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Phillips announces 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale in Hong Kong
Richard Prince (b. 1949), Nurse Kathy, 2006-2008. Estimate: HKD 31,000,000 - 41,000,000. Image courtesy Phillips.

HONG KONG.- Phillips opens the Fall season in Hong Kong with a selected group of works by an array of the world’s most sought-after artists, ranging from Richard Prince and Roy Lichtenstein, to Yayoi Kusama and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Star lots from the 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale include Richard Prince’s Nurse Kathy from his celebrated ‘Nurse’ series, and Roy Lichtenstein’s Landscape with Poet (Study). As forerunners in the contemporary art and digital space, Phillips will offer a digital work by teamLab, the first time a work by the artist collective will be presented on the international auction market. Design highlights include important works by Finn Juhl, Hans J. Wegner and Gio Ponti. The Evening Sale will be held on 26 November in Hong Kong and is expected to realise in excess of HKD120 million.

Jonathan Crockett, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, and Deputy Chairman, Asia: “Phillips continues to create a new paradigm for auctions in Hong Kong, by combining art and design in a way that is relevant to today’s collector. As the art world becomes increasingly globalised, with rising demand for the highest quality Modern and Contemporary art, Phillips is committed to offering unique collecting opportunities for buyers from Asia and across the globe. Our sale is led by ‘Nurse Kathy’, an outstanding example from Richard Prince’s ‘Nurse’ series, testament to Phillips’ strength in presenting the strongest international material in our Asian sales. The offering is complemented by a succession of other important artworks and design objects, including a rare ‘Dolphin’ armchair by renowned Danish Modernist Hans J. Wegner. We are confident that the upcoming auction will reflect both our distinct approach to curating sales and growing presence within the Asian market”

Richard Prince, a highly influential figure of American 20th century and contemporary art, is represented in the sale with Nurse Kathy, painted in 2006‐08. Challenging contemporary notions of authorship and authenticity throughout his work, Prince’s famous series of ‘Nurse’ paintings re‐appropriates the visual lexicon of advertising and popular culture (estimate: HKD 31,000,000 ‐ 41,000,000). Following the artist’s famed ‘Cowboy’ series, which deconstructed Marlboro ads to explore the fiction of masculinity in American society, the ‘Nurse’ series reproduces the imagery of popular romance novellas to survey the clichés and fetishisation of womanhood. Prince reveals the stereotypical views of femininity as mere fantasy by removing any sexual notions and instead imbuing the scene with malevolence.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Landscape with Poet (Study) from the artist’s ‘Landscapes in Chinese Style’ series, is a product of a half-century long love affair with classical Chinese art (estimate: HKD 4,500,000 - 6,500,000). The study is important, as it is one of the earliest known vertical format works of its kind that the artist created. The unique collage showcases the tactile qualities of the medium, recalling the technique of Matisse’s celebrated cut-out works. Showcasing Lichtenstein’s signature style of Benday dots, black contours and monochromatic zones, the work mediates the space that lies between mechanical reproduction and the human hand.

Hong Kong was created in 1985, following Jean-Michel Basquiat’s trip to the city in the same year, and Phillips will bring the work back to the metropolis that was the source of its inspiration (estimate: HKD 3,900,000 - 5,500,000). Featuring cartoonish and exoticised imagery of the ‘Far East’, the varied yet specific subject matter reflects the artist’s memories and observations while in the city. From a dragon’s head or grotesque face mask, to a waving King Kong creature, to the scribbled text ‘Hong Kong’, Basquiat reinterprets the symbols and characters that populate the city in his highly recognisable style. Making use of Xerox collage, a technique developed by Basquiat in the late 1980s, the rare work is an exceptional portrayal of the artist’s personal experience in Hong Kong.

Young Girl with Blue Dress was painted in 2007 and showcases one of George Condo’s unmistakable muses (estimate: HKD 3,000,000 - 5,000,000). With her face constructed from a mysterious, colourful agglomeration of forms stacked one atop the other, with one eye goggling and the teeth of her upper mouth displaced in a crazed grin, this picture is filled with the unique energy that informs many of Condo’s greatest paintings.

The End was included in Cecily Brown’s major solo retrospective at the Museum of Fine Art Boston in 2006 (estimate: HKD 4,000,000 - 6,000,000). Created during a crucial period in Brown’s career, when she began to draw influence from the formal genres of Old Master paintings, The End faintly recalls lavish banquet still‐life paintings of the 17th century. Brown’s layered gestural strokes, intimating at discarded forks, and blocks of meat, immediately draw on one’s sense of touch, taste and smell. The End calls to mind ‘the end’ of a bacchanal feast, and encapsulates both the stunning technical aptitude, and rigorous intellect that makes Brown one of the most important painters of her generation.

Georg Baselitz is known for his inversion technique, exemplified in Hinterglasvogel (estimate: HKD 2,000,000 - 3,000,000). By deliberately upending an image, the artist intends to objectify the work of art without entering the realm of pure abstraction. Upon first glance, the canvas has a multi‐layered background, built up through gestural brushwork and vivid purple, white and yellow tones. Yet by rotating the canvas 180 degrees, the lines and colours evolve into an instantly recognisable form ‐ a bird, likely an eagle, a former symbol of German imperialism.

Adrian Ghenie’s work has received widespread critical acclaim and is highly sought after across the world. The artist’s work addresses the atrocities that occurred under the dictatorship of Ceaușescu in his native Romania. Self‐ Portrait as a Monkey exemplifies Ghenie’s unique painterly idiom and the astute lens through which he probes the uncomfortable ambiguities of human history (estimate: HKD 6,000,000 ‐ 8,000,000). The work stands as an important painting in the artist’s oeuvre and is a crucial precursor to his seminal 2015 Venice Biennale exhibition, Darwin’s Room, which also focused on the primal state of man.

Building on Phillips’ record-setting successes across London, New York, and Hong Kong, on offer is a breadth of works by a series of in-demand international artists. The Hong Kong sale will feature Bird House, an intimate landscape by the highly sought-after painter Peter Doig, for whom the house set a new auction record for a living British artist (estimate: HKD 600,000 - 800,000). A highlight of the photography category is Lighter, Green I by German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans (estimate: HKD 400,000 - 600,000). Other important contemporary voices include a painting by Tokyo-based Tomoo Gokita, a sculpture and a painting by KAWS, and one of the largest works on paper that has come to the market Yoshitomo Nara’s, Not Now (estimate: HKD 6,000,000 - 8,000,000). Following a series of popular exhibitions across the globe, the market for Yayoi Kusama is going from strength to strength. Also on offer is Abode of Heart, a sewn soft sculpture that rarely appears on the auction market (estimate: HKD 2,800,000 - 3,800,000).

The auction also includes the work of French-Japanese painter Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita. Reclining Nude is a sinuous depiction of the female form, showcasing the artist’s mastery of classical Western painting techniques, whilst incorporating a traditional Japanese aesthetic (estimate: HKD 3,000,000 - 5,000,000). First generation Gutai artists remain highly sought after and the Evening Sale will include representative paintings by two other distinguished members, including Atsuko Tanaka’s 2001-F, from her celebrated series of interconnected orb paintings (estimate: HKD 6,000,000 - 3,500,000), alongside Sadamasa Motonaga’s Yon Kuru (estimate: HKD 1,300,000 - 2,300,000).

Important Modern Design
Phillips leads the market in introducing the very best of 20th Century Design to Asia. Included in the sale is a majestic and rare 'Dolphin' folding armchair, a modernist work and a profound expression of architect Hans J. Wegner’s humanist interest in furniture’s adaptability to human forms and needs. The appreciation and demand for important Danish design objects have strengthened in the region, and on offer is an exquisite pair of armchairs, model no. ‘FJ 45’ by Finn Juhl, executed in Bangkok teak by master cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, the model is widely considered one of Juhl’s most accomplished and revered designs.

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