Unveiling a Century of Asian Art History, Christie's Hong Kong Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art Spring Auctions

Hong Kong

Hong Kong – Christie’s will hold its Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art sales on 28 and 29 May in Hong Kong, offering more than 490 works of art totalling over HK$400 million/US$51 million. Presenting 100 years of Asian art history from classic masterpieces by renowned early 20th century artists to iconic works by contemporary masters through a wide array of painting styles, the exhibitions will allow collectors a deeper look into Eastern and Western artistic values.

Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)

Saturday, 28 May, 7pm

Saleroom 1, Convention Hall, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

The world centre of 20th century art has been in Paris or New York, and now all eyes fall on Asia. Christie’s has chosen Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art as the title for the evening sale, highlighting the distinct aesthetic practices and traditions of Asian art that have continued into the modern and contemporary era. Through the diverse aspects of Asian art and demonstrating how Eastern aesthetics have evolved through increased engagement with the West and global art forms, Christie’s hopes to enable a better understanding of Asian art and its place in global art history.  

The evening sale will mark the first time that works by Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, one of the greatest 20th century Japanese painters from the School of Paris and well-known to both collectors of Impressionist and Modern Art and Japanese Art, are auctioned in Hong Kong. Foujita is widely known as one of the first Japanese artists to enter the Western painting market. Christie’s is excited to offer three of his iconic works in the Evening sale. Two of the paintings feature loving portraits of the Virgin Mary. Painted in 1962, they reflect Foujita’s Catholic faith following his conversion in 1959. They perfectly demonstrate an Asian artist’s adoption of Western religious imagery which he handles with the delicacy of Japanese ink tradition, and he infuses it with his own distinct vision. 

Chinese 20th Century Art (Day Sale)

Sunday, 29 May, 10.30am

Saleroom 1, Convention Hall, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Chinese 20th Century Art (Day Sale)  features works by major masters from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and is divided into three themes, portraiture, landscape, and abstraction. One of the highlights is Christ, Remorse, a masterpiece by Lin Fengmian, a Chinese painter from the first-generation of artists who studied in France. In this painting depicting Jesus’ death, Lin has placed all expressive emphasis on the Virgin Mary’s sorrow and suffering, a development from the traditional compositional arrangement, reflecting the artist’s own psychological reinterpretation of the narrative.

Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

Sunday, 29 May, 2.30pm

Saleroom 1, Convention Hall, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale) is notable for the diversity of Asian contemporary art, showcasing a variety of subjects, media, techniques and expressions. Mao Xuhui’s Patriarch Series (image below) uses a high-backed chair as a formidable and oppressive symbol for Chinese society’s reverence towards and fear of the patriarchal status quo. Li Songsong’s works are exemplified by their complex textures. As with his monumental Khmer Rouge, Li penetrates historical episodes with layers of analysis, revealing the obscured story via purposeful divisions of surface images. In Peach Blossom & Green Dog, Zhou Chunya deliberately inflates the size of the green dog and peach blossoms, challenging our visual senses with potent colour contrasts and mismatched proportions. This canvas, encompassing all three major symbols of his past series – the human figure, the green dog and peach blossoms – is probably one of his proudest and finest works. Liu Ye’s inspirations originate from the universe of Hans Christian Andersen whose books he read as a child. Liu wants to revisit Andersen’s worldview, reinterpreting his innocent but often haunting stories as parallels for modern life. Replacing traditional media with gunpowder, one of China’s four greatest inventions, Cai Guo Qiang’s works have become mainstays of the contemporary art world, with his breath-taking and – literally – explosive fusion of Eastern philosophy and contemporary art. Suh Do-Ho questions the nature of national identity with his installation of an elegantly styled gown, woven completely with military dog tags.

More highlights from above sales please see the PDF version attached.

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Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

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Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

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