Auction To Watch: 20th Century Chinese Art Autumn Sale At Sotheby’s HK (October 4)

More Than 120 Lots Up For Grabs, Estimated At HK$130 Million (US$16.8 Million)

Artists like Zao Wou-Ki have proven exceptionally popular with new Chinese collectors from the mainland (Image: Zao's 5.3.71-28.11.74 (est. HK$9 - 15 million))

Artists like Zao Wou-Ki have proven exceptionally popular with new Chinese collectors from the mainland (Image: Zao's 5.3.71-28.11.74 (est. HK$9 - 15 million))

With confidence in Chinese art rising quickly, expect to see enthusiastic bidding by mainland Chinese collectors at the upcoming Sotheby’s autumn auction of 20th century Chinese art, taking place October 4 in Hong Kong. Featuring works by 20th century Chinese artists like Zao Wou-Ki, Wu Guanzhong and Chu Teh-Chun who are particularly favored by mainland collectors, this year’s autumn auction includes more than 120 lots, estimated to bring in around HK$130 million (US$16.8 million).

Regular auction watchers may remember that Sotheby’s HK pulled in an impressive HK$109 million (US$14 million) at last year’s autumn auction of 20th century Chinese art, with the dominance of mainland Chinese bidders provoking one observer to remark, “the Chinese are out in force…it’s hard to outbid them.”

Part of the reason this year’s 2oth century Chinese art auction is expected to outdo 2009 is the greater inclusion of great masters. As Sylvie Chen, Head of Sotheby’s 20th-Century Chinese Art Department, said, “In the selection of artworks for the upcoming sale, significant emphasis has been placed on the accomplishments of the artist in the broader context of modern Chinese art history, rather than on commercial considerations.

“In light of this”, Chen added, “we are proud to present the magnificent works of the genre’s great masters – Zao Wou-ki, Chu Teh-chun, Wu Guanzhong and Chao Chung-hsiang – all hailing from the cradle of modern Chinese art, the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou.”

Some of the marquee works up for auction on October 4:

Zao Wou-Ki: 18-10-60 (oil on canvas, est. HK$12 – 18 million, US$1.5 million – 2.3 million)

The painting, executed in 1960, has been kept in a private collection in the United States for a number of decades, by a collector who is a close friend of Zao Wou-ki. It is a rare occasion indeed that the work is only now being introduced to the art market for the first time.

Zao Wou-ki’s 18-10-60, est. HK$12 - 18 million

Zao Wou-ki’s 18-10-60, est. HK$12 - 18 million

Chu Teh-Chun: No. 19 (est. HK$5 – 6 million, US$644,000 – 772,000)

Measuring 128 X 79.5cm, this composition is one of the largest ever by Chu from his early days as a student in Paris (1955-1959) and is, therefore, very rare.

Chu Teh-Chun's No. 19 (est. HK$5 – 6 million)

Chu Teh-Chun's No. 19 (est. HK$5 – 6 million)

Wu Guanzhong: A Mountain Village in the North (est. HK$ 5 – 7 million, US$644,000 – 901,000)

This masterpiece by the recently departed Wu — a revered figure in mainland China as well as Hong Kong — has not been seen on the art market in more than a decade.

Wu Guanzhong's A Mountain Village in the North (est. HK$ 5 - 7 million)

Wu Guanzhong's A Mountain Village in the North (est. HK$ 5 - 7 million)

Wang Huaiqing: Chair and Chair (est. HK$ 8 – 12 million, US$1 million – 1.5 million)

Set against a stark, monochrome background, the overlapping structures of classical furniture suggest the passage of time and vestiges of ages past that seemingly linger; this work is Wang Huaiqing’s deep contemplation on traditional Chinese culture and the collective wisdom of its lineage.

Wang Huaiqing's Chair and Chair (est. HK$ 8 – 12 million)

Wang Huaiqing's Chair and Chair (est. HK$ 8 – 12 million)

Sanyu: Pink Nude on Floral Sheet (est. HK$12 – 18 million, US$1.5 million – 2.3 million)

Employing his customary clean brushstrokes and condensed colours, the artist covertly projects his feelings of pleasure. The depiction of flowers on a sheet, which appears to be an Oriental-style composition, hints at the nostalgia he feels for his hometown.

Sanyu's Pink Nude on Floral Sheet (est. HK$12 – 18 million)

Sanyu's Pink Nude on Floral Sheet (est. HK$12 – 18 million)

Categories

Art & Auction, Culture