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Zhang Daqian's 'Lotus' fetches $10.4 million at Christie's Fine Chinese Modern Paintings Sale
Christie’s Hong Kong Chinese Painting sales this Spring achieved HK$1,010,897,500 / US$130,911,226 over the course of two days, with an overall sold rate of 94% by lot and 98% by value. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.
HONG KONG (AFP).- A work by Chinese master Zhang Daqian, dubbed the "Picasso of the East", fetched more than $10 million at a Hong Kong sale Tuesday, auction house Christie's said.

A set of four large hanging scrolls entitled "Lotus" sold for HK$80.51 million ($10.4 million) at the auction house's fine Chinese modern paintings sale, beating pre-sale estimates by more than HK$65 million.

Each scroll is over five feet tall (1.5 metres) and the painting, which was completed in 1947, depicts multiple blooming lotus flowers drawn in ink and colour on paper, Christie's said in a statement.

Twenty-four works by Zhang fetched HK$330 million at a Sotheby's sale on Monday after "intense" bidding, which was almost 90 percent above the auction house's estimates, Sotheby's said.

The top lot, "Daoist Goddess Playing Panpipe", fetched HK$74 million while the rest of the works from the sale, "A Master's Secrets Unveiled", were sold within an hour and a half.

Sotheby's had previously fetched HK$680 million from a Zhang Daqian sale in 2011.

The late Chinese artist in 2011 was the best-selling artist at auction, topping Spanish great Pablo Picasso and American pop art master Andy Warhol.

Hong Kong has emerged as one of the world's major auction hubs in art and wine thanks to cash-rich mainland Chinese buyers who have a growing appetite for luxury items amid the country's economic boom.

A rare red "lotus bowl" from the Chinese emperor Kangxi period of 1662-1722 was sold for an eye-popping $9.5 million at a sale in the city last month, Sotheby's said.

Ben Kong, International Specialist Head of Christie’s Chinese Paintings Department, said, “Both sales achieved HK$1,010,897,500 / US$130,911,226, Christie's 2nd highest total for the category. Throughout the previews and auctions, we saw a resurgence of interest in Chinese Classical Paintings, as well as great enthusiasm for Modern Paintings. Clients appreciated the exceptional private collections, plus works with wide-ranging estimates. Renowned masters were much sought after, especially Zhang Daqian’s Lotus that sold for HK$80,510,000 / US$10,426,045 and Zhou Chen’s River Scenery that sold for HK$51,390,000 / US$6,655,005, which set a world auction record for the artist.”

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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