HONG KONG.- Christie's
Hong Kong completed its two sales of Classical and Modern Chinese Paintings on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, tallying the highest total ever for the category with HK$669 million/ US$ 86 million. The morning session of Fine Chinese Classical Paintings kicked off with high sold ratios of 91% by lot and 87% by value and a total of HK$100 million/US$13 million. The momentum continued unabated with the afternoon session of the Modern Chinese Paintings sale which totalled HK$ 568 million/ US$73 million, with 96% sold by lot and 97% sold by value.
Ben Kong, International Director of Chinese Paintings at Christie's, based in Hong Kong, said "This season's excellent results reflect a 92% increase from last year's Autumn sale, while the average lot value also increased by 42% compared to last year, including 11 lots selling over HK$10 million. These encouraging results continue to demonstrate the evergreen appeal of Chinese paintings as a collecting category and the solid strength of the market. Mainland Chinese buyers are a clear force driving this category, taking nine out of the top ten lots in our Chinese Classical Paintings sale. Competition was keen, resulting in many lots selling well over the high estimate, for example in the Classical session, nine lots sold ten times over the estimate, and works by Chen Jiru and Xiang Yuanbian sold 15 times of the estimate. The top lot - Ba Da Shanren's Mynah, poem in running script calligraphy - sold for HK$11.3 million (nearly 9 times over estimate), while works by other artists such as Ni Yuanlu, Hua Yan, Lan Ying also sold three to twelve times over the estimate.
The afternoon session of Modern Chinese Paintings saw 87% of the lots selling over the high estimate. Renowned modern masters such as Fu Baoshi, Zhang Daqian, Xu Beihong and Qi Baishi were much sought after. After fierce bidding, Fu Baoshi's The Song of the Pipa Player finally sold for HK$70.08 million, making it the most expensive lot of the day and creating a new world auction record for the artist. Zhang Daqian's Temple at the Mountain Peak, which sold for HK$61.12 million (15 times over the estimate), also proved to be immensely popular. In addition, a new milestone was achieved for Zhang Xue Liang, whose Calligraphic Couplet sold 63 times over the estimate. All these excellent results show an invigorated Chinese paintings market and the tremendous demand for works of rare and premium quality."