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Sotheby's Hong Kong Evening Sale to offer western contemporary art for the first time
Adrian Ghenie, Self-Portrait in 1945, 2015, oil on canvas, 40 x 27.1 cm. Estimate: HK$4.8million – 5.8million/ US$620,000 – 740,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale will be held on 2 April at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Besides the familiar categories of Modern Asian Art, Contemporary Asian Art and Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, the auction will present, for the first time, significant Western Contemporary works by internationally-renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Adrian Ghenie, together with works by other in-demand Asian artists including Lin Fengmian, Zao Wou-ki, Zhang Xiaogang, Liu Ye, Kusama Yayoi, Le Pho and Affandi. The evening sale offering over 50 lots is estimated in excess of HK$460 million/ US$60 million.

Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman, Sotheby’s Fine Arts Division commented: “It has been exciting to witness the ever-increasing enthusiasm for Western Contemporary art among collectors in Asia. After the 29% increase in the number of Asian bidders in our major Contemporary sales last year, as well as the strength of Asian editions of fairs like Art Basel, it was logical to add Western Contemporary art into our Hong Kong evening sale this spring. We are looking forward to showcasing many of the great U.S. and European artists alongside outstanding Asian works this April.”

Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, commented: “The success of the Western Contemporary art in last October’s #TTTOP sale, along with Asian buyers’ increased activity in our most recent auctions in New York and London have encouraged us to include Western works in our evening sale for the first time. Sotheby’s is delighted to offer eight significant works by both Contemporary masters, including Warhol’s magnificent Mao, as well as younger artists from the Western Contemporary world.”


Contemporary Art (Western)
Andy Warhol, Mao, 1973, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 127 x 106.6cm. Estimate: HK$90million – 120million/ US$12million – 15million

Mao series marked a significant stylistic turning point for Warhol in the 1970s. The present work belonging to the series of 22 paintings stretched on 50 by 42 in bars during the artist’s lifetime is a distinctly wonderful example of his oeuvre. Of the other paintings in this cycle, four are known to be held in the renowned public collections. Mao was created in 1972 – a crucial moment of global politics where President Nixon visited China and Chairman Mao. The painting in red and gold carries the highly expressionistic and flamboyant handling of paint as well as the artist’s resolution and confidence, transforming Mao to become the newest player on the fashion circuit and a glamourised member of the 1970s pop idols.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Water-Worshipper, 1984, acrylic, oilstick, silkscreen ink and metal on panel, 209.6 x 274 x 10.2 cm. Estimate: HK$35million – 43million/ US$4.5million – 5.5million
Executed in 1984, this remarkable work bears witness to the very year Basquiat reached full artistic maturity at the age of just twenty-four. He was the youngest artist ever to be included in the prestigious Whitney Biennial in the previous year. Combining the tobacco logo, figures from Haitian voodoo, and planks that symbolise the boat or slave ship, the work displays his intensive engagement with racism, colonialism and slavery, which were both nurtured from personal experiences as well as his interest in Afro-American history. It reflects our contemporary times and society just as it reflects history – the very reason why Basquiat’s work continues to influence the younger artist generations today.

Damien Hirst, Midas And The Infinite, 2008, butterflies, cubic zirconia and enamel paint on canvas, 301.7 x 301.7 cm. Estimate: HK$6.5million – 8.5million/ US$830,000 – 1.1million
Midas and the Infinite is one of Damien Hirst's series of opulent butterfly monochrome paintings made for the Sotheby's auction 'Beautiful Inside My Head Forever' in 2008. The use of gold as well as the ‘crucifixion’ of the butterflies onto the canvas is certainly a conscious decision to reference the church and religion as a whole, whereas the theme of mortality is further addressed through the title of the painting. Midas and the Infinite is an iconic masterpiece of the artist’s probe into the spiritual as well as his grand theoretical constructs concerning mortality and eternal life.

Adrian Ghenie, Self-Portrait in 1945, 2015, oil on canvas, 40 x 27.1 cm. Estimate: HK$4.8million – 5.8million/ US$620,000 – 740,000
Adrian Ghenie’s Self-Portrait in 1945 is among the top icons of the artist’s canon of portraiture which has become integral to his artistic practice. Like many of Ghenie’s portraits, the artist portrays himself combined with fragments of other faces, with the most important examples being the ones based off of Vincent van Gogh’s very last self-portraits, as is evidenced in the present example. This perfect balance and oscillation between realism and the artifice of representation is the very hallmark of Ghenie’s artistic style

Contemporary Art (Asian)
Zhang Xiaogang, Bloodline: Mother and Son No.1, 1993. Oil and photo collage on canvas, 115 x 146 cm. Estimate: HK$25million – 35million/US$3.2million – 4.5million

Created in 1993, the critical year when Zhang Xiaogang transitioned from previous explorations of Surrealism and Symbolism to his signature Realism, Bloodline: Mother and Son No.1 is the first work from the artist’s historically important Bloodline series. It is also a highly personal work of art, as it features the artist himself and his mother. Zhang Xiaogang only produced two paintings on the mother-son theme, with the other being Bloodline: Mother and Son No. 2 - now part of the collection of Fukuoka Museum of Art. Following the depiction of himself and his mother, the artist later extended the motif towards the entire family, giving rise to his iconic Bloodline: Big Family works that encapsulate the weight of society, history, and Chinese identity.

Kusama Yayoi, Net-No.2 Yellow, 1960. Oil on fibreboard, 96.5 x 71 cm. Estimate: HK$18million – 25million/US$2.3million – 3.2million
Net-No.2 Yellow is the first large yellow net from Kusama’s early period infinity nets to appear at auction. While Kusama’s early period nets were mostly rendered in white or red, the current lot’s yellow-on-black palette foreshadows the signature colour schema of her iconic pumpkins. An infinity net of the same colour palette and created in the same year currently belongs in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, purchased via Frank Stella. In 1960, the same year the current lot was created, Kusama and Mark Rothko were the only two American-based artists to be included, alongside Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni, in a seminal exhibition of Monochrome paintings at the Stadtisches Museum in Leverkusen in Germany.

Liu Ye, Mondrian in the Afternoon, 2001. Acrylic on canvas, 160 x 160 cm. Estimate: HK$5.2million – 6.2million/US$670,000 – 790,000
Mondrian in the afternoon is one of a set of three iconic paintings by Liu Ye that references his rich artistic dialogue with the works of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The other two works are Mondrian at Noon and Mondrian in the Morning. The first belongs to the collection of the Long Museum in Shanghai while the second remains in the artist’s private collection. This work, the only one in private hands, displays the ways in which visual theories such as balance and geometrical partitioning have permeated Liu Ye's artwork.

Murakami Takashi, Miss Ko2, 1997. Fiberglass, iron, synthetic resin, oil paint and acrylic, 182.9 x 63.5 x 82.6cm. Estimate: HK$15million – 20million/ US$1.9million – 2.6million
Miss Ko2 is the first of Murakami’s otaku-inspired sculptures rendered in life-size. Fusing Japanese pop culture with classical Western ideals of beauty, the iconic statue was exhibited at the Palace of Versailles in Paris in 2009 and on multiple occasions around the world, thus carrying great historical and cultural currency. The current lot is the last of only three editions created by the artist.

Modern Asian Art
Lin Fengmian, Harvest at Dawn. Oil on canvas, 1950s, 85.8 x 123.8 cm. Estimate: HK$25million – 30million/ US$ 3.2million – 3.8 million

From an important Asian private collection, Harvest at Dawn is, at 85.8 by 123.8 centimeters, Lin Fengmian’s largest oil painting by the account of the artist’s official publishing and sales records. At the time of its painting, Chinese society marched toward socialism in the idealistic spirit of establishing economic equality among its citizens. The painting evokes optimism in its shining sun warming a group of village women happily engaged in the work of harvest. Rare and of museum-quality, Harvest at Dawn echoes the composition and spirit of a series of nearly or partly identical coloured ink masterpieces in the collection at the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy, and is the result of repeated experiments.

Wang Huaiqing, House In A House-Red Bed (diptych), 2002, mixed media and oil on canvas mounted on board, 200 x 240 cm;200 x 120 cm (each). Estimate: HK$20million – 30million/US$2.6million – 3.8million
At the turn of the millennium, Wang turned away from the use of dark, heavy colours, instead embracing a new application of richly-textured vermilion oil paint to create a powerful sense of visual expansion. The inclusion of classical Chinese furniture pieces in front of and behind the painting gives a three dimensional presence to the work, marking a breakthrough from the two dimension painting tradition from both the East and the West. A representative work of the artist’s many important exhibitions in China and Taiwan, House In A House-Red Bed (diptych) is a continuation of the artist’s successful semi-abstract paintings, with the scale and the significance comparable to another work Feet-2 (diptych), which set a new world auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s in Spring 2016.

A Complete Circle of Zao Wou-ki’s Artistic Journey
This season’s Evening Sale presents five oil works by legendary master Zao Wou-ki spanning his various artistic periods, from his beginnings in France under the influence of Paul Klee, to his ‘oracle bone period’ inward exploration of the spiritual, and extending to the pinnacle of his career in the 1960s marked by bold, colourful, majestically composed explosions of feeling and hue. Finally, there is his later phase in the 2000s, when his work conveys the liberty and fluidity of an established master at ease in his exploration of time, space and the physical world. Through these offerings, taken together, we witness the full circle of Zao Wou-ki’s career, from the east to the west and back again.

• Zao Wou-ki, Bateaux au clair de lune, 1952. Oil on canvas, 105 x 120 cm. Est. HK$25million-35million/ US$3.2million – 4.5million

• Zao Wou-ki, 17.07.67, 1967. Oil on canvas, 130 x 96.5cm. Est. HK$20million -28million/US$2.6million-3.6million

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art
Le Pho, Family Life, c1937 – 1939. Ink and gouache on silk, 82 x 66 cm. Estimate: HK$ 1.8 million – 2.4 million / US$ 230,000 – 308,000

This season, Sotheby’s is proud to offer a spectacular and elaborate silk painting by Vietnamese modern master Le Pho, who stands as one of the most highly sought after Southeast Asian artists today. The present lot, Family Life, epitomises Le Pho’s skill and his vivid sense of imagination, offering the viewer a nostalgic glimpse into an idyllic existence. What truly sets this masterpiece apart is its magnificent detailing: the minutia is executed to a level of intricacy seldom found in his oeuvre. The painstakingly executed backdrop frames the work’s hallowed focal point: the mother and child—a universally understood emblem of beauty, highlighting familial bliss that rejoices the foundations of human life.

Vicente Silva Manansala, Tiange (Market scene), 1977. Oil on canvas, 112 x 140 cm. Estimate: HK$ 2million – 3million / US$258,000 – 387,000
Beaming with an ebullient spirit and robust dynamism, Tiange represents Manansala’s ingenuity and formal dexterity that distinguished him as a leader of the modern era in Filipino art. A paragon of Manansala’s revered ‘transparent cubism’ works, Tiange captures the artist at the height of his creative output — taking inspiration from everyday life and channelling it in his idiosyncratic technique. Depicting a vibrant market scene populated by women and a man carrying a white cockerel, this magnificent work bears the marks of the artist’s intense process and his bravura for analytical subtleties distilled from nature.

Affandi, Colosseum, Roma / Colosseum, Rome, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 99.5 x 130 cm. Estimate: HK$2.2 million – 3.5 million / US$ 282,000 – 448,000
A master of expression, with a penchant for drama, Affandi is undeniably one of the most important artists in the canon of Southeast Asian art history. Colosseum, Roma, marks a breakthrough in the artist’ opus, embodying all the hallmarks of an iconic masterpiece while reveling in the freshness of the artist’s personal discoveries abroad. The present lot is one of only three known works of the subject and sets Affandi apart as a foremost modernist Indonesian artist of his generation.

In April 2016, Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s curated white-glove sale ‘BRUSHWORK – FROM ASIA TO THE WORLD’ presented a universal calligraphic aesthetic found in post-war abstraction. An opening section of this season’s Evening Sale, its sequel ‘BRUSHWORK II – ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE’ celebrates the newly globalised and interconnected post-war arena where artists painted for the world – not just for local audiences. In their cross-cultural search for a common international language on the global ‘stage’ of abstraction, artists turned to performance, process, and dynamic synthesis of East and West.

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