Sotheby's in record $447 mln Asian art auction
Monday 11 April 2011
Sotheby's said Saturday it sold a record HK$3.49 billion ($447 million) worth of Asian and Chinese art, fine wines, watches and jewels at its eight-day Hong Kong auction.
The auction house offered 3,600 lots in eight categories in what its Asia CEO Kevin Ching described as the "most successful Hong Kong sale series in its history", surpassing the HK$3.09 raised at its autumn sale last year.
Hong Kong has become the world's third largest auction hub after New York and London, thanks to the rising political and economic prowess of China, with mainland millionaires regularly among top bidders.
"Remarkably, virtually every day saw records broken," Ching said in a statement.
The record results came despite a disappointing response to a much-anticipated sale of imperial Chinese porcelain on Thursday, with many prized lots unsold.
The sale of the Meiyintang Collection - 77 pieces of porcelain collected over half a century by a European collector - had been expected to be the highlight of the week.
Pre-sale estimates were between HK$710 million and HK$1.07 billion ($91-137 million) but the collection fetched about HK$399 million when the hammer fell.
The priciest item on offer among the Chinese ceramics was a Qing dynasty Falangcai vase decorated with golden pheasants dating back to the 18th century.
It failed to make its reserve of HK$180 million but was later sold privately for HK$200 million.
The second-most expensive lot, a blue-and-white Chenghua palace bowl, likewise went unsold but was then sold privately for HK$90 million.
"While we saw guarded bidding during (Thursday's) auction of the Meiyintang Collection, the two top lots were sold immediately after the auction, bringing us very close to our pre-sale low estimate," Ching said.
The marathon auction also set a new record for contemporary Chinese art when a triptych by Zhang Xiaogang was sold to an anonymous bidder for HK$79 million on Sunday, more than double the top estimate.
Forever Lasting Love, painted for an exhibition in 1988, was described in the catalogue as "the first creative pinnacle of Zhang Xiaogang's illustrious career".
It was the highlight of a sale of 105 works from the collection of Baron Guy Ullens, a Belgian foodstuffs magnate and longstanding Chinese art collector whose father and uncle were both diplomats at Belgium's embassy in the country.
Works by several other artists also set records, with Zhang Peili's "Series 'X?' No.3" going for HK$23 million, more than nine times its top estimate, also to an anonymous buyer.
Chinese art prices have rocketed in recent years, fuelled by the country's economic boom and its growing numbers of super-rich.
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is what the one in ten British men who pay for sex need to know
- 2 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Angelina Jolie confuses everyone with 'ay up me duck' East Midland's greeting to Derby actor Jack O'Connell at awards show
Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being an 'inappropriate hermaphrodite'
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie confirmed to enter jungle
Drawn Blank: Bob Dylan exhibition showcases the musician's bold and vibrant paintings
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Coalition government has 'shifted money from poorest to better-off' through welfare cuts and tax reductions, study claims