Records continue to fall in Hong Kong – this time for art

Click to follow

There seems to be no stopping the Hong Kong spending spree this week.

Just days after a Hongkonger paid a world record price for a bottle of wine, two records in the art world have been broken as well.

One cashed-up collector on Tuesday paid HK$500,000 (44,000 euros) for a piece of calligraphy by the one-time street sleeper Tsang Tsou-choi - the most ever paid for a piece by the iconic artist who was known in Hong Kong as the "King of Kowloon''.

Not to be outdone, the very next day someone splashed out HK$17,222,000 (1.5 million euros) on "The Importance of Elsewhere -The Kingdom of Heaven'' from British artist Damien Hirst's Butterfly Series - the most ever paid for a piece of the controversial artist's work in Asia.

A representative from Sotheby's, holders of the first auction, said the fact that people in Hong Kong were willing to pay more for local art in recent times had in turn stimulated international interest in the art market here.

These have been good times for the people at Sotheby's - and their clients - after they had announced at the weekend that they had sold a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1982 Imperial for a world record of HK$726,000 (64,000 euros) during a wine auction.

And Misung Shim, who manages Seoul Auction's affairs in the city, said the Hirst sale on Wednesday had proven that the city was fast developing as one of the most important art sales "hubs'' in the world. Seoul's one-day auction had realized HK$53.1 million (4.6 million euros) in total, she reported.

"Since Seoul Auction became the first auction house to offer Western masterpieces in Hong Kong in its debut sale in October 2008, interest and awareness in Western contemporary art has grown significantly in Hong Kong and among collectors from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia,'' Ms Shim said in announcing the auction results. "We have confidence in the market and are expanding our business in Asia.''