Christie's annual Hong Kong spring auctions, which spanned six days and 18 sales, saw a strong appetite for masterpieces across art, ceramics, wine, watches, jewellery and handbags, with the week's total realising HK$3.11 billion / $399 million.
‘The strong results bear testament to the depth of our global client base,’ said Rebecca Wei, President of Christie's Asia. ‘The market responded enthusiastically to our innovative curation, which saw the highest-ever evening sale total in our history as we surpassed HK$1 billion in sales and introduced our most ambitious offering of Western art to date.’
On 26 May the Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale and a further evening sale, Contemporaries: Voices from East and West, achieved a record-breaking combined total of HK$1,040,390,000 / $133,229,798. Among the top lots was Zao Wou-Ki’s 14.12.59, which realised HK$176,725,000 / US$22,630,971, more than double its high estimate.
Another sale standout, Untitled (Orange Sports Figure), painted by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1982, achieved HK$73,225,000 / $9,377,014, highlighting a continued interest for blue-chip American contemporary art among Asian clients.
The Asian 20th Century Art Day Sale on 27 May totalled HK$127,618,750 / $16,342,545, which was led by another of Zao Wou-Ki’s works, 04.03.63, which realised HK$7,900,000 / $1,001,655. The Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale, also on 27 May, saw sales amounting to HK$69,483,750 / $8,897,919, with the star lot being Yayoi Kusama’s sculpture Pumpkins, which achieved HK$7,060,000 / US$904,086.
A further series of auctions of Chinese Paintings achieved a total of HK$524,446,250 / $67,159,303 across three sales: Chinese Contemporary Ink, Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy and Fine Chinese Modern Paintings, as well as the curated online sale Exquisite Eye: Chinese Paintings. The top lot of the four sales was Zhang Daqian’s atmospheric ink painting Viewing the Waterfall, which realised HK$64,225,000 / $8,224,496.
Additional highlights included Shen Zhou’s Planting Bamboo, which realised HK$16,900,000 / $2,164,173, and Correspondences to Mr Hu Shifang by Zhou Zuoren, which achieved HK$5,980,000 / US$765,784 — a world auction record price for the artist.
The Fine & Rare Wines spring auctions saw collections from the cellars of the historic Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé and Masseto estates sell 100 per cent by lot and value across two days of sales, which totalled HK$21,078,575 / $2,699,271 and HK$24,244,588 / $3,104,703 respectively. The top lot of the auctions, three bottles of Henri Jayer, Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux from 1985, realised HK$588,000 / $75,298.
‘We demonstrated our market leadership with the impressive sale of an extensive library release of Masseto and premier preview Masseto 2015 in various formats,’ said Simon Tam, Christie’s Head of Wine in Asia. ‘The collection of Château Lafleur and other Guinaudeau family estate wines also performed exceedingly well, which further proves our strength in presenting the very best vintage wines to connoisseurs in Asia.’
The Magnificent Jewels auction totalled HK$562,968,750 / $72,092,401. The top price was achieved by a fancy 8.01 carat vivid blue diamond pendant necklace by Moussaieff, which fetched HK$159,850,000 / $20,470,000 — equivalent to more than $2,500,000 per carat. The Handbags & Accessories sale totalled HK$43,170,000 / $5,529,388, led by a matte black Hermès Niloticus Crocodile So Black Birkin 30 with black hardware, which realised HK$1,375,000 / $176,116, while the Important Watches sale totalled HK$115,131,250 / $14,743,426.
One of the most exciting moments of the week came on the last day of auctions, with the sale of a particularly rare and fine doucai and famille rose Anbaxian vase, or tianqiuping, commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor.
Offered from the Philbrook Museum of Art, the exceptional piece achieved HK$130,600,000 / $16,727,776, against an estimate of HK$70-90 million / $9-11 million, in a dedicated one-lot auction.