‘When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is’ — Pablo Picasso, 1954
Christie’s Hong Kong Chinese Painting sales this spring season achieved HK$782,284,000 (US$100,758,179) over the course of two days. The sale of Fine Chinese Classical Paintings & Calligraphy on the afternoon of May 28 realized in excess of HK$205,111,250 (US$26,418,329) making the sale the most valuable in the history of the category for Christie’s. The two sales on May 29, Fine Chinese Modern Paintings and Grandiose and Mysterious – Magnificent Paintings by Cui Ruzhou, achieved HK$577,172,750 (US$74,339,850) with an overall sold rate of 91% by lot and 93% by value.
Ben Kong, International Specialist Head of Christie’s Chinese Paintings Department, remarked, “The sales of Fine Chinese Modern Paintings this season marked a sold rate of 91% by lot and 93% by value. Among all the sold lots, 82% sold over the pre-sale estimate, 6 lots achieved in excess of HK$10,000,000 (US$1,288,000), 18 achieved in excess of HK$5,000,000 (US$644,000) and 109 achieved in excess of HK$1,000,000 (US$128,800). Zhang Daqian’s Separation, a striking ink and color on paper of great historical significance, had a starting bid of HK$18,000,000 (US$2,318,400). The masterpiece was sold for HK$34,260,000 (US$4,412,688) and assumed its place as leading lot of all of the combined Chinese Modern Painting sales this season. The works by other modern masters such as Xu Beihong, Qi Baishi, Lin Fengmian also sold for multiples over their pre-sale estimates.
The sale of The Grandiose and Mysterious – Magnificent Paintings by Cui Ruzhou realized HK$123,000,000 (US$15,842,400) with an overall sold rate of 93% by lot and 92% by value. 2 lots achieved in excess of HK$10,000,000 (US$1,288,000), 4 lots achieved in excess of HK$5,000,000 (US$644,000), and 26 lots achieved in excess of HK$1,000,000(US$128,800). The top lot Beautiful Spring was sold for HK$ 23,060,000 (US$2,970,128).
The three Chinese painting sales this season continued to incite bidding from a diverse group of collectors, further reflecting a pattern of sustained growth of the market for Chinese Paintings.”