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Sotheby's to present Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Spring Sale on 6 April
Ronald Ventura (b. 1973), Eye Land, 2011. Oil on Canvas, 183 x 274.5 cm. Est. HK$750,000 – 950,000 / US$96,000 – 122,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong will present its Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Spring Sale 2013 on 6 April at Hall 5, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Leading the sale is an exceptional selection of Modern masterpieces with impeccable provenance, many of which come from distinguished private collections and are completely fresh to the market. For collectors looking for more avant-garde art, an array of cutting-edge works by the most lauded contemporary artists of the region including Ronald Ventura, I Nyoman Masriadi, Ay Tjoe Christine, among others, will be on offer. The auction will also highlight creations by young talents such as Jigger Cruz from the Philippines and Pham An Hai from Vietnam, all represent the embodiment of the passion and energy of the new generation of Southeast Asian artists. Offering a total of 165 works, the sale is expected to fetch in excess of HK$42 million / US$5.3 million*.

MOK Kim Chuan, Sotheby’s Head of Southeast Asian Paintings department, said: “Sotheby’s achieved the best-ever result for our Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian art sale in 2012. The strong results further confirmed this category as a growing sector to watch - apart from the active biddings from collectors across Southeast Asia, we also saw fervent participation from the rest of the region and around the world.

“As the leading auction house offering Southeast Asian art, Sotheby’s this season continues our devotion to bring the best of this category to the market. We are proud to be presenting rare Balinese-themed works by Indonesian painter Lee Man Fong, as well as Indo-European artists Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès and Willem Dooijewaard; a distinguished group of abstract paintings by Fernando Zobel; an important double-sided ten-panel lacquer screen from Vietnam with excellent provenance, among others. On the contemporary front, I Nyoman Masriadi’s Mr. Kapitalis and Sok Banget! showcase an interesting contrast between the artist’s early work and new creation, while Ronald Ventura’s Eye Land dazzles viewers with his signature multi-layering imagery. We are confident that an exciting offering as such will appeal to a broader market in Asia and beyond.”

Lee Man Fong (1913 – 1988), Bali Life
Oil on Masonite Board, 81 x 181.5 cm, Est. HK$3.5 – 5.5 million / US$452,000 – 710,000

In October 2012, Sothebys’ Hong Kong presented Lee Man Fong’s Fortune and Longevity which sold for an impressive HK$34.26 million / US$4.4 million, setting auction world record for any Southeast Asian paintings at auction. This season, Sotheby’s is privileged to offer yet another spectacular painting by the artist – Bali Life, which exhibits the artist’s fascination of the island’s humble customs, ethnic culture and exotic women, illustrating the ethnology of Bali’s essence. This large-format horizontal painting measuring 81 x 181.5 cm narrates a typical depiction of the village life in Bali. Its panoramic view composes a natural fluidity and is rendered in meticulous detail.

Bali Life demonstrates Lee Man Fong’s elegant and masterful fusion of both Eastern and Western paintings through the language of his selected subjects, styles and techniques, reaffirming the artist as one of the most intriguing painters of his time. The painting has never appeared at auction and is truly fresh to the market.

Affandi (1907 – 1990), Tuak Manis, 1970
Acrylic on Canvas, 99 x 122.5 cm
Est. HK$1.2 – 1.8 million / US$155,000 – 233,000

Affandi’s emotional connection to colours is most evident in his self-portraits: red is used to symbolise passion and excitement, whilst green means delight, and yellow represents the sun. Executed in 1970, a prominent period of the artist’s oeuvre, Tuak Manis is an important portrait by Affandi which captures the emotional state of a man before a cockfight, amplified by the use of vivid colours in the work. It is one of the rare examples of Affandi’s acrylic on canvas works, and is appearing at the auction for the first time.

Hendra Gunawan (1918-1983), Penjual Petai (Petai Seller), 1980
Oil on Canvas, 80 x 140 cm
Est. HK$1.6 – 2.5 million / US$207,000 – 323,000

Hendra Gunawan’s Petai Seller is an important piece that comes from the distinguished Papadimitriou Collection. The work was one of the 20 paintings exhibited at Chase Manhattan Art Program exhibition in 1980 – a solo exhibition organised by Mr. Papadimitriou to support the artist’s move to Bali after his liberation from the Kebon Waru prison. Petai Seller thus marks a crucial milestone in Hendra’s life, that of his essential adjustment to normalcy. Hendra did not usually feature men prominently in his market scenes but in Petai Seller, he placed a male figure as the protagonist, holding a bunch of Petai (stink beans). It was an apt choice of subject as this type of bean is unmistakably the food of the Indonesian common people. It was this idea of a small but meaningful existence that spurred Hendra on and which would eventually made it possible for him to produce the epic masterpieces he later did in Bali.

Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès (1880 – 1958) ,
Woman in the Garden Preparing Offerings
Oil on Canvas, 75.5 x 90.5 cm
Est.HK$3.2 – 4.5 million / US$413,000 – 583,000

Balinese-themed works by Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès are arguably the most marked and distinct works of his oeuvre. The artist applies repetitive brush strokes and layers of impastos to capture the surrealistic beauty of the sunlight and its hues as well as the lithe gestures of Balinese figures to the full. The present Woman in the Garden Preparing Offerings is one of the best examples. The current work boasts a unique composition and a perfect depiction of the island’s beauty through Le Mayeur’s masterful use of colours and the presence of light - a real gem that is truly hard to come by.

Willem Dooijewaard (1892 – 1980), Woman Selling Fruits, 1922
Oil on Canvas, 80 x 80.5 cm
Est. HK$480,000 – 680,000 / US$62,000 – 88,000

Woman Selling Fruits by Willem Dooijewaard is a unique piece from the Dutch artist due to the subject matter, size of the painting, the choice of medium, as well as the colour scheme used. Dooijewaard favoured lighter colours in most of his oeuvre to depict the Balinese sunlight, but the present painting on offer features a darker colour scheme which is rare in the artist’s work, and the atmospheric Balinese life is well captured and rendered.

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March 18, 2013

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