On October 16, Chinese contemporary works played a starring role at a charity auction held by influential collector Myriam Ullens during Frieze week in London, showing a growing participation by Chinese artists in global philanthropic efforts.
The auction, held in conjunction with Sotheby’s to benefit Ullens’ Mimi Foundation, saw a portrait by Yan Pei-Ming of HRH The Prince of Wales go for its top lot of the night, selling for £302,500. The portrait was the first ever painting of The Prince of Wales by a Chinese artist. Meanwhile, Zhan Wang’s Artificial Rock #146 achieved a price of £164,500, and additional works by Chinese contemporary artists Liu Wei, Zhan Wang, Liu Xiaodong, Qiu Zhijie, Rong Rong, and Yang Shaobin will be sold in support of the charity at Sotheby’s Contemporary Day Sale on October 18.
It’s no surprise that Chinese contemporary art played such a huge role in the auction, as Guy and Myriam Ullens have long been passionate supporters of the development of art in China. In 2007, they opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, which organizes exhibitions, supports projects, and strives to connect the Chinese and international art scenes. Recently, the Zeng Fanzhi painting The Last Supper, entrusted by the Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation, sold for a record $23.3 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.
Works of art for the charity sale were donated by the artists, a form of philanthropy that is uncommon yet growing in China. For Christie’s first Shanghai auction held this September, renowned Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang donated a piece entitled Homeland, which was created in a live show with gunpowder the night before and sold for $2.4 million.