Christie’s Asian Contemporary Art Auction: Blue-Chip Artists Within Reach

Good Buys Remain Despite Enthusiasm Of Wealthy New Chinese Collectors

Following strong sales figures at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, Bonhams in London, and China Guardian in Beijing (where a painting by Zhang Daqian set a new record this week, selling for nearly US$15 million), many in the auction world are looking to the upcoming Christie’s Spring Auctions to validate recent ArtTactic and Artron projections that the Chinese art market would continue to tick upward in 2010.

Powered mostly by domestic Chinese collectors — who worry about rising inflation, fears of a possible real estate bubble, stock market volatility and yuan revaluation — historical antiquities from popular Chinese historical eras (mostly Tang, Ming, and early Qing) and blue-chip modern and contemporary Chinese art is selling for healthy prices at international and Chinese auction houses. While aggregate prices remain lower than their pre-financial-crisis peak, after strong interest from collectors at autumn 2009 and spring 2010 auctions, 69% of ArtTactic survey respondents said they expect prices to continue going up in 2010 and reach 2007 levels within the next two years.

For less experienced collectors who want to dip in to Chinese contemporary art — or who can’t compete with “super-collectors” for multi-million dollar works by Liu Ye or Zeng Fanzhi — is it too late to get in the game? Definitely not. From the upcoming Christie’s day sale of Asian Contemporary Art (taking place in Hong Kong on Sunday, May 30), here is Jing Daily’s list of “Blue-Chip Artists Within Reach.” (Click images for full size.)

1. Zeng Fanzhi: “Untitled (Reclining Figure)” [edition 32/65] (2008)

Silkscreen print
Lot: 1798
Size: 38 3/4″ x 46 1/4″
Estimate: HK$50,000-80,000 (US$6,400-10,300)

Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi

2. Cai Guo-Qiang: “Book on Military Strategy” (1998)

Gunpowder on paper, with original wooden box
Lot: 1504
Size: 13 3/4″ x 815 1/4″
Estimate: HK$220,200-320,000 (US$28,200-41,000)

Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang

3. Ye Yongqing: “Bird” (2007)

Acrylic on canvas
Lot: 1550
Size: 33 1/4″ x 34 5/8″
Estimate: HK$90,000-120,000 (US$11,500-15,400)

Ye Yongqing

Ye Yongqing

4. Sui Jianguo: “Legacy Mantle (From Soft Sculpture Series)” (1998)

Painted rubber sculpture
Lot: 1589
Size: 15 1/2″ x 12 1/4″ x 8″
Estimate: HK$150,000-250,000 (US$19,200-32,100)

Sui Jianguo

Sui Jianguo

5. Yue Minjun: “Smiles Make the World Go Round” [edition 38/45] (2008)

Silkscreen print
Lot: 1799
Size: 45″ x 38″
Estimate: HK$50,000-80,000 (US$6,400-10,300)

Yue Minjun

Yue Minjun

6. Cang Xin: “Communication Series No. 4 – Temple of Heaven” (2002)

Chromogenic print
Lot: 1596
Size: 48 3/4″ x 48 3/4″
Estimate: HK$25,000-35,000 (US$3,200-4,500)

Cang Xin

Cang Xin

7. Liu Wei: “Rock N’ Roll on the Long March”

Ink on paper
Lot: 1653
Size: 13″ x 9 1/2″
Estimate: HK$80,000-120,000 (US$10,300-15,400)

Liu Wei

Liu Wei

8. Gu Wenda: “The Mythos of Lost Dynasties – H34” (2005)

Ink on paper, mounted on paper
Lot: 1606
Size: 36 5/8″ x 23″
Estimate: HK$120,000-180,000 (US$15,400-23,100)

Gu Wenda

Gu Wenda

9. Hai Bo: “Bridge (Diptych)” [edition: 9/18] (1999)

Two chromogenic prints
Lot: 1610
Size (each): 15 1/8″ x 23″
Estimate: HK$60,000-80,000 (US$7,700-10,300)

Hai Bo

Hai Bo

10. Yin Xiuzhen: “Shoes” [edition: 5/12] (1998)

Set of 10 chromogenic prints
Lot: 1611
Size: 15 7/8″ x 23 3/4″ (10)
Estimate: HK$100,000-150,000 (US$12,800-19,200)

Yin Xiuzhen

Yin Xiuzhen

11. Zhang Xiaogang: “Bloodline: Big Family” [edition 54/58] (2006)

Lithograph print
Lot: 1797
Size: 41 1/2″ x 55″
Estimate: HK$50,000-80,000 (US$6,400-10,300)

Zhang Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaogang

12. Zhang Dali: “Demolition” [edition 8/10] (2001)

Chromogenic print
Lot: 1657
Size: 38″ x 30″
Estimate: HK$20,000-30,000 (US$2,600-3,800)

Zhang Dali

Zhang Dali

13. Liu Ye: “Thumbelina” (2005)

Watercolor, pencil on paper
Lot: 1684
Size: 30″ x 21 7/8″
Estimate: HK$120,000-160,000 (US$15,400-20,500)

Liu Ye

Liu Ye

14. Zeng Fanzhi: “Study for Mask Series 1999” (1999)

Pen and Color pencil on paper
Lot: 1500
Size: 8 5/8″ x 11″
Estimate: HK$100,000-150,000 (US$12,800-19,200)

Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi

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Art & Auction, Culture