Top Five Paintings Sold Above RMB 100m at Beijing Poly Auction Autumn Sales

Bejing Poly Auction was led by Qi Baishi’s Twelve screens of Landscapes, which sold for RMB 930m and became the most expensive Chinese work of art. Propelled by the strong performance of Qi Baishi’s masterpiece, four other paintings ranging from the classical period to the modern time also fetched over RMB 100m each.

Let’s start with a classical one. Zhao Mengfu’s The Heart Sutra was hammered down for RMB 166m and sold for RMB 190m with buyer’s premium, setting a new auction record for the artist.

Zhao was a descendant of the Song Dynasty’s imperial family. He later accepted service in the newly established Mongol court. He was one of the most influential painters and calligraphers of his day, and his style had a great impact on generations to come. In his early years, Zhao Mengfu studied the style of the Song dynasty emperor Gaozong but later turned to the styles of Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi, in the end studying that of Li Yong. His Regular Script is considered one of the top four in the Chinese history.

Zhao had known many eminent monks and imitated Buddhist aphorisms such as Lotus Sutra, Prajnaparamita Sutra, Tao Te Ching and Huangdi Yinfujing etc. Many of his copies are the Heart Sutra and one is now kept in the collection of Liaoning Provincial Museum.

Twelve Screens of Florae, created by Wu Changshuo in late Qing to the Early Republic of China, was hammered down for RMB 182m and sold for RMB 209m with buyer’s premium.

Twelve Screens of Florae, the largest one among Wu’s extant paintings, depicts twelve sets of florae, including peony, narcissus, pomegranate, lotus, pine, plum, bamboo, chrysanthemum, orchid, wisteria and cabbage.

The next one is Sacred Place of Revolution Mount Shao, created by contemporary Chinese painter Li Keran (1907-1989). It was hammered down for RMB 155m and sold for RMB 178m.

Li Keran was a prominent figure in 20th-century art. He developed a personal style of landscape painting that was based upon the emulation of both ancient and contemporary masters. The present lot is one of his popular red landscapes painting series, which was created after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to show his admiration and respect towards the Communist party and Chairman Mao Zedong.

The last one is Cui Ruzhuo’s Twelve Screens of Finger Ink Landscape, which set a new auction record for the artist after fetching RMB 241m with buyer’s premium.

Cui is known for reviving traditional Chinese painting with his "finger-ink technique". His works are eagerly sought after and many were sold for over RMB 100m at auctions. The auction record for the artist was previously set by Landscape in Snow, which fetched over HK$236m (US$30m) with buyer’s premium at Poly Auction in Hong Kong.


Paintings that sold for above RMB100m at Beijing Poly Auction

Qi Baishi (1864-1957). Twelve screens of Landscapes. Hanging scroll. Ink on Paper.

Lot no.: 2806
Size: 180 x 47cm x 12
Estimate: RMB 500,000,000
Hammer price: RMB 810,000,000
Price realized: RMB 931,500,000

Cui Ruzhuo. Twelve Screens of Finger Ink Landscape. Mounted. Ink and Colour on Paper.

Lot no.: 2808
Created in: 2017
Size: 216 x 76cm x 12
Estimate on Request
Hammer price: RMB 210,000,000
Price realized: RMB 241,500,000

Wu Changshuo (1844-1927). Twelve Screens of Florae. Mounted. Ink and Color on Paper.

Lot no.: 2638
Created in: 1915-1916
Size: 133.5 x 52.8cm x 12
Estimate on Request
Hammer price: RMB 182,000,000
Price realized: RMB 209,300,000

Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322). The Heart Sutra. Album. Ink on Paper.

Lot no.: 3535
Size: 28.6 x 11.9cm x 5
Estimate on Request
Hammer price: RMB 166,000,000
Price realized: RMB 190,900,000

Li Keran (1907-1989). Sacred Place of Revolution Mount Shao. Mounted. Ink and Colour on Paper.

Lot no.: 2661
Created in: 1974
Size: 141.5 x 243cm
Estimate on Request
Hammer price: RMB 155,000,000
Price realized: RMB 178,250,000


Auction details

Auction house: Beijing Poly Auction
Auction date: 2017/12/16-18