Preview: Christie’s 2018 autumn auctions in Shanghai

On 21 September Christie’s presents a series of auctions featuring standout works by the likes of Zao Wou-Ki, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara

On 21 September Christie’s presents an exciting tseries of cross-category sales in Shanghai. Each of the auctions in the series — Treasures of Chishui River — Kweichow Moutai, FIRST OPEN | Shanghai  and 20th Century & Contemporary Art — has been carefully curated, drawing on Christie’s international expertise and spirit of innovation.

In presenting Treasures of Chishui River, Christie’s becomes the first international auction house to debut a dedicated sale of Maotai (also known as Moutai). In China, this spirit has a rich history that spans thousands of years, while Kweichow Moutai, which boasts a complex flavour and unique taste, has a particular symbolic significance.

With a total of 178 lots (nearly 1,900 bottles) on offer, Christie’s seeks to raise Maotai’s international profile. Prior to the sale, Christie’s will host Maotai masterclasses and tasting dinners in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji, 1920-2013), 13.02.92, painted in 1992. 200 x 162  cm (78¾ x 63¾  in). Estimate CNY 16,000,000-26,000,000. This lot is offered in 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) on 21 September 2018 at Christie’s in Shanghai

Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji, 1920-2013), 13.02.92, painted in 1992. 200 x 162 cm (78¾ x 63¾ in). Estimate: CNY 16,000,000-26,000,000. This lot is offered in 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) on 21 September 2018 at Christie’s in Shanghai

Also on 21 September, the FIRST OPEN | Shanghai  sale brings together more than 80 works across a broad range of subjects, styles and mediums. Leading the sale is a group of abstract works by artists including Zao Wou-Ki and Wu Dayu

The sale also features a standout group of work by contemporary Chinese artists such as Yang Fudong, Wang Guangle and Xu Hualing. Key 20th-century Vietnamese artists are also represented, alongside world-renowned Japanese artists Yoshitomo Nara and Yayoi Kusama.

Yang Fudong (China, b. 1971), International Hotel No.6. 120 x 180  cm (47¼ x 70⅞  in). Estimate CNY 200,000-300,000. This lot is offered in FIRST OPEN  Shanghai on 21 September 2018 at Christie’s in Shanghai

Yang Fudong (China, b. 1971), International Hotel No.6. 120 x 180 cm (47¼ x 70⅞ in). Estimate: CNY 200,000-300,000. This lot is offered in FIRST OPEN | Shanghai on 21 September 2018 at Christie’s in Shanghai

Closing out the series is the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, with an exceptional range of work from across Asian 20th-century and contemporary art, Chinese contemporary ink, Impressionist and modern, and post-war and contemporary art. Thirty-four works from some of the world’s best-loved artists have been carefully selected for the auction, including pieces by Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, Zeng Fanzhi, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.

The sale highlight is Zao Wou-Ki’s 13.02.92, a large-scale, mature piece from 1992. This dream-like work is a testament to Zao’s lifelong dedication to the pursuit of artistic transcendence, and his mastery of both Chinese and Western artistic traditions.

Andy Warhol (America, 1928-1987), Flowers, painted in 1978. 55.9 x 55.9  cm (22 x 22  in). Estimate CNY 9,500,000-12,000,000. This lot is offered in 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) on 21 September 2018 at Christie’s in Shanghai

Andy Warhol (America, 1928-1987), Flowers, painted in 1978. 55.9 x 55.9 cm (22 x 22 in). Estimate: CNY 9,500,000-12,000,000. This lot is offered in 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) on 21 September 2018 at Christie’s in Shanghai

Also this season, selected highlights from Christie’s international sales will tour to Shanghai for viewing. The Old Masters department will bring two key works by Gustave Courbet, Chasseur dans la neige and Femme endormie aux cheveux roux, an important work from his controversial nude paintings of the 1860s. Both masterpieces will be offered in New York on 31 October. 

Other Old Masters on view in Shanghai this season, offered in London on 6 December and in private sales, respectively, are Anthony van Dyck’s Portrait of Princess Mary, Daughter of King Charles I of England, Full-length, in a Pink Satin Dress, and Osias Beert’s Flowers in a German Tigerware Vase, with Butterflies and Shells, on a Ledge.

The Post-War & Contemporary Art department will show three Kazuo Shiraga works, T19, T39 and Tou, each of which will be offered in Paris in sales between October and December.

Notably, Albert Einstein’s famous ‘God Letter’ will also be on view in Shanghai this autumn. With an estimate of $1,000,000-1,500,000, the letter is considered Einstein’s most fully articulated expression of his religious and philosophical views. Written in 1954, one year before his death, it fuses Einstein’s thoughts on religion, his Jewish identity, and his search for meaning in life.