SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG AUTUMN 2007 SALE OF CHINESE CONTEMPORARY ART FAR EXCEEDS HIGH ESTIMATE Sotheby’s Hong Kong Contemporary Chinese Art sale today realised HK$330,070,246 (US$42,542,754), achieving the new record for a sale of Chinese Contemporary Art.
record for the artist at auction and selling to rapturous applause. The work was competed for by two bidders, one in the saleroom and one on the telephone, who drove the final price paid to HK$20,487,500 (US$2,640,634), setting a new record for the artist and almost doubling the previous record for the artist set by Sotheby’s New York in September 2007. The sum paid represents the second highest price paid in today’s sale. The painting, which was executed in the unusual medium of gunpowder on paper and is made up of five pieces, is monumental in size measuring approximately 3 by 20 metres, and reflects and records an explosion event held in 1993 at Jiayuguan where the Great Wall ends.
Four works by the artist Xu Bing (b. 1955) also far exceeded expectations in today’s auction. His work New English Calligraphy – Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse Tung, Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art by Mao Tse Tung, sold far HK$3,487,500 (US$449,504), setting a record for the artist at auction, until moments later when it was broken by the sale price achieved for his Silkworm Series – The Foolish Old Man Who Tried to Remove the Mountain. Two bidders competed for the work for almost four minutes until it finally sold for HK$5,255,500 (US$677,381), exceeding the previous record for the artist by over HK$2 million (established at Sotheby’s New York in March 2007).
A further record was also achieved for the artist Yu Chen when his Red Babies Series (Set of Two) sold for HK$307,500 (US$39,634), five times the pre-sale high estimate for the work. Bidding for the work lasted approximately five minutes.
Works by Zhang Xiaogang (B. 1958) – one of the most significant and best-known artists working in China today – also performed well, with three works by the artist appearing in the top ten. The highest price paid for a work by Zhang Xiaogang in today’s sale was for his oil on canvas Big Family, dated 2001, which sold for HK$12,647,500 (US$1,630,136).
Notes to Editor:
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium
In 2007 Sotheby’s worldwide total for dedicated sales of Contemporary Asian Art was US$133,779,527; this compares with a total in 2006 of US$70,331,730, establishing Sotheby’s as the global leader in this category. Sotheby’s regularly holds dedicated sales of Contemporary Asian Art twice each year in both New York and Hong Kong and also offers lots in evening and day sales of Contemporary Art in both New York and London. Sotheby’s began holding sales of Chinese Contemporary Art in Hong Kong in fall 2004 in response to a dramatic increase in client demand for such works, and sales volume and totals have grown steadily since then. In spring 2006, Sotheby’s was the first to hold dedicated auctions of Contemporary Asian Art in New York in a watershed sale that broke at least 20 artist records. Sotheby’s Hong Kong was the first international auction house to hold dedicated sales of contemporary Chinese art, with its