Sotheby’s Hong Kong Unveils Highlights from Autumn Sales 2019

Sotheby’s Hong Kong unveiled a selection of highlights from its upcoming autumn sales in September that estimated at a total value of HK$560m (US$71.4m). Two of all 10 lots announced, a Qianlong pouch-shaped glass vase from Le Cong Tang and a 10-64 carat fancy vivid purplish pink diamond, are expected to fetch in excess of HK$100m(US$12.8m) respectively.

1. A highly important Beijing-enamelled pouch-shaped glass vase, Blue enamel mark and period of Qianlong|18.2cm|expected to fetch in excess of HK$200m (US$25.5m)

Enamelled vessels in the Qianlong period were painted in Western styles with vibrant colours. Glass vessels were by far the most complex and demanding of all works of art commissioned at the Beijing Palace Workshops. The present one measures 18.2cm in height and is inscribed with a four-character seal mark of ‘Qianlong Nianzhi’ (made in the Qianlong period) on the body.

The pouch-shaped glass vase came from the legendary collection of Prince Gong. It later passed through the hands of A.W. Bahr and Paul and Helen Bernat. It was acquired by the current owner, Robert Tsao, the owner of Le Cong Tang, for a record-breaking HK$24m in 2000.

Please see Qianlong Pouch-Shaped Glass Vase from Robert Tsao Collection Could Fetch More Than HK$200m for more details.

2. A rare and exquisite 10.64-carat fancy vivid purplish pink internally flawless diamond and diamond ring|estimate: HK$150m-200m

The colour is purplish pink with the top grading of fancy vivid and the clarity is internally flawless. Other information about the diamond is yet to be announced.

3. A superb and fine blue and white ‘daylily’ palace bowl mark and period of Chenghua|14.8cm|expected to fetch in excess of HK$60,000,000

Palace bowl was made for only a few years towards the end of the Chenghua reign (1464-1487). There are very few surviving examples, most of which are now in the collections of major museums around the world. After decades of importing cobalt from the Middle East to achieve a deep and intense colour, native cobalt was deliberately chosen in the Chenghua reign to create a very different effect. The cobalt pigment is much more even than it was in the Xuande period, without any 'heaping and piling'.

Shaped with fine proportion, palace bowls are mostly painted in underglaze blue with a flower or fruit design of apparent simplicity. Daylily blossoms carry auspicious meaning and was therefore a popular motif on ceramic ware. It is commonly depicted in Ding wares from mid-Northern Song to Jin periods.

In 2013, a blue and white palace bowl, mark and period of Chenghua, was sold for HK$141m in 2013. The present one is estimated at HK$60m.

4. An exceptionally rare blue and white ‘dragon’ stem bowl mark and period of xuande|15.6cm|expected to fetch in excess of HK$60m

Blue and white from the Xuande period have always been coveted by collectors and connoisseurs. The present bowl depicts a five-clawed dragon in rich blue tones amidst turbulent waves painted in the most delicate icy blue. The stem foot is decorated with peaks rising above cresting waves.

In 2016, a similar blue and white ‘dragon’ stem bowl mark and period of xuande was sold for HK$68.86m in 2016.

5. NU ROSE SUR TISSUS CHINOIS by Sanyu (1901-1966) |45.2 x 81.2cm|1930s|Estimate: HK$35m-45m

Hailed as the ‘Chinese Matisse’, Sanyu was a Chinese-French artist that created prints, drawings, and paintings. His work fused the histories of European still-life and figurative painting with the traditions of Chinese calligraphy. Female nude is one of the major subjects in Sanyu’s work.

6. Smoke by Liu Ye|178 x 356.5cm|2001-2002|Estimate: HK$25m-35m

Liu Ye’s paintings are simple yet succinct summaries of the issues he faces in everyday life. Estimated at HK$25m-35m, the present lot on offer comes from a series of three works of the same size, all painted between 2001 to 2002. Sword, one of the other two works, was sold for HK$42.68m at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013; while the other one, Gun, currently resides in M+ Sigg museum collection.

The background of the piece steals our gaze, dyeing the entire canvas a vibrant orange verging on red. The use of the colour red represents for the artist a distant childhood. “I came of age in a world covered in red, red suns, red flags, red kerchiefs,” reminisced Liu in a dialogue with Zhu Zhu.

7. Sunrise in Lofty Mountain by Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) |96 x 179cm|1983|estimate: HK$12m-18m

Considered one of the most important Chinese painters of the 20th century, Wu Guanzhong was renowned for his landscapes, which fused Western and Oriental artistic traditions. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Wu’s birthday, bringing much attention to his works whether at auctions or exhibitions. This spring, Wu’s Lotus Flowers (I) headlined Sotheby’s Modern Art Evening Sale in Hong Kong and sold for HK$130m (US$16.6m).

8. Ink Fruits and Brackens by Badashanren|25 x 39.7cm|estimate: HK$8m-10m

Bada Shanren, also known as Zhu Da (1626-1705), was a royal descendant of the Ming royal house. As a child he displayed a prodigious talent for drawing and calligraphy which was nurtured by his father. In 1644, his elite status was threatened following the overthrow of the Ming dynasty by the Manchu army. In fear for his life, Zhu Da fled to a monastery where he changed his name and became a Buddhist monk. His work is characterised by its enigmatic style that filled with the exploration of Zen ideas and abstraction.

9. Patek Philippe, Reference 5002r Skymoon Tourbillon|estimate: HK$7m-10m

The Sky Moon Tourbillon, ref.5002 was launched in 2001 as Patek Philippe’s most complicated wristwatch and the first by the company to feature a double dial. When the ref. 5002 was launched in 2001, at that time, a 43.5 mm diameter case was considered ‘massive’ and the possibility of a watch consisting of 12 complications was unthinkable, yet as technology and horology has evolved, over a decade later, the Skymoon still stands out as one of the greatest wristwatch manufactured in the 21st century.

A Patek Philippe reference 5002r Skymoon tourbillon was sold for HK$11m at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2017. The present one is estimated at HK$7m-10m.

10. BALINESE MAIDENS IN THE INTERIOR by Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès (1880-1958) |74 x 89cm|estimate: HK$3.2m-5.5m

A classic European Impressionist painter, Belgian-born artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès sought to uncover and render an unadulterated picture of tropical life. In 1929, upon arriving in the more untainted island of Bali for the very first time, he found exactly what he was looking for and more. The present lot one of the artist’s Bali-inspired works that capture Balinese women in tune with their natural milieu, history, and lineage.

11. Romanée Conti, DRC from the distinguished cellar of a pioneering collector|estimate: HK$380,000-500,000

Wines from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, also known as DRC, are sought-after Burgundies and hailed as the highest-quality Burgundy. Its grand cru vineyards are meticulously cared for, the grapes sorted individually.

Last October, two bottles of the 1945 vintage Romanée-Conti were sold at Sotheby’s New York for US$496,000 and $558,000, becoming the world most expensive wines ever sold at auction.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sales 2019

Asia travelling exhibitions:
4 - 22 Septembers | Shanghai, Beijing, Jakarta, Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei
Preview & auction:
3 - 8 October|Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre