Jay Chou x Sotheby’s Evening Sale Rakes in HK$846 Million, Raises HK$2.6 Million for Make-A-Wish

Jay Chou x Sotheby’s auction preview in partnership with K11 Group. Installation view at K11 ATELIER. Image courtesy of K11 MUSEA.
Auction saleroom with Sotheby’s auctioneer Ian McGinlay at the rostrum and the evening’s top lot, Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Jay Chou’s The Invincible 1 World Tour Costume (2016–17) designed by Tomas Chan. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.
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Asia Society Hong Kong

Headlined by a HK$289 million Basquiat, JAY CHOU x SOTHEBY’S Evening Sale held on 18 June achieves white glove sale and HK$846 million while sale proceeds from three costumes worn by the Mandopop star raises HK2.6 million for charity.

 

TEXT: Denise Tsui
IMAGES: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Last evening, my Friday night entertainment consisted of watching the livestream of the much-anticipated JAY CHOU x SOTHEBY’S Evening Sale. Having really just come out the other end of spring marquee season in Hong Kong, not to mention Art Basel Hong Kong, barely a month ago, I was highly curious could there still be such thirst (and deep pockets) needing to be quenched again so soon?

The 46-lot sale (excluding one lot withdrawn pre-sale) achieved a 100% sell-through rate by lot, bringing in HK$845,984,600 (US$108,954,360) including premium, well exceeding it’s pre-sale low estimate. With Sotheby’s auctioneer Ian McGinlay at the rostrum, the white glove sale kicked off at 7.30pm Hong Kong time with frenetic energy. The first five lots all saw rapid-fire fierce bidding for rising international names including Loie Hollowell whose 2018 work Linked Lingrams (yellow, green, blue, purple, pink) achieved for HK$16,510,000 (US$2,126,320), more than three times its high estimate of HK$5,000,000. Reaching ten times its low estimate, Jamian Juliano-Villani’s Heat Wave (2013) sold for HK$3,150,000 (US$405,690) while Emily Mae Smith’s Fool Pavilion (2015) achieved HK$3,402,000, more than eight times its high estimate.

 

Jay Chou x Sotheby’s auction preview in partnership with K11 Group. Installation view at K11 ATELIER. Image courtesy of K11 MUSEA.
Auction saleroom with Sotheby’s auctioneer Ian McGinlay at the rostrum and the evening’s top lot, Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

The Evening Sale was sprinkled with ultra-contemporary names such as Korean art collective a’strict who made auction debut, and many usual suspects from  heavyweights such as Yoshitomo Nara to modern masters including Zao Wou-Ki and Pablo Picasso. A highlight of the sale was three sets of costumes worn by Chou—two designed by renowned Hong Kong stylist Tomas Chan, and one by Moschino Creative Director Jeremy Scott—during his seventh world tour “The Invincible”. The three lots brought in a combined HK$2,630,000 in proceeds, which will be donated to Make-A-Wish International.

Four lots were put on the auction block secured with irrevocable bids (in short, a guarantee that ensures the lot will sell). Of the four, only Avery Singer’s 2017 acrylic painting Boots managed to exceed its high estimate selling for HK$10,460,000, while two others comfortably sold within estimate range, but of course, by value these lots also held a significantly heftier tag. Runaway Nurse (2005–06) by Richard Prince, one of the premium lots of the evening, achieved HK$93,986,000 (US$12,104,460). Another premium lot, Frank Stella’s 1978 Untitled (Double Concentric Square) fetched HK$42,281,000 (US$5,445,370) and set an auction record for the artist in Asia.

The headliner and top lot of the night, and the fourth lot with an irrevocable bid, was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (1985). Executed with acrylic and oil stick on wood, the triptych was featured behind the artist on the cover of The New York Times Magazine at the pinnacle of the artist’s career. At the auction preview at K11 ATELIER, held in partnership with Adrian Cheng’s K11 Group, the work stood with immense pride of place, and included two chairs recreating the set design of the 1985 cover. After a slow start to bidding, Untitled realised HK$289,316,000 (US$37,261,000), hammering at HK$250,000,000, just short of its HK$255,000,000 pre-sale low estimate, to a phone bidder with Nicholas Chow, Sotheby’s Asia chairman. While no records were smashed, such a price still affirms the continuing Basquiat fever raging through salesrooms and places the work as the eighth most expensive work of art by the artist to be sold at auction.

 

Jay Chou’s The Invincible 1 World Tour Costume (2016–17) designed by Tomas Chan. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

The pace of the sale rose and dropped in waves over the course of the sale, which became seemingly sluggish at times, and neatly concluded after two hours. There were perhaps more silent auction room moments than I expected, although not uncommon outside of marquee sales, which leaves me wondering was it the hype driven around a Jay Chou-curated sale that led to higher-than-usual hopes? Or is it that recent salesroom fatigue just hadn’t yet worn off from last month? Although the saleroom didn’t match the energy of the preview, without doubt Jay Chou x Sotheby’s was fun, bringing two worlds together that, for those of us whose formative years were spent fangirling (or fanboying) over the Mandopop star, triggered giddy teenage excitement, and reflects the dynamism, attraction and trajectory of the Asian art market.

 

*Unless otherwise stated, all prices listed include buyer’s premium

 

Contemporary Curated: Asia JAY CHOU x SOTHEBY’s Day Sale
Online,
until 22 June 2021

 

 
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