The highest ever sale total for 20th and 21st Century art at Christie’s Asia

Spring auction series achieved HK$1.98bn / US$256.7 million

This historic season for 20th and 21st Century Art in Asia was defined by the achievement of the highest ever sale total for the category in the region, and saw exceptional results realised for magnificent masterpieces by artists across different categories and geographies, and the setting of 26 new artist world auction records. The five auctions combined realised a staggering total of HK$1.98 billion / US$256.7 million, and an outstanding 96% sell-through rate by lot.

Leading this season’s sales was the iconic masterpiece by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (One-Eyed Man or Xerox Face), which sold for HK$234 million / US$30million, making it the second most valuable Western artwork to ever be auctioned in Asia, just behind Basquiat’s Warrior, which was also sold by Christie’s Hong Kong just this March. In association with HomeArt, a special exhibition of 11 iconic Basquiat masterpieces was held at our Spring Auction preview, the first time in two decades that a group of his works was exhibited in Asia, and along with the fantastic sale results achieved, firmly establish Christie’s as the foremost leader in the market for this legendary artist.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (1960-1988), Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face). acrylic, spray paint, oilstick and Xerox collage on panel. 182.9 x 121.9 cm. (72 x 48 in.). Painted in 1982. New Price Benchmark Set For Jean-Michel Basquiat In Asia. Sold for HK$234,290,000 on 24 May 2021 at 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale

The Evening Sale achieved its highest ever total at Christie’s Asia to date of HK$1.59 billion / HK$205.14 million, led by Sanyu, Picasso, and Zao Wou-Ki masterpieces in addition to Basquiat’s spectacular work, while three lots sold over HK$100 million.

Contemporary masterpieces by Adrian Ghenie, Avery Singer, and Mark Bradford well exceeded their low estimates, with Singer’s work selling for over three times the low estimate.

Pieces by emerging Contemporary artists such as Amoako Boafo, Loie Hollowell, Robert Nava, Shara Hughes, and Daniel Richter all sold for multiples times their low estimates, as did those by Yayoi Kusama, Matthew Wong, and Zeng Fanzhi. Impressive results were also seen for works by other Asian Contemporary artists including Yoshitomo Nara and Liu Ye.

PABLO PICASSO (1881 - 1973), Nu couché à la libellule. oil on canvas. 97 x 162 cm. (38 1/8 x 63 3/4 in.). Painted on 9 October 1968. Sold for HK$62,540,000 on 24 May 2021 at 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale

Western Impressionist and Modern highlights includes top lots by Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Bernard Buffet, and Henry Moore. For the Impressionist and Modern category, Christie’s had a clear edge over our closest competitor in average price realised against the total low estimate.

ZAO WOU-KI (ZHAO WUJI, 1920-2013), 24.01.63. oil on canvas. 115 x 88 cm. (45 1/4 x 34 5/8 in.). Painted in 1963. Sold for HK$76,280,000 on 24 May 2021 at 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale

Southeast Asian artists such as Ronald Ventura, Christine Ay Tjoe, Georgette Chen, Le Pho, Natee Utarit, and Mai Trung Thu also performed particularly well, with most of their works selling for multiple times their low estimates.

The Day Sales continued this season’s record-breaking streak with a combined total of HK$392.5 million / US$50.53 million, the highest ever Day Sale total for the category in Asia and well ahead of our two closest competitors.

In addition, Mr Doodle: Caravan Chaos, which rounded off our Day Sales, was a white glove sale which delivered a sale total of HK$5.67 million.

GEORGE CONDO (B. 1957), Multicolored Portrait. acrylic, charcoal and pastel on linen. 128.3 x 108 cm. (50 1/2 x 42 1/2 in.). Painted in 2014. Sold for HK$22,450,000 on 25 May 2021 at 20th and 21st Century Art Afternoon Sale

MAI TRUNG THU (1906-1980), L’Aube Nouvelle (New Dawn). ink and gouache on silk in the original artist's frame. 94 x 36 cm. (37 x 14 1/8 in.). Painted in 1974. Sold for HK$4,000,000 on 25 May 2021 at 20th and 21st Century Art Morning Sale

Our 20th and 21st Century Art auctions this May commanded worldwide interest and participation, with bidding from over 34 countries and 1.85 million livestream viewers in total across eight different platforms for the entire auction series. The outstanding results achieved this season testify to Christie’s continued status as the preeminent leader in auctions of the finest and most sought-after 20th and 21st Century Art.  

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