Li Keran’s Magnificent Mountains with Gushy Cascades Hammered Down at HK$107m at Sotheby's

The Sale of Sotheby’s Fine Chinese Paintings was held in two parts, one in the morning and the other one in the afternoon. Fu Baoshi’s Trekking Over Mountains in Moonlight was sold for HK$92.91m with buyer’s premium in the morning session. With such outstanding sale result for reference, Li Keran’s Magnificent Mountains with Gushy Cascades was given higher expectation as it carried the highest estimate ever at Sotheby’s Fine Chinese Paintings. It was hammered down at HK$107m and sold for HK$122,162,500.

Magnificent Mountains with Gushy Cascades is labelled as estimate upon request. At the media preview, Sotheby’s revealed the estimate to be HK$78m, the highest estimate ever at their Fine Chinese Paintings.The bidding of this painting started at HK$60m and soon rose to its estimate HK$78m after a few bid increments. The bidding steadily reached HK$90m with three telephone bidders staying in the bidding war.

The bidding came to HK$98m after about a minute. One telephone bidder left the war, leaving the other two phone bidders, and one of them was a client of Patti Wong (Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia). In the blink of an eye, the bidding already went up to HK$100m. The two telephone bidders took turns offering higher bids until the price reached HK$107m. One of them seemed hesitated for a while and the auctioneer, Henry Howard-Sneyd, asked if there was any higher bid for a few times. The painting was sold for the client of Patti Wong in the end.

 It is a sophisticated painting depicting a spectacular view of mountains, trees and rocks in the natural world. It shows multiple layers of the mountains and the work is meticulous. Li put a lot of hard work on the light and shadow, which is also one of the traits of his landscape paintings. He was good at using light and shadow to create the effect of dark and bright, ruggedness, as well as near and far.


Li Keran (1907-1989)’s Magnificent Mountains with Gushy Cascades. Ink and Colour on Paper. Hanging Scroll.

Lot no.: 1422
Created in: 1978
Size: 171 x 94 cm

  • Previously in the collection of famous Hong Kong collector Mr. Yeung Wing Tak
  • Acquired by the present owner in November 1990 in Hong Kong

Estimate Upon Request (The Value learnt the estimate to be US$10,000,000)
Hammer Price: HK$107,000,000
Price realized; HK$122,162,500

(All prices realized have included buyer’s premium unless otherwise specified)

Auction details

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Sale: Fine Chinese Paintings
No. of lots: 291
Auction time:
Part 1|2017/10/2|10am(Lot 1201 - 1311)
Part 2|2017/10/2|2:30pm(Lot 1312 - 1491)