold in the Evening Sale for HK$45.5 million (US$5.9 million) – a new world auction record for the artist.

The momentum of the Evening Sale continued with the two Day Sales that followed. The Chinese 20th Century Art Day Sale totalled HK$72.2 million (US$9.3 million) with 97% sold by value and 83% sold by lot. Following the new auction record for Chu Teh-Chun, Hivernale A¸ another of the artist’s snow scene-themed works, sold for HK$7.34 million (US$947,000), over three times its pre-sale high estimate. The Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale totalled HK$54.5 million (US$7 million) with 85% sold by value and 69% sold by lot. Among the artist records set were Li Chen’s Pure Land which fetched HK$2.9 million (US$374,000) and Zeng Fanzhi’s Study for Mask Series 1998 which set a new auction record for a work on paper by the artist at HK$1.7 million (US$219,000).

Market Update: With the average lot value across these three sales increasing 26% compared to the Spring 2009 season and with 67% of the series offerings selling over their high estimate, these results reflect the continued demand and global interest in these dynamic categories. The Chinese modern masters remain particularly strong and highly sought-after by collectors again this season. In addition to the record price for Chu Teh-Chun, the Evening Sale posted impressive results for Zao Wou-Ki and Sanyu. Potted Flowers in a Blue and White Jardinière from Sanyu fetched the third highest price ever achieved for the artist at auction at HK$ 34.8 million, nearly three times its high estimate. Zao Wou-Ki’s 19-11-59 sold for HK$30.3 million (US$3.9 million), also the third highest result for the artist at auction. The top five lots of the Day Sale each soared high above estimates, underscoring the competitive bidding and strong demand for works from China’s modern masters.

The results of this season’s Asian contemporary offerings reveal a market that continues to show a growing sophistication and a sincerity in buyers pursuing what they like, as seen in the new record for contemporary Japanese-American artist Masami Teraoka in the Evening Sale and the record for a work on paper by Zeng Fanzhi in the Day Sale. While the contemporary offerings saw active cross-buying from buyers around Asia, the top ten results of the Day Sale also comprise 6 Chinese artists, 3 Korean artists and 1 Japanese artist. These results reinforce Christie’s foresight in presenting the diversity of Asian contemporary art in a single consolidated sale, a concept pioneered by the auction house in 2005.

Southeast Asian Modern & Contemporary Art
Monday, November 30

The Autumn 2009 auction of Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art saw upbeat results with total sales of HK$33.5 million (US$4.3million) and strong selling rates of 95% sold by value, 78% sold by lot. Impressive prices across the board were driven by Asian private collectors, with 64% of the lots selling above their high estimate. These results - a 64% increase over the Spring 2009 season total - mark a resounding vote of confidence for the category’s modern masters and the rebound of the Southeast Asian contemporary art market.

Market Update: Indonesian modern art led the way triumphantly, with two works by Lee Man Fong, Man with horses and Doves, seeing passionate bidders driving the prices of both works to multiple times their estimates. Strong offerings from Affandi and Hendra Gunawan were received favourably by the market as well. Following on the committed bidding for these works were noteworthy prices registered for modern art from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, demonstrating the depth and appeal of a truly Southeast Asian modern art market.

First-rate contemporary works maintained their lustre with discerning buyers from well beyond Asia competing for quality works. Indonesian I Nyoman Masriadi's Master Yoga recorded the notable price of HK$3.62 million (US$467,000) - the highest paid for the artist at auction anywhere this year. Also of note in the contemporary section were the impressive results for Geraldine Javier, Handiwirman Saputra, Gede Mahendra Yasa, as well as encouraging results for emerging and first-time-at-auction artists such as Sugiyo Dwiarso.

Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection, Part II
Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Tuesday, December 1

Christie's Autumn 2009 sales of Important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art realized a combined total of HK$371 million (US$48 million) - an increase of 15% over the Spring 2009 season. The sale of Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection, Part II totalled over HK$90 million (US$11.6 million) and was 87% sold by lot, 95% sold by value. The sale of Important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art that followed totalled HK$281 million (US$36.4 million). Leading the season’s offerings was a magnificent carved cinnabar lacquer square tray depicting figures in a landscape from the Ming dynasty, Hongwu period (1368-1398). Superbly carved and formerly in the collection of Sir John Figgess, this work fetched HK$25.3million (US$3.3million), a record for a cinnabar lacquer tray.

Market Update: The strong results from Part II of the Lee Family collection of Chinese lacquer reflects the firm demand for top quality works in what is still a relatively new collecting category. Works from this much-respected collection attracted tremendous pre-sale interest from collectors around the world, who were eager to acquire museum-quality pieces which had been selected with enormous care over a 30-year period by one of the most knowledgeable collectors in this field, K.T. Lee. Enthusiastic bidding came from a range of international clients, with noticeable participation from established collectors in the West. In addition to the top price of the day with the record cinnabar lacquer tray, this sale saw a record price paid for a Chinese mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer with an outstanding and extremely rare Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) mother-of-pearl inlaid octagonal box and cover that sold for HK$20.8 million (US$2.7 million).

International bidding was significant throughout all collecting categories, with participation from Mainland Chinese clients even more prominent this season - by comparison with Autumn 2008, the number of successful Mainland Chinese buyers increased 63%. Among the most sought-after works in the sale of Important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art were important ceramics made for the Qing court- a collecting category that is a perennial favourite with today’s collectors. Works of significant provenance performed extremely well, as evidenced by the superb white jade buffalo from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) formerly in the collection of the famous Dutch industrialist and collector Hugo Tutein Nolthenius, which sold for HK$20.8 million (US$2.7 million). The well-established provenance of this work, combined with its freshness to the market, helped ensure that this delightful sculpture was the highest sold jade in the sale.

Christie's | Andrew Foster | Hong Kong Autumn Auction |


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