On May 25 and 26, Christies
Hong Kong will present four sales of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art. Offering 700 lots, the sales build on the "East Meets West" concept that has been Christies leitmotif for this category in recent years and includes more than 200 works by Southeast Asian artists, the largest Southeast Asian art offering ever to be featured at Christies. A number of important private collections are highlights of the sale: a private German Collection featuring works by Zhou Chunya; a selection from the Guy and Myriam Ullens collection including an important work from Zhang Xiaogangs ―Bloodline Series‖; the Gerardo Rueda collection of works by Philippine abstract artist Fernando Zóbel; and works by T'ing Yin-Yung. Responding to market demand, a selection of 97 Asian 20th Century works on paper will be presented as a special sale for the first time.
ART WORLD BECOMES ONE: INSPIRING DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE EAST AND THE WEST
The mingling of Eastern and Western cultures and arts has been an exhilarating curatorial theme for a number of prestigious art institutions throughout the world in the past decade. It has also inspired Christies auctions. This season, ―East Meets West‖ continues to be the key concept in our sales, which cover a selection of works that display and reinterpret the versatility of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art, as well as its connections with Western art. These masterpieces will offer viewers and collectors an opportunity to experience the various languages of Asian art and to rediscover its unique historic value.
Primary examples include works of Chinese-French masters Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun, as well as influential Chinese contemporary artist Zhou Chunya, who is known for his incisive combination of Chinese painting and Western expressionism. The sales also feature Two Standing Nudes (Sale 3205, Lot 9, estimate on Request) by Chinese-French painter Sanyu, whose Chinese aesthetics-infused rendition of this classic Western subject matter, the nude, has invited comparison to Pablo Picassos Group of Nudes, painted in 1921, and Henry Moores Reclining Figure, executed in 1929.
FAST-GROWING ART SCENE: SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
Since the consolidation of the Southeast Asian Modern & Contemporary Art and Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art auctions in Autumn 2011, which led to the creation of a wider pan-Asian category, art from Southeast Asia has increasingly attracted global attention in Christies sales.
Alongside masterpieces from Indonesian modern artists, Affandi, Hendra Gunawan and S. Sudjojono, 20th century art from Singapore has emerged as a strong growth area. This season, auction highlights from Singaporean artists include a rare still life by French-trained Georgette Chen, Still Life with Tropical Fruits (Sale 3205, Lot 23, estimate: HK$600,000-800,000/US$76,900-102,600) and Cheong Soo Piengs Natures Expression (Sale 3205, Lot 15, estimate: HK$900,000-1,500,000/US$115,400-192,300), which reflects both his experimentation and his integration of Eastern philosophy and aesthetics with Western abstraction.
Abstract art as a genre has experienced a strong upward trend within this category. The Gerardo Rueda Collection of paintings by Fernando Zóbel showcases some of the artists most significant abstract works to be presented at auction. The collection, comprising a number of Zobels rarely seen works, is highlighted by Arganda (Sale 3206, Lot 3375, estimate: HK$900,000-1,200,000 / US$115,400-153,800), which was created in 1961. The painting shows Zóbels skill in incorporating movement, speed, and Chinese calligraphic elements within a minimalist format. Other highlights include two distinctive works from the 1960s, Vortex (Sale 3206, Lot 3376, estimate: HK$500,000-700,000 / US$64,100-89,700) and Espejo sin Reflejo (Sale 3206, Lot 3377, estimate: HK$450,000-650,000 / US$57,700-83,300).
Contemporary Southeast Asian highlights are Masriadi Presents Attack from Website by Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi (Sale 3205, Lot 46, estimate: HK$2,000,000-3,000,000 / US$256,400-384,600) and Eyeland Divide (Sale 3205, Lot 45, estimate: HK$650,000-850,000 / US$83,000-109,000) by Philippine artist Ronald Ventura, exceptionally strong creations by two of the most exciting contemporary artists today.
OTHER AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS
A number of important works by prominent Asian artists from different backgrounds further explore the diversity of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art and the ―East Meets West‖ theme. Among them are Yoshitomo Naras Life is Only One! (Sale 3205, Lot 31, estimate: HK$6,500,000-8,500,000/US$833,300-1,089,700), a large-scale acrylic on wood that meditates on a universal sentiment: the ephemerality of life. Oil painting Society (Sale 3205, Lot 29, estimate: HK$16,000,000-24,000,000/US$2,051,300-3,076,900) by Zeng Fanzhi, a metaphor for Chinas aplomb and decisive role in the international political milieu, is another highlight.
A further highlight of the auction is Yan Pei-Mings 2012 oil painting Bruce Lee Fighting Spirit (Sale 3205, Lot 27, estimate: HK$4,000,000-5,000,000/US$512,800-641,000), which was generously donated by the artist himself via La Société des Amis du Louvre. The proceeds from the sale of the painting will go to the Louvre Museum for the refurbishment of its 18th Century Decorative Arts Galleries.
A SPECIAL SELECTION OF ASIAN 20TH CENTURY ART (DAY SALE)
Titled "A Special Selection of Asian 20th Century Art," a day sale comprising a selection of works will bring together a pan-Asian group of the most influential artists of the age including Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, Sanyu, Lim Tze Peng, Ting Yin-Yung, Walasse Ting and Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès, among others. All the featured works were executed on paper, arguably the most convenient and versatile medium in creating art.
"In my years as a professional in the international art market, I have never found medium to be a determining factor of value, and artworks on paper are beginning to command top prices." Eric Chang, International Director of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art, says about this collection of works on paper. "To me, these water colors, lithographs, sketches and mixed media works communicate a subtle, personal message, and are best appreciated in the intimate setting of your homein your study, salon or bedroom."