Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale Nets HK$700m

Sotheby’s realized a sale total of HK$710m at its Modern and Contemporary Evening Sale, kicking off its fall sales in Hong Kong with an awe-inspiring prelude. More than 15 lots were sold for prices above HK$10m, which boosted the average price per lot to a staggering price of HK$10m (with buyer's premium).The sell-through rate reached 93%, an encouraging performance that further bolstered Sotheby’s confidence.

The bidding atmosphere warmed up with the appearance of lot no.4, Hsiao Chin’s Dancing Lights 17. Created by Taiwanese artist Hsiao Chin, this flamboyant picture was estimated at HK$600,000 – 1m. The bidding started at HK$450,000 and soon drew the attention from multiple phone bidders. The lot was hammered down at HK$4.9m and sold for HK$5.98m with buyer’s premium, setting a new record for this celebrated pioneer of modern abstract art in Taiwan.

The first climax came at lot no.16, 09.01.63 by Zao Wou-ki (1921-2013), a master of postwar abstraction.  The bidding started at HK$38m and followed by 18 bid increments in over 6 minutes. Carrying an estimate of HK$50m-70m, the painting was hammered down at HK$66m and sold for HK$76m with buyer’s premium.

Coming after Zao Wou-ki’s 09.01.63 was Yun Gee (1906-1963)’s Wheels: Industrial New York, estimated at HK$80m – 120m. Starting from HK$65m, the bidding soon soared to HK$80m after an intense bidding war. The painting was hammered down at HK$92m, bought by a client of Patti Wong (The one with her hand raised on the above image), Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.

China’s modern art scene emerged as a part of three inter-related trends, including emigration to the United States, which commenced before later emigration trends towards Japan and France. This glorious chapter was first penned by Yun Gee. He created this painting for the reopening of Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York and this large-scale painting was sold for the HK$105m with buyer’s premium, making him one of the 100-million-worth artists.

When everyone was still trying to catch a breath after two stifling bidding wars, another notable painting showed up. Sanyu (1901-1966)’s Léopard began at HK$38m and was hammered down for HK$69m after nearly five minutes. The painting was sold for HK$79.4m and the buyer was a client, again, by Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia. The crowd cheered for the remarkable performance by a round of applause.

Abstraktes Bild (679-2)


Born 1989 in Beijing

The bidding atmosphere was exhilarating throughout the whole sale, at which some works still fetched high prices when the sale coming to an end. Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild (679-2) hammered down at HK$42m; Kusama Yayoi’s Untitled hammered down at HK$36m; Liu Wei’s Born 1989 in Beijing hammered down at HK$18m.

Auction Summary

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Auction Date: 2017/9/30
Sale total: HK$710,227,500
No. of lots: 73
Sold: 68
Unsold: 5
Average price per lot: HK$10,444,522
Sell-through rate: 93%

(All prices realized have included buyers premium unless otherwise specified)