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Sotheby's sale in Beijing sets an auction record for Chinese Modern master Zao Wou-Ki
Zao Wou-Ki's Abstraction from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago sold for RMB89,680,000 / US$14,718,771. Photo: Sotheby's.
BEIJING.- Sotheby's Beijing Art Week, 28 November – 1 December, concluded yesterday in the China World Summit Wing with an auction which achieved RMB227,133,480 / US$37,278,386 (Est. over RMB123 million), and set a record for Chinese modern master Zao Wou-Ki when Abstraction from 1958 sold for RMB89,680,000 / US$14,718,771 / HK$114,111,210, smashing the pre-sale estimate of RMB35,000,000 - 45,000,000. Eight bidders - five on phones and three in the room - competed in an intense bidding battle for nearly five minutes before a bidder in the room, Mr. Zhang Xiaojun, a collector from Shanxi province, China, prevailed. The price eclipsed the previous auction record of Zao Wou-ki, US$10,928,205 / HK$85,240,000, set by Sotheby's Hong Kong on 5 October of this year with his 15.01.82. Sotheby's currently holds the top six auction prices for the artist. Another work by the artist offered in today’s sale, Abstract Landscape 27.08.91, brought RMB44,840,000 / US$7,359,386, soaring past pre-sale estimates of RMB4,000,000 – 6,000,000. Artist records were also set today for Li Guijun, Chen Fei, Duan Jianwei, Liu Renjie and Ma Ke.

Kevin Ching, Sotheby’s CEO in Asia, said: “Sotheby's Beijing Art Week confirms the company’s strategy to develop the art market in China via a specially curated Chinese art auction in Beijing that catered to the taste of collectors in China, brought new clients into our salerooms and achieved strong results. A series of enthusiastically-received selling exhibitions of Western art point to a broadening of the range of Chinese interest into other categories of collecting, while our well-attended educational programmes indicate the depth of desire for increased knowledge of art which often precedes participation in the market.”

Attended by over 750 people, the auction was the culmination of Sotheby's Beijing Art Week, which brought Chinese and Western art worth RMB1.3 billion / US$212 million, including a series of selling exhibitions of Western art ranging from portraits by Rembrandt, Picasso, a sculpture by Rodin, and 19th Century furniture and decorative arts to Beijing, open to the public in the China World Summit Wing. A series of educational programmes mounted by Sotheby's Institute of Art on the 30 November was eagerly attended by hundreds of serious collectors, art lovers, students and the general public.

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