Top Ten Modern & Contemporary Artworks Sold in Hong Kong Autumn Auction 2019

Amid the ongoing political tensions in Hong Kong and uncertainty in global markets, various auction houses went ahead with their autumn auctions in Hong Kong as planned. Despite mounting concerns about the sale performance this season, the modern and contemporary segment continued to deliver satisfactory sale results with numerous new auction records. Here is an overview of the top ten modern and contemporary artworks sold in Hong Kong autumn auction 2019.

Among the top ten, four of them are Yoshitomo Nara’s artwork whereas three of them go to Sanyu. Both artists have seen new auction records this season. Other artists on the list include Zao Wou-Ki, KAWS and Liu Ye.

1st: Sanyu (1895-1966). Nu

Lot no.: 1029
Size: 122.5 x 135cm
Created in: 1965
signed in Chinese and French; signed in French, dated 4.1965 and inscribed in Chinese on the reverse

  • Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 1966
  • Collection of Yves Bideau (Jean François Bideau)
  • Collection of Jean-Claude Riedel
  • Collection Dreyfus, Paris
  • Important Private Collection

Estimate: in excess of HK$150m
Hammer price: HK$172,000,000
Price realised: HK$197,974,000

Related articles: 
Sanyu’s Last Nude Painting Sells for Record-Breaking HK$198m
Sanyu’s Last Nude Painting Could Fetch Record-Breaking HK$150m at Sotheby’s Hong Kong

2nd: Yoshitomo Nara. Knife Behind Back

Lot no: 1142
Created in: 2000
Size: 234 x 208cm

  • Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
  • Private Collection, California
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: in excess of HK$50m
Hammer price: HK$170,000,000
Price realised: HK$195,696,000

Related articles:
Yoshitomo Nara Becomes Most Expensive Japanese Artist as His “Knife Behind Back” Sells for Record-Smashing HK$195m
Yoshitomo Nara's Large-Scale Painting 'Knife Behind Back' Could Fetch More Than HK$50m, A New Auction Record for the Artist

3rd: Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2013). 21.04.59

Lot no.: 1021
Size: 130 x 162cm
Created in: 1959

  • Collection of the artist
  • Estate of the artist
  • Acquired directly from the above by the present important private European collector

Estimate: HK$75,000,000 - 100,000,000
Hammer price: HK$90,000,000
Price realised: HK$104,576,000

4th: KAWS. Untitled (KIMPSONS #1)

Lot no.: 1136
Created in: 2004
Size: 274.5x244cm

  • Collection of NIGO®
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: HK$48,000,000-68,000,000
Hammer price: HK$49,000,000
Price realised: HK$57,877,000

Related articles: 
KAWS Painting from NIGO Collection Goes Under the Hammer for HK$48m at Sotheby's This Fall
KAWS Painting Sold for Record Breaking HK$116m at Sotheby's NIGO Sale

5th: Liu Ye. Smoke

Lot no.: 1108
Created in: 2001 - 2002
Size: 178 x 356.5cm

  • Private Collection, Beijing (acquired directly from the artist)
  • Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 8 April 2006, Lot 508
  • Diva Fine Arts, Geneva
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: HK$25,000,000 - 35,000,000
Hammer price: HK$44,000,000
Price realised: HK$52,182,000

Related article:
Liu Ye’s “Smoke” Painting Sells for Record HK$52.18m at Sotheby’s Hong Kong

6th: Sanyu (1895-1966). Nu Rose Sur Tissus Chinois

Lot no.: 1030
Size: 45.2 x 81.2cm
Created in: 1930s

  • Collection of Henri-Pierre Roché, Paris (inventory no. 59)
  • Collection of Jean-Claude Riedel, Paris
  • Acquired directly from the above by the present important private European collector in 1980

Estimate: HK$35,000,000 - 45,000,000
Hammer price: HK$42,000,000
Price realised: HK$49,904,000

7th: Sanyu (1895-1966). Pot De Fleurs Rouges

Lot no.: 1034
Size: 92 x 60.3cm
Created in: 1930-1940s

  • Acquired directly from the artist by the former owner
  • Private Swiss Collection
  • Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 May 2005, Lot 26
  • Acquired directly from the above by the former private Asian collector
  • Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 4 April 2011, Lot 658
  • Acquired directly from the above by the present important private Asian collector

Estimate: HK$28,000,000 - 40,000,000
Hammer price: HK$36,500,000
Price realised: HK$43,639,500

8th: Not Everything but/ Green House

Auction house: Poly Auction Hong Kong
Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art

Lot no.: 165
Created in: 2009
Size: 320 × 320 × 670cm

  • Yoshitomo Nara, Untitled, Painted in 2009, acrylic on wood panel, 145.8 x 126.5 cm. (57 1/2 x 49 3/4 in.)
  • 575 ready-made plush toys


  • Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, USA
  • Acquired from the above gallery by the present owner

Estimate: HK$20,000,000 - 30,000,000
Hammer price: HK$36,500,000
Price realised: HK$43,639,500

9th: Yoshitomo Nara. Looking at You

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Lot no.: 1134
signed, titled and dated: 2007
Size: 91 x 73cm

  • Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner

Estimate: HK$14,000,000-22,000,00
Hammer price: HK$31,000,000
Price realised: HK$37,375,000

10th: Midnight Vampire

Auction house: China Guardian Hong Kong
Sale: Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Lot no.: 18
Created in: 2010
Size: 73 x 60.5cm

  • Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
  • Private Collection, Europe
  • 25 Nov 2017, Christie's Hong Kong Autumn Auction, Lot 53
  • Important Private Collection, Asia

Estimate: HK$18,000,000 - 25,000,000
Hammer price: HK$32,500,000
Price realised: HK$37,150,000