Hong Kong’s Autumn Auctions Kicks Off with Exquisite Sanyu Nude and Quirky Six-Metre Tall Yoshitomo Nara Sculpture
Sanyu, Nu, 1965, oil on masonite, 122.5 x 135 cm. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
Yoshitomo Nara, Not Everything but / Green House, 2009, mixed Media Installation, 320 × 320 × 670 cm. Installation view of the inside showing Yoshitomo Nara, Untitled, 2009, acrylic on wood panel, 145.8 x 126.5 cm; and 575 ready-made plush toys. Image courtesy Poly Auction Hong Kong.
Georges Mathieu, Hommage à Watteau, 1974, oil on canvas, 150 x 500 cm. Image courtesy China Guardian (HK) Auctions.
As summer temperatures begin to ease and mooncake season passes, Sotheby’s, Poly Auction and China Guardian kicks off the Modern and Contemporary Art auctions this weekend from 5-7 October. Here are some of the highlights to keep an eye on.
TEXT: CoBo Editorial Force
IMAGES: Courtesy of Sotheby’s, Poly Auction and China Guardian
Sotheby’s leads the way opening the Autumn auction season in Hong Kong. Worthy to note is the high proportion of Western artists included in the sale—perhaps a sign of changing tastes and demand of collectors in Asia. New to the Asia auction market are paintings by American painters John Currin and Elizabeth Peyton, drawn from the private collection of Marc Jacobs, renowned designer and former creative director of Louis Vuitton.
Leading the way in the Modern Art Evening Sale with Zao Wou Ki’s 21.04.59 and an oil on masonite work titled Nu by Sanyu, who has been a rising star in the auction market in the past few years. Nu is one of the largest paintings of a female nude by the artist and was the final artwork created before his tragic accidental death in 1965. Sotheby’s is expecting the painting to fetch in excess of HKD 150,000,000. Arguably of equal importance in the canon of art history, 21.04.59 was painted in 1959, at the height of the artist’s career and is one of the most representative examples from his “Oracle Bone Period”. The oil on canvas has been given an estimate of HKD 75,000,000–100,000,000.
But fear not, Chinese art still has a strong presence. A highlight auction of the Contemporary Art sale this season is the private collection of Belgian collectors Baron and Baroness Gillion Crowet. The 30 pieces on offer presents a survey of Chinese contemporary art from the 1990s to present day with works by key artists such as Liu Ye, Zeng Fanzhi, Yue Minjun and Wang Guangyi, among others. One of the standout works includes Zhang Xiaogang’s Big Family No.16 (From the Bloodlines Series) from 1998, which has a high estimate of HKD 30,000,000.
Modern Art Evening Sale | Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Evening Sale Saturday, 5 October, 2019
6:30pm | 7:30pm
Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Day Sale | Modern Art | Moutarderie Nationale: The Gillion Crowet Collection | Contemporary Art Evening Sale Sunday, 6 October, 2019
9:30am | 2:30pm | 6:30pm | 7:00pm
Contemporary Art Monday, 7 October, 2019
Venue: HKCEC Hall 1
Poly Auction Hong Kong
Held at The St. Regis next door to the HKCEC, Poly Auction Hong Kong’s Modern and Contemporary Art sale has some solid contenders this season. Among the top lots are Liu Ye’s International Blue painted in 2006 which holds an estimate of HKD 22,000,000 to 32,000,000 and two mixed media installations created in 2009 by the much-loved Yoshitomo Nara. In his signature style, the works, titled Not Everything but / Green House and Not Everything but / Orange House is Nara’s fantasy world brought to life in the form of a fairy-tale cottage, complete with original drawings. The former even has 575 plush toys inside. Both pieces hold a high estimate of HKD 30,000,000 each.
Three paintings by the late Taiwanese artist Richard Lin will also be on offer dating from 1958 and 1959. The paintings—two Untitled and 24-OCT-59—were acquired by its current owner directly from the artist. The two untitled pieces have a high estimate of HKD 500,000 and HKD 600,000 while the standout 24-OCT-59 has an estimate of HKD 3,000,000–5,000,000.
For fans of Gutai, the sale will feature a small but dynamic painting sporting a bright yellow background by Kazuo Shiraga. Created in 1970, Auspicious Yellow epitomizes the artist’s period of using tools such as palette knives and has an estimate of HKD 500,000–700,000. With calmer aesthetics, the sale will also include Takesada Matsutani’s Work 65-K from 1965 which exemplifies the artist’s signature technique of applying vinyl glue to canvas, then controlling it with precision with the blow of his own breath along with the air of a blow dryer. Work 65-K is estimated at HKD 2,200,00–3,200,000.
Modern and Contemporary Art Sunday, 6 October, 2019
Venue: The St. Regis Hong Kong
Over at China Guardian, who are best known for their sales of Chinese ink and calligraphy, highlights of the Asian 20th Century and contemporary art sale include a five-metre long oil on canvas by Georges Mathieu titled Hommage à Watteau. Created in 1974, the painting holds an estimate of HKD 5,000,000–8,000,000. Other auction favourites are also present from Yoshitomo Nara to Walasse Ting, Wu Guangzhong, Yayoi Kusama, KAWS and more. Zao Wou Ki’s 24.01.73 from 1973 holds an estimate of HKD 15,000,000–20,000,000; while an ink and watercolour on paper by Chu Teh-Chun standing at 135cm tall has a high estimate of HKD 2,500,000. Titled Sans Titre, the work was painted in 2008. Moving away from abstraction, Pan Yuliang’s Lady Bathers at the Seashore holds a high estimate of HKD 15,000,000 while Liu Ye’s 1995 painting, Lost Balance—featuring three sailors who seem unperturbed by a ship sinking in the background—holds an estimate of HKD 5,500,000–7,500,000.
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art Monday, 7 October, 2019
Venue: HKCEC Hall 5BC