Event Watch: Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction Series (Oct. 5-9)

Regional Collectors Continue To Buy Up Top-Quality Works By Blue-Chip Chinese Artists

Zhang Xiaogang, "Tiananmen No.1" (1993), Est. HK$15 – 25 million / US$1.9 – 3.2 million

With fall just around the corner, Hong Kong is set to heat up again with Sotheby’s Autumn Auction series, taking place from October 5-9. Packed with rare works from some of China’s top artists, the series is expected to test whether collectors are ready to again push sales far above high estimates. Following this spring’s sales in Hong Kong — the Contemporary Asian Art sale of which netted HK$211 million (US$27 million), led by Zhang Xiaogang’s “Bloodline: Big Family No. 2” (1993), which sold to a Shanghai private museum for HK$52.2 million (US$6.7 million) — all eyes are fixated on these sales to see whether the appetite for multi-million-dollar acquisitions has dampened at all among China’s new generation of collectors. Considering many of the factors motivating these collectors in the first place — asset diversification amid uncertainty about the yuan and Chinese stock and property markets among them — remain salient, we should see some records broken.

Of course, it won’t just be contemporary, modern and traditional Chinese art up for auction at the five-day sale series. Sotheby’s will also offer Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Fine Chinese Paintings, Contemporary Asian Art, 20th Century Chinese Art, Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings, Jewelry, Watches and Wines. In the run-up to the series, Sotheby’s will take a selection of highlights on a traveling Asian exhibition from the end of August through September. Stops include Jakarta (August 31-September 1), Shanghai (September 1-2), Chengdu (September 7-8), Singapore (September 15-16), Bangkok (September 18-19), and Taipei (September 22-23). Following the tour, all items up for auction will be shown to the public at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 5-8.

9.08-Carat Pigeon’s Blood Burmese Ruby & Diamond Ring, Cartier. Est: HK$28-38m / US$3.6-4.9m

As Kevin Ching, Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s Asia, said this week, the auction series — stocked with the artists, antiquities and wines most popular among regional collectors — should hit the right notes. Said Ching, “We are especially privileged to offer an exquisite hanging scroll painting, Double Lotus for the Yongzheng Emperor, executed during the Yongzheng period between 1723 and 1735, by the renowned Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione. A celebrated official painter to the Qing Imperial court, Castiglione’s works rarely appear on the market. We are also delighted to offer significant works of impeccable provenance by prominent Chinese artists across several generations – from Zhang Daqian to Sanyu and Zhang Xiaogang, among others.”

Wine-wise, Sotheby’s appears right on trend with what Hong Kong, mainland China and southeast Asian collectors are buying right now, with the auction series heavy on big names like Château Pétrus, Domaine de la Romanée Conti, and Henri Jayer. Also smartly picking up on more recent trends, the “The Classic Cellar From A Great American Collector (Part X)” auction on October 5 includes Louis Roederer Cristal, Dom Pérignon and Californian wines.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction Series (Oct. 5-9)
Hall 3, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (New Wing)
1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong


Art & Design, Hard Luxury, Market Analysis, Retail