30 years after the first sale in 1986, Christie’s Hong Kong Spring auctions realised yet another solid season of sales, with key international works offered such as the 15th C Imperial Ming blue and white “Dragon” Jar, the 5.03 ct. Aurora Green diamond, and the Himalaya Birkin bag; all realising exceptional prices. The auctions at Christie‟s between 27 May and 1 June welcomed new and long-standing buyers across price levels, styles, media and periods. Further strengthening its position in Asia, Christie’s Hong Kong Spring sale season realised a combined total of HK$2,818,565,713/US$364,618,004, solid results that reinforce the sale site as a well-established art centre alongside London and New York. This season Christie’s also offered the first dedicated online sale of Chinese painting, with 45% of the works achieving prices above their high estimate.
François Curiel joined Christie’s as an intern in 1969. Now the Chairman of Asia-Pacific, he describes the company’s incredible growth in the region as Christie’s celebrates a landmark anniversary
Specialist Sara Mao discusses her passion, and picks out highlights from the Hong Kong Spring auctions, 29-31 May
Chi Fan Tsang, Head of the Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Department at Christie’s Hong Kong, discusses highlights from the Spring 2016 sales, and explains where her passion comes from
Ahead of the sale of 30 works from his collection in the Christie’s Hong Kong Spring 2016 auctions, Johnson Chang discusses his pioneering approach to collecting early Chinese Contemporary Art
Specialist Tim Tiptree introduces Finest & Rarest Wines: Direct from Great Estates, a special Hong Kong auction in which over 80 of the world’s leading wine estates offer legendary vintages and unique experiences, including private tastings, cellar tours and overnight stays
The jewellery designer takes us inside his Hong Kong studio and discusses his efforts to express himself through his art, his debt to Michelangelo and his invention of the signature Wallace Cut
Lynn Fung, Director of the Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong, discusses growing up surrounded by superb furniture pieces and the museum established by her father, Peter Fung, which focuses on design, craftsmanship and heritage
The entrepreneur, art collector and leading light in Hong Kong’s creative community discusses how he works with the best people to ‘push the envelope’ and ‘educate the audience’
Anyone for crispy fish skin and chicken’s feet with champagne? The Head of Wine at Christie’s Asia hosts an unexpected wine and food pairing in a backstreet Hong Kong eatery
Highlights from the Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art sales — 28-30 May — taking place during Christie’s Hong Kong Spring Auctions
30 years of Christie’s in Asia
‘My love for Chinese Modern Paintings deepens the more I get to know’
What a specialist looks for in Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Johnson Chang: The Breaking Dawn
5 of the greatest wine experiences money can buy
The tastemaker: Wallace Chan
The tastemaker: Lynn Fung
The tastemaker: Alan Lo
The tastemaker: Simon Tam
Iconic art of our times
China’s leading contemporary artist discusses his career, his creative process and Three Black Songs: Melancholy, offered on 28 May
Florence Waters takes a closer look at the extraordinary life and career of the woman behind the dots
7 reasons why this magnificent 15th-century guan is exciting collectors
We meet the men behind a unique project — and a watch that is 'as much about the future as it is about the past’
About the lot
Fine and rare wine with limited production is always sought-after by the market. As a top Italian rarity made from 100% Merlot, Masseto is full of red fruit notes and well balanced with sweet soft tannins. This vertical collection comes direct from the estate in pristine condition and with impeccable provenance, and offers the successful bidder the chance to enjoy a flight of 2006 to 2011 vintages. The buyer will also get to invite five of his or her friend to enjoy a private lunch at the estate.
Burgundy winemaker Henri Jayer was a genuine legend who made pure and unforgettable wines. Échézeaux is one of the best Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy, a region that is still influenced by Jayer’s winemaking philosophy. This lot presents the opportunity to taste a truly great wine made by a truly great winemaker.
Vieille Ville marks Zao Wou-Ki’s departure from his exploratory period of work in the early 1950s. From here, Zao embarked on a new visual language, discarding concrete forms in the pursuit of pure abstraction. The work gestures toward powerful emotions, and expresses the traditional concept that poetry, calligraphy, and painting come from the same origin. A rare masterpiece from the most transformative stage in the artist’s career, Vieille Ville uses these poetic and calligraphic elements to form a striking visual composition.
In 1939, Xu Beihong held exhibits in Singapore to raise funds for war relief efforts in China. In November of the same year, Xu set off for India on the invitation of Tagore, the Indian scholar and winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. In March 1940, Xu decided to visit picturesque Darjeeling, working on his monumental painting The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains, while closely observing and capturing the beauty of the Himalayas.
An important example of the artist’s work during the Second Sino-Japanese War period, A Distant View of the Himalayas is Xu’s only surviving panoramic Himalayan scene, combining traditional Chinese landscape painting techniques with those of the Western tradition. Over the vastness of the mountains lies China, reflecting Xu’s love for his country and fervent desire for peace.
When Zeng Fanzhi painted Meat No. 3: Nativity, he cast away the techniques of academic realism. Through his decisively executed brushwork and sharp delineation, the picture is infused with a sense of perpetual motion. His treatment of colours is equally bold. Black, white, and grey clash starkly with the naked and fleshy human bodies. Transitional cool colours are entirely absent here, giving way for the dramatic palette to confront the viewer both visually and psychologically. This treatment of human bodies reminds the viewers of the visceral suffering depicted in the artist’s Hospital Triptych (1992). One must also take note of the figures’ disproportionally large hands: veins and joints are prominently rendered in order to heighten the sense of tension, anxiety and pain, a characteristic visual device that Zeng continues employ, as seen in his Mask series.
Ronald Ventura explores his signature multi-layered hyperrealism with Pausok, an early manifestation of what became his Penitents and Prostitutes series. It represents a figure who during the Spanish Semana Santa (Holy Week) joins a procession with other penitents, faces covered, publicly flagellating themselves in physical atonement for their sins. On top of the masked figure is Ventura’s iconic cloud form, a tumult of classical figures drawn from images representing the fall of man and other damned souls. These seem to emanate from the lightning-like crown of thorns atop the penitent’s head, perhaps representing the chaos that ensues in the constant battle with one’s personal demons, and the choice between right and wrong, good and evil.
Executed in 1951, Shozo Shimamoto’s Work is one of the radical experiments from his ‘Holes’ series, which began in 1950. Exceptionally rare, Work precedes the establishment of the avant-garde Gutai group that Shimamoto co-founded in 1954.
Always a pioneer, Shimamoto abandoned the norms of his predecessors and created his own artistic rubric, tapping into a previously unexplored aesthetic.
Inspired by the accidental rips and tears in the glued newspapers he used instead of canvas during post-war austerity, Shimamoto employed irregular tears and rips in the series to create a complex play of light and shadow across the surface of the canvas. In Work, the artist has created a visual passageway; a hole through which one can traverse the wall. Through Shimamoto’s destruction of the two-dimensional surface, Work takes on sculptural qualities – its irregular lines and rough texture highlighting the juxtaposition between destruction and beauty, echoing the wabi-sabi aesthetic of traditional Japanese culture.
Work is a significant milestone in Shimamoto’s artistic development, and forms part of the same 1954 collection shown at the Tate Modern, London. From ‘Work’, Shimamoto discovered the beauty within chaos and violence, and further extended this concept in his groundbreaking 1956 Bottle Crash performance piece.
Departing from the age-old Chinese tradition in colour and composition, Yuan Jai’s work depicts a world brimming with fanciful imagination. She once said that ‘heavy colours are the colours of our time. We see on the street neon lights and the contrasting colours of shop signs, and these bright colours should appear in contemporary ink works.’ In Shower of Heavenly Blossoms, Yuan uses beautiful hues of blue, red, yellow and gold to conjure up a phantasmal image of flowers showering from the sky, reflecting a sense of playfulness and childlike innocence.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Christie’s Hong Kong, the watch team has assembled a carefully curated selection of traditional and cutting edge timepieces. The sale celebrates tradition and heritage, as illustrated by the repertoire of complications from Patek Philippe, while also celebrating the spirit of innovation, as seen in the technological advances and designs of independent watchmakers such as Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey.
Listening to the Waterfall by Shen Zhou (1427-1509), one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty, is among my favourite Classical Chinese paintings. It was acquired by a Japanese collector in 1896, and was subsequently published in a catalogue in 1911. In 1944, the Shanghai-based artist Tao Lengyue (1895-1985) painted a landscape similar to that by Shen Zhou. Perhaps he came across the catalogue or had the opportunity to view the scroll in person — we don’t know for sure. It is an honour to offer such a great work that inspired a conversation between two artists 500 years apart.
Jadeite symbolizes certain qualities of nobleness such as purity and wisdom. It plays a special role both in Chinese traditional culture and modern days. This season, jadeites continue to play a special role and our specialist has carefully selected a jadeite cabochon and diamond brooch of remarkable size, exceptional polish and brilliance as one of the main highlights.
Collectors can’t miss the pair of Burmese ruby and diamond earrings set with two superb ‘pigeon’s blood’ rubies of 10.02 and 9.09 carats, it appears internally illuminated. The market has seen a diminishing number of Burmese ruby which made this pair of earrings exceptionally rare.
I first came across Ding Yanyong’s ‘One Stroke’ series during his solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 2008. At the time, I was only familiar with his opera figures. I found his one stroke animals fascinating — in one, continuous brushstroke, the artist is able to relay the form and spirit of the animal, beginning at the tail and depicting the body and eye of the fish with a simplicity and grace that seem effortless.
Originally acquired at the Paris Faubourg St Honoré boutique by an important collector, this extremely rare iridescent, metallic crocodile handbag is not only the most important Macpherson — named after supermodel Elle Macpherson — but arguably one of the finest Hermès pieces ever produced. As a specialist in this field, it is very exciting to find a handbag unlike any I have seen before, and for those who know the styles, materials, colours and finishes used by Hermès, this Macpherson really stands out.
This beautiful brushpot with its unusual combination of faux bois and grisaille decoration is an example of the most innovative designs that developed during the early 18th century. The faux bois enamel on the rims and interior was designed to visually tease, leading the viewer to perceive it as a wood brushpot rather than porcelain. Black enamels were used to depict a panoramic landscape on the exterior, which offers different perspectives as the brushpot turns in a manner that is reminiscent of rolling out a literati handscroll painting.
This beautifully potted candle stand in the form of an elephant represents one of the rarest and most magnificent examples of early white wares. The modelling of this elephant is particularly naturalistic with a prominent hump on the forehead, wrinkled ears, and clearly defined muscles on the legs, the modelling of this adult Indian elephant is particularly naturalistic. The elephant is standing on a lotus plinth and six candle holders are set on six lotus blooms growing from the jar. The Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Sutra says the six tusks of Samantabhadra’s white elephant represent six pāramitās, which may also explain the number of candle sockets on the elephant’s back. The iconography of white elephant and lotus on this candle stand indicates that they it was possibly made for use in Buddhist rituals, particularly during the Buddha’s birthday celebration. The exceptional workmanship seen on this candle stand was only made possible in the late 6th century when high-fired white stoneware was invented in Northern China, which was an important innovation in Chinese ceramic history.
Claude Monet, L’Ancienne Rue de la Chausée. Estimate upon request
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
26-30 May, 10am – 6pm
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
London, King Street
22 June 2016
+852 2978 6787
Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Lot and his Daughters. Estimate on request
Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale
London, King Street
7 July 2016
+44 (0) 207 389 2086
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Autograph music manuscript, BWV 998. Estimate: £1,500,000–2,500,000
Valuable Books & Manuscripts
London, King Street
13 July 2016
+44 (0) 20 7389 2255
Henry Moore, Two Heads: Mother and Child, 1923. Estimate:£600,000–800,000
Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale
London, King Street
20 June 2016
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid). Head of a boy in a cap, looking up to the left, his left hand to his cheek. Estimate: £200,000–300,000
Old Master Drawings
London, King Street
5 July 2016
+44 (0) 207 389 2272
Magnificent boxes including examples by Nicolas Delions, Antoine-Alexis Fontaine and Jean-Georges Remond. Estimates range from £2,000 to £150,000
Magnificent Gold Boxes from a Private Collection
London, King Street
7 July 2016
+44 (0)20 7389 2650
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875), A meadow in summer, Ville d’Avray. Estimate: £120,000 - £180,000
19th Century European Art
London, King Street
12 July 2016
+44 (0) 207 389 2453
Christie's Art Forum presents special events and seminars throughout the year to enrich our visitors' experience of art. As the leading international auction house, Christie's is dedicated to providing collectors and art enthusiasts with the opportunity and knowledge to enjoy art, navigate the market and share in the passion of building magnificent collections.
Christie’s Education Hong Kong will offer two exciting courses, Japanese and Korean Contemporary Art from 1945 and Chinese Painting from Early 20th Century from 26-29 May.