Every May, Christie’s in Hong Kong draws collectors and art lovers from across the world for its spring sales season. Among the key categories on offer this year are 20th-century and contemporary art, Chinese classical and modern paintings, and Chinese ceramics and works of art. In the luxury arena, there will be dedicated auctions of magnificent jewels, important watches, fine and rare wines, handbags and accessories.
Leading the Hong Kong spring auctions is a monumental oil painting across three canvases by Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2013). As one of only 20 large-scale triptychs Zao Wou-Ki completed, Triptyque (1987-88) is one of the most important paintings by the artist ever to come to auction.
Offered in the 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 25 May alongside important works by Zhou Chunya, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara, Triptyque pays homage to both Monet and Matisse, and illustrates the artist’s fusion of both Eastern and Western art traditions.
Works by 16 boundary-breaking artists born between 1969 and 1989 — including He Xiangyu, Jia Aili and Ronald Ventura — will be offered on 25 May in a brand new evening sale. The ICONOCLAST auction will feature works created during a period of dramatic technological and socio-political change, by artists who have defied convention.
A further highlight of the Hong Kong spring season is Li Keran’s (1907-1989) Army Crossing the Yangtzee River (1964), which is offered in Fine Chinese Modern Paintings on 28 May. This painting is Li’s interpretation of Chairman Mao Zedong’s poem, People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Occupation of Nanjing, and is the largest and most comprehensive known composition on this theme.
Sign up today
Christie's Online Magazine delivers our best features, videos, and auction news to your inbox every week
Further highlights in this category include an expressive ink-splashed landscape entitled Lake of Five Pavilions by China’s most popular artist, Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), and Portrait of Du Fu, a hanging scroll dating to 1964 by innovative Chinese painter Fu Baoshi (1904-1965).
Leading the Chinese Contemporary Ink auction on 27 May is Liu Kuo-Sung’s Eclipse, executed in 2005. In this work, the artist depicts the seven phases of a total solar eclipse and the landmasses and oceans of Earth with broad, calligraphic brushstrokes.
Highlights from the Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale on 29 May include an extremely rare blue and white ‘fruit and flower spray’ vase, dating to circa 1723-1735; and an important Ming-dynasty huanghuali altar table on stand, most likely commissioned for use in temples.
Also coming to auction on 29 May is a monumental Qing-dynasty, imperial gilt-lacquered figure of the Medicine Buddha, probably made in northeast China sometime during the 18th century. This huge golden figure greeted customers at Gump’s luxury department store in San Francisco for decades.
An extraordinary limited-edition 18k pink gold and orange sapphire-set watch signed Jacob & Co. is offered in Important Watches on 27 May; a superb Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch and bubble gum pink diamond ring by Moussaieff are both offered in Magnificent Jewels on 28 May; and an exceptional matte white Himalaya niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware is among the many highlights in the Handbags & Accessories auction on 29 May.
And last but not least, on 25 May a superb selection of Scotch and Japanese whiskies will be offered for the first time in Hong Kong in Finest & Rarest Wines and Spirits Featuring Prestigious Collections & Exceptional Whisky. Cheers.