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Sotheby's shines in Asia: Record sales in the first half of 2014 demonstrating unrivalled market leadership
The Meiyintang Chenghua 'Chicken Cup' is displayed by deputy chairman for Sotheby's Asia Nicolas Chow after it was sold for a record price in Hong Kong on April 8, 2014. The rare Ming-era Chinese wine cup broke the world auction record for any Chinese porcelain, selling in Hong Kong for 36.05 million USD to a mainland Chinese collector, Sotheby's auction house said. AFP PHOTO / Aaron Tam.

HONG KONG.- Commenting on the exceptional half-year result, Kevin Ching, Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s Asia, said: “Fuelled by robust demand for art in Asia, Sotheby’s strong performance was driven by two factors: our ability to source the best and rarest properties from the world’s great collections as well as expertise in curating sales that appeal to discerning art lovers at all levels of the market by creating opportunities to experience the magic of collecting. Sotheby’s focus on offering appealing properties at the right estimates delivers the greatest value to our clients and drives the exceptional results that secure the Company’s leadership in this growing and competitive market.”

Achieving Record Growth

For the first six months of 2014, Sotheby’s Asia auction sales achieved HK$3.82 billion / US$490 million1, a 47% increase on the same period last year and a season high total amongst international auction houses in Asia.

Setting New Benchmarks Across Categories
In the first six months of 2014 in Asia, Sotheby’s sold three works of art for more than HK$100 million. More than 20 world auction records were set, capped by the exceptional Meiyintang “Chicken Cup” which established a World Auction Record for Chinese Porcelain. Sotheby’s also achieved six of the top 10 artwork prices in the Asian auction market. Average sell-through rate remained strong at 91%.

Serving A Broadening Art Market
As the art market in Asia broadens, Sotheby’s rises to the occasion. In the first half of 2014, Sotheby’s sourced works from 46 countries and attracted participation by collectors from 56 countries. The Company continues to expand its client base, and 22% of all bidders are new to Sotheby’s.

Engaging Clients With New Categories
The pioneering Contemporary Literati sale in April achieved HK$52 million / US$6.7 million, doubling the sale total in Autumn 2013, with the addition of ink paintings, exquisite natural objects, bonsai and other items revered by collectors in the scholarly tradition.

Increased Asian Participation in Global Salesrooms
Catering to the broadening tastes of Asian collectors, Sotheby’s continues to showcase selected highlights from its major overseas auctions in Hong Kong, including Impressionist and Modern Art from New York, London and Paris, Contemporary Art from New York, Jewellery and Watches from New York and Geneva, as well as Old Master Paintings in London. Asian clients’ participation, both as bidders and buyers, in Sotheby’s international salerooms, and the amount spent, continues to increase year on year.

Sotheby’s continues its on-going role as an art market pioneer. In response to the rapidly evolving art market in Asia, the Company has successfully expanded its business in Asia beyond the traditional twice-annual series of auctions by introducing a multi-channel business model.

Mid-Season Sales Series
Sotheby’s carefully-curated mid-season auctions in May featuring leading categories from Chinese ceramics and works of art, snuff bottles to watches and wine have grown into a major series of events during the robust fine art season in Hong Kong’s calendar.

Since its debut in 2012, the Boundless: Contemporary Art sale has responded to the diversifying tastes of Asian collectors by bringing to the market quality works by renowned Western and Asian contemporary artists. The sale in June saw particularly strong interest in meticulously-selected Western contemporary works, which made up the majority of the top 10 works sold.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery Exhibitions
As an extension of its core auction business, Sotheby’s continues to engage new and existing clients through a year-round calendar of exhibitions – both selling and non-selling – at its Hong Kong Gallery. In the first half of 2014, Sotheby’s held seven exhibitions showcasing diverse genres of art to the collectors and art lovers in Asia, among which were the highly popular exhibitions entitled Gardens of Pleasure: Sex in Ancient China which attracted thousands of visitors, and Song Yige: Another Dimension where every work by the Beijing- based, post-80s-generation Contemporary artist found a buyer.

Eyes On China
Sotheby’s, as the first international fine arts business operating in China, remains highly focused on developing its presence in the country. Following the success of its Beijing Art Week last December, Sotheby’s Beijing Spring Sale and Selling Exhibition 2014 attracted new Chinese bidders and buyers who responded enthusiastically to the rich, rewarding art experience involving a selling exhibition of works on paper by important 20th Century Modern masters, Masters on Paper – From Picasso to Sanyu, educational programmes and an auction of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art. The success of the event fully demonstrated Sotheby’s ability to contribute to Beijing’s growing standing as an international platform for art transactions and exchange.

Selling Exhibition At Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery:

Old Master Q: What The @#$% Is Going On? Original Works By Alphonso Wong - From 9 to 29 August, Sotheby’s will showcase more than 120 original comic illustrations, dating from the 1960s to the 1980s, from the legendary and beloved Old Master Q by Alphonso Wong Kar-hei (well-known by his pen name, Wong Chak). In a light-hearted and humorous style, Old Master Q depicts social realities and commentary on the development of Hong Kong. Timeless and charming, Old Master Q is an enduring icon that encapsulates the collective memory of Hong Kong communities, as well as the Chinese diaspora around the world. What The @#$% Is Going On? is the largest selling exhibition by the artist worldwide.

The World According to Nara - Sotheby’s S|2 gallery is pleased to present a selling exhibition celebrating the renowned Japanese artist, Yoshitomo Nara. To be held in Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery from 6 to 24 September, the exhibition will explore a broad spectrum of the artist’s critically acclaimed career, including his paintings, drawings and sculptures. Bridging the boundaries between pop culture and high art, the spirit of Nara’s oeuvre is heavily nourished by the influences of his youth. Beneath the aggressive expressions of his child-like characters, Nara confronts the emotional core of his subjects, gnawing at the deeper roots of life. Through the intersection of figurative and text narratives, a captivating realm of images begins to unravel, and it is here that audiences are invited to peer into the world according to Nara.

Following the success of its Spring Sales, Sotheby’s Hong Kong will hold its Autumn Sales from 4 to 8 October 2014, offering exceptional objects of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Fine Chinese Paintings, Contemporary Ink Paintings, 20th Century Chinese Art, Contemporary Asian Art, Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings, Jewellery, Watches and Wines from some of the most important private collections around the world.

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