Sotheby’s HK Contemporary Asian Art Auction (Oct. 7): Top Lots To Watch

For Serious Collectors, Blue-Chip Chinese Artists The Way To Go

Blue-chip artists like Zeng Fanzhi have shown resilience among new Chinese collectors

On October 7, Sotheby’s is set to hold its much-anticipated Contemporary Asian Art auction in Hong Kong, following up its successful Spring Auction series in Hong Kong, during which blue-chip Chinese contemporary art pushed totals for that segment to HK$211 million (US$27.2 million) — the second highest total for a various-owner sale of contemporary Asian art. With the attention of the global art auction world firmly on the Greater China market at the moment, observers are eager to see whether economic turbulence has dampened collector enthusiasm or if the fundamental motivations of this buyer class (hedging against inflation, amassing portable assets, diversifying away from cash, rising connoisseurship) remain intact.

As with other recent auctions, however, the success of Sotheby’s Contemporary Asian Art auction will likely hinge on supply rather than demand. As François Curiel, president of Christie’s Asia, told the New York Times this summer, the comparatively lackluster performance of the Asian art market in the first half of 2012 vis-a-vis the US and Europe, indicates that Chinese collectors haven’t stopped buying art and antiques. Rather, they’re simply looking further afield for quality artwork and antiques as a growing number of collectors hang on to the top-quality works they’ve accumulated over the past several years. Luckily (for Sotheby’s), the October 7 auction appears sufficiently stocked with a selection of works by blue-chip, historical artists that — if the last several auction seasons are any indication — remain highly prized among new Chinese collectors and global collectors alike. Among the standouts that we expect to be hotly contested among Chinese collectors are Zhang Xiaogang’s “Tiananmen No. 1,” Zeng Fanzhi’s “Fire,” and Yang Shaobin’s “Red No. 2.”

With all this in mind, here are Jing Daily’s top lots to watch at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Asian Art Auction in Hong Kong on October 7:

Liu Wei — “Revolutionary Family Series – Invitation to Dinner” (1992)
Lot: 818
Oil on canvas
Size: 183 by 163 cm.; 72 by 64 1/8 in.
Estimate: HK$12 million-15 million (US$1.5 million-1.9 million)

Liu Wei

Liu Wei — “Who Am I?” (1999)
Lot: 819
Oil on canvas
Size: 150 by 130.1 cm.; 59 by 51 1/4 in.
Estimate: HK$3 million-4 million (US$386,991-515,988)

Liu Wei

Zeng Fanzhi — “Fire” (2007)
Lot: 821
Oil on canvas
Size: 214.6 by 329.5 cm.; 84 1/2 by 129 3/4 in.
Estimate: HK$7 million-9 million (US$902,972-1.2 million)

Zeng Fanzhi

Zhang Xiaogang — “Tiananmen No. 1”
Lot: 838
Oil on canvas
Size: 98.6 by 128 cm.; 38 7/8 by 50 3/8 in.
Estimate: HK$15 million-25 million (US$1.9 million-3.2 million)

Zhang Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaogang — “Red Baby”
Lot: 900
Oil on canvas
Size: 100.3 by 80 cm.; 39 1/2 by 31 1/2 in.
Estimate: HK$3.2 million-4 million (US$412,787-515,988)

Zhang Xiaogang

Fang Lijun — “2001.1.6 ” (2001)
Lot: 869
Woodblock print
Size: 243.8 by 121.9 cm. 96 by 48 in.
Estimate: HK$200,000-300,000 (US$25,799-38,699)

Fang Lijun

Yue Minjun — “Chinese Lanterns (Diptych)” (1992)
Lot: 881
Oil on canvas
Size: each – 115.5 by 40 cm.; 45 1/2 by 15 3/4 in.; overall: 115.5 by 80 cm.; 45 1/2 by 31 1/2 in.
Estimate: HK$2.5 million-3.5 million (US$322,493-451,490)

Yue Minjun

Yue Minjun — “Hat” (2005)
Lot: 883
Oil on canvas
Size: 80 by 80 cm.; 31 1/2 by 31 1/2 in.
Estimate: HK$1.5 million-2 million (US$193,496-257,992)

Yue Minjun

Yang Shaobin — “Red No. 2” (2000)
Lot: 907
Oil on canvas
Size: 230 by 178 cm.; 90 1/2 by 70 in.
Estimate: HK$1 million-1.5 million (US$128,997-193,494)

Yang Shaobin

Li Shan — “Rouge Series: Lotus” (1989)
Lot: 912
Acrylic on canvas
Size: 120 by 149.5 cm.; 47 1/4 by 58 7/8 in.
Estimate: HK$1.2 million-1.8 million (US$154,795-232,195)

Li Shan


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