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Sotheby's Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian paintings sale achieves $15.5 million
Auction records set for any Southeast Asian paintings and for the artist when Indonesian Modern artist Lee Man Fong’s Fortune and Longevity sells for HK$34.26 million / US$4.4 million(Expected to fetch in excess of HK$12 million / US$1.54 million). Photo: Sotheby's.
HONG KONG.- On the third day of Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sale Series 2012, the sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings commanded a stunning total of HK$121 million / US$15.5 million, surpassing the pre-sale estimate (HK$45 million / US$5.8 million) and achieving the highest auction total for this category. The sale also set auction records for any Southeast Asian painting and for the artist when Fortune and Longevity (pictured above) by Indonesian modern master Lee Man Fong sold for HK$34.26 million / US$4.4 million.

Bidding of Fortune and Longevity opened at HK$4 million and jumped sharply to HK$10 million after the sixth bid. The masterpiece was sold for an astonishing price of HK$34.26 million / US$4.4 million after 27 furious bids to a phone bidder. (Note: The previous auction record for Southeast Asian Paintings was also held by Lee Man Fong and was achieved by Sotheby’s Hong Kong when Bali Life sold for HK$25.3 million / US$3.2 million in April 2010.)

MOK Kim Chuan, Sotheby’s Head of Southeast Asian Paintings, said: “Buyers responded with enthusiastic biddings to today’s carefully curated sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian works, many fresh-to-the-market, with desirable provenance, rarity and quality, and gave us a record sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art. There had been extraordinary interest in Lee Man Fong’s attractively estimated Fortune and Longevity, a large-scale masterpiece which is unique within the artist’s corpus in its scale, rarity, significance, and creative and technical brilliance. Ten bidders pursued the work, driving the final price to almost tripling the pre-sale expectation and set auction records for any Southeast Asian painting and for the artist. The sale offered fine examples of the leading artists of the Nanyang School and received strong support from Singaporean buyers. Building on our success with the Bandung school in our Spring sale we were able to source more exceptional works, for example, But Mochtar’s bronze Hubungan Keluanga (Family Ties), which attracted keen interest and sold for many multiples of its high estimate.

The market for this category is broadening and we have seen active participation today from bidders across the region. There were significant interests from established markets such as Indonesia, The Philippines and Singapore, and also from new markets in the Greater China Region, with increased participation from Taiwanese collectors.”

The sale of Fine Chinese Paintings and Important Watches will be held tomorrow at 10am and 11am respectively at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

* Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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