Autumn 2019 auctions in Hong Kong total HK$2.6 billion

The series of 17 sales attracts buyers from 50 different countries and is led by Sanyu’s Five Nudes, which realises a record HK$303,985,000

The Christie’s annual Hong Kong autumn auctions (22-27 November) achieved a total of HK$2.6 billion / $337 million (including buyer’s premium), and saw artist records established for Asian and Western artists, including Sanyu, Kim Whan-Ki and Eddie Martinez

Almost 14,000 visitors came to see the extraordinary breadth of objects spanning 20th Century and Contemporary Asian Art, Chinese Paintings and Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, as well as jewels, handbags and wine. The series, which spanned five days and 17 live sales, drew bidders from 50 countries and a new generation of collectors, with over 20 per cent of buyers classified as ‘millennials’.

For full results, click on the sale pages below

‘Despite certain ongoing geopolitical challenges, we witnessed a confident market’ — Francis Belin, President Christie’s Asia Pacific

The top price of the season was achieved by Sanyu’s Five Nudes. The painting, which was described by Eric Chang, Deputy Chairman of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art at Christie’s in Hong Kong, ‘as one of the artist’s finest’, realised HK$303,985,000, setting a new auction record for the artist. 

Sanyu (Chang Yu, 1895-1966), Five Nudes, painted in 1950s. 120 x 172 cm (47¼ x 67¾ in). Sold for HK$303,985,000 on 23 November 2019 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

The autumn season opened with the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Auctions on 23 and 24 November, which achieved a combined total of HK$1,243,546,250 / $159,727,205, and a combined sell through rate of 84 per cent. 

The Evening Sale Series on 23 November realised HK$1,062,602,500/ $136,960,880, the highest ever total achieved at Christie’s Hong Kong, and saw auction records set for seven artists, including Sanyu, Kim Whan-Ki and Nicholas Party.

Kim Whan-Ki’s 05-IV-71 #200 (Universe) from 1971 soared above its high estimate to achieve HK$101,955,000, while Can’t Wait ’til the Night Comes  (2012) by Japanese contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara realised HK$92,875,000 in a stand-alone, single-lot auction of the same name.


Takashi Murakami (b. 1962); & Pharrell Williams (b. 1973), The Simple Things, executed in 2008-2009. Overall: 188 (H) x 110 x 101 cm (74 x 43¼ x 39¾ in). Sold for HK$21,725,000 on 23 November 2019 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

The brand new HI-LITE sale was sold 100 per cent by lot and value. It was led by The Simple Things, a unique sculpture created by Takashi Murakami in collaboration with rapper, songwriter and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams. The work, which had remained in the same private collection since its debut at Art Basel in 2009, fetched HK$21,725,000 in a sale that totalled HK$88,735,000.

Mai Trung Thu (1906-1980), Nu (Nude), 1970. Ink and gouache on silk in the original frame by the artist. 47 x 70 cm (18½ x 27½ in). Sold for HK$3,965,000 on 24 November 2019 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

The 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Series realised a combined total of HK$180,943,750. The Dr Tuan Pham Collection of Vietnamese art achieved exceptional results, with Nu (Nude)  by Mai Trung Thu selling for HK$3,965,000, more than five times its high estimate. Painted in 2000 by Chinese artist Liu Ye, Chorus  produced the top price of the Afternoon Session when it sold for HK$11,285,000

Leading the Chinese Contemporary Ink sale on 25 November was Zhang Lucheng’s Heavenly Horses, which fetched HK$2,125,000. Later that day, the Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy sale achieved HK$169,876,250. The top lot of the sale was a Collection of Poems  by Huang Daozhou (1585-1646), which sold for HK$42,935,000 — more than 20 times its high estimate. 

Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010), The Grand Canyon, 1989. 123.3 x 170 cm (48½ x 66⅞ in). Sold for HK$45,205,000 on 26 November 2019 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

The Fine Chinese Modern Paintings sale on 26 November totalled HK$155,237,500, led by Wu Guanzhong’s The Grand Canyon  (1989). This magnificent large-scale painting, which was exhibited in the British Museum’s groundbreaking 1992 exhibition Wu Guanzhong: A Twentieth-Century Chinese Painter, sold for HK$45,205,000, more than double its high estimate.

The last day of auctions on 27 November saw the culmination of five live sales of important Chinese Works of Art and Ceramics, which realised a combined total of HK$370,972,500.

Leading the series was a magnificent and extremely rare Qing-dynasty falangcai  bowl. Formerly in the collection of Robert Chang, a legendary figure in the world of Chinese porcelain, the vessel realised HK$87,200,000. Another standout work from the series was an exceptional blue and white Indian lotus ‘palace’ bowl from the Chenghua period (1465-1487), which sold for HK$13,325,000. 

Christie’s Online Magazine delivers our best features, videos, and auction news to your inbox every week

Among the many stand-out results of the season were a Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 in pink gold, which realised HK$70,175,000, becoming the most expensive wristwatch ever to be auctioned in Asia; and an exceptionally rare six-bottle case of Romanée-Conti Grand Cru 1999 burgundy, which fetched HK$937,500 in the Fine & Rare Wines and Spirits auction.


A rare, matte white Himalaya Niloticus crocodile retourné Kelly 25 with palladium hardware, Hermès, 2019. 25 w x 18 h x 9 d cm. Sold for HK$1,875,000 on 25 November 2019 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

Also in the luxury sales, a rare, matte white Himalaya Kelly 25 with palladium hardware realised HK$1,875,000 / $240,834, setting a new auction record for a non-diamond Himalaya Collection handbag; and an extraordinary jadeite and spinel necklace sold for HK$73,580,000.

‘We hosted a series of innovative and pioneering sales, which tapped the pulse of the market,’ said Francis Belin, President of Christie’s Asia Pacific, after the final auction. ‘It was once again encouraging to see the Hong Kong saleroom serve as a convening platform, and we look forward to building on this success by offering an even greater diversity of art in 2020.’

Related departments

Related lots

Related auctions

Related stories