HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sales 2008 will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 4th to 8th October 2008. The sales include Chinese and Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art, Chinese classical paintings and works of art, jewellery and watches. This year too, as a new addition to the Hong Kong series of sales, Sotheby’s Hong Kong will host the Modern and Contemporary Asian Evening Sale for the first time. Overall, over 1,500 lots with an estimated value of approximately HK$2 billion/ US$256 million will be on offer, and selected highlights will be showcased during travelling exhibitions in Asia and New York in September, followed by a public exhibition in Hong Kong on the 3rd and the 4th October 2008.
Mr. Kevin Ching, Chief Executive Officer, Sotheby’s Asia, said, “Our Autumn 2008 auctions at Sotheby’s Hong Kong are again expected to surpass the extraordinary achievements of our previous sale results this Spring and last year. We will – once again – be offering eclectic works of art of exceptional provenance and the most remarkable masterpieces of the highest quality, demonstrating Sotheby’s dominance in the market, a strength which draws upon our expertise and connoisseurship.”
He continued, “Deserving special mention are the Qianlong Imperial Seals from the Estate of Emile Guimet, as well as the Dayue Tu, the Qianlong Emperor’s Review of the Grand Parade, which ranks among the most ambitious and impressive works of Imperial propaganda ever produced. Furthermore, I am delighted to announce that, apart from our day sales of outstanding modern and contemporary Chinese art, we will be holding an Evening Sale of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, featuring exquisite works from China, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. Now the world’s third largest and Asia’s largest marketplace for trading art, Hong Kong joins New York and London as the only locations where Sotheby’s holds Evening Sales of top calibre contemporary art. This is a move which reflects the increasing importance of Hong Kong in the global art market.”
Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Evening Sale 4th October, 2008
For the first time ever, Sotheby's will present an Evening Sale of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art in Hong Kong, the world’s third largest market after New York and London in terms of art traded at auction. Carefully curated by Sotheby’s global team of specialists, the Evening Sale will feature approximately 45 seminal works of art by prominent artists from China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia from private collections. Discerning collectors will be offered an opportunity to acquire works of extraordinary quality - many fresh to the market - in this sale with a total low estimate of approximately HK$180 million.
Highlights of the sale include:
Zeng Fanzhi’s (b. 1964) After the Long March Andy Warhol Arrived in China dated 2005; est. HK$20–30 million.
Yoshitomo Nara’s (b.1959) Northern Light dated 2000; est. HK$1.9-2.7 million.
Liao Jichun’s (1902-1976) Ancient Castle in Spain dated 1965; est. HK$18-25 million.
Affandi’s (1907-1990) Times Square, New York; est. HK$1.6–2.2 million.
Nam June Paik’s (1932 – 2006) Big Shoulder; est. HK$3.5–4.5 million.
Contemporary Chinese Art 5th October, 2008
The Contemporary Chinese Art Sale will offer over 180 lots estimated in excess of HK$85 million. The highlights include Mask Series (2000) by Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964; est. HK$8–12 million), Untitled (1990) by Yue Minjun (b. 1962; est. HK$6–8 million), Children’s Meeting Series (2000) by Tang Zhigang (b.1959; est. HK$2.5–3.5 million), and Amnesia and Memory Series (2006) by Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958; est.HK$6–8 million).
20th Century Chinese Art 5th October, 2008 Sotheby's has been offering 20th Century Chinese Art (formerly titled Modern Chinese Art) for years. Reflecting the increasing importance of this category, Sotheby’s now establishes the 20th Century Chinese Art Department, independent from the Contemporary Chinese Art department. The inaugural sale, part of Sotheby's Hong Kong Autumn Sales 2008, offers nearly 130 lots from the turn of the 20th century through to the post-Cultural Revolution period in the early 1980s. The works are expected to achieve in excess of HK$170 million.
Maobitou Cape (The Sound of the Waves) (est. HK$18-25 million) by Chen Chengbo (1895-1947) executed in 1939, was selected for inclusion in the 2nd Taiwan Governor Exhibition in 1939, organised by Japanese officials. This painting’s structure is simple, the content strong, evoking the sound of waves splashing against rocks on a sunny seashore, while a man focuses on fishing. The painting depicts loneliness, but eschews a narrative approach; rather it’s an emotional outburst, reflecting Chen’s feelings at that time.
Meanwhile, in Taiwan, artists such as Ju Ming (b. 1938) followed a completely different style of art: the Nativist movement of the 1970’s. Ju Ming uses modern materials such as iron, sculpting it into traditional Tai Chi designs to represent the Chinese spirit - while successfully combining Chinese and Western artistic styles. Single Whip (est. HK$5-7 million) is by far his most popular sculpture. This 1.8-metre iron work will be the centerpiece of the forthcoming auction.
Fine Chinese Paintings 6th October, 2008 The Fine Chinese Paintings Autumn Sale offers more than 240 lots estimated at approximately HK$90 million, and brings to the market extraordinary works of art by various important masters of Chinese painting. Zhang Daqian’s series of paintings and Wu Guanzhong’s charitable commission will be centrepieces of the sale.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong is honoured to be commissioned by Wu Guanzhong to auction his own magnificent Along the Yangtze River (estimate upon request) - an extremely rare and important handscroll. Measuring 5.3 metres long and executed by the artist in 1990, this noble piece collages the classic and majestic sceneries along the Yangtze River; from Three Gorges, Lushan, Huangshan, Lake Tai to Shanghai. The first public appearance of this masterpiece promises to bring intense bidding. At Wu’s request, all auction proceeds will go to the Wu Guanzhong Scholarship, an initiative that supports scientific and artistic innovation at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where Wu first began his teaching career nearly sixty years ago.
An important series of paintings by Zhang Daqian is also offered on the 110th anniversary of the artist’s birth. The highlight of the collection is The Leaping Ape (est. HK$4–6 million), an ink and colour painting on hanging scroll executed in 1959. The work was in the artist’s possession until 1964, and was later given to his grandson Zhang Ni, who kept the piece intact in its wooden box with the original Dafentang matting bearing the artist’s inscription. The painting is one of Zhang Daqian’s major works of the past 50 years, and has been showcased at a number of large-scale retrospective exhibitions held by acclaimed museums in Europe, USA and Asia.
Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings 6th October, 2008 Following the striking success of the Spring sale, the Autumn sale will continue to introduce the works of exceptional quality from diverse traditions across Southeast Asia. The sale comprises more than 150 lots with an estimated total value in excess of HK$32 million.
The Man From Bantul (The Final Round) by Indonesia artist I Nyoman Masriadi (b. 1973) (est. HK$1 –1.5 million) is an impressive 2.5 m x 4.5 m triptych, one of the few large format paintings (and even fewer triptychs) by the artist. It is arguably one of Masriadi’s best works, conveying the idea that fighting spirit is the most precious weapon, and that glory does not lie in winning but rather in the stamina to fight. The work was executed in 2000 in Masriadi’s seminal mature style; as the artist has revealed, 2000 was the year that defined his career. This work has featured in a number of landmark exhibitions, including Common Grounds: A Glimpse of Indonesian Contemporary Art held by the Yayasan Seni Rupa Indonesia (Indonesian Fine Art Foundation), at the Indonesian National Gallery in April 2007.
Other notable pieces which capture the essence of modern Southeast Asian art include
Heimkehrende Javaner (Javanese Returning Home) by German artist Walter Spies (1895 – 1942) (est. HK$5.5–7.5 million), an oil on canvas work rarely executed by the artist. This unusual painting by the artist depicts five solemn figures walking across the foreground, expressing the natural dignity and beauty that Spies was so struck by. The artist made a cryptic reference to this work in a letter to his brother Leo in June 1925, implying that he saw himself as the youth wearing the red shirt in the right corner. Another highlight is Four Dancers by Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès’ (1880 – 1958) (est. HK$3–4 million) depicting dancers in different positions and a woman weaving, set in a background of bougainvillea and trees. The work evokes a utopia of sunlight, beauty and silence.
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art 8th October, 2008
This autumn sales promises to be one of the most remarkable in recent years including approximately 320 lots estimated at HK$560 million.
Legacies of Imperial Power theme sale Qianlong Imperial Seals from the Estate of Emile Guimet Imperial seals crystallise the authority of an Emperor and legitimise his word. The massive seal carved out of a large, utterly flawless piece of white jade with two intertwined dragons - An Important and Superb Imperial White Jade 'Dragon' Seal (expected to fetch in excess of HK$50 million), is the masterpiece in the collection. The four characters on the face read Qianlong yubi, ‘in the Imperial hand of Qianlong’, and were impressed on monumental calligraphies of the Emperor to be hung in the palace halls of the Forbidden City. Another noteworthy seal A Massive Important Imperial Khotan – Green Jade 'Dragon' Seal (expected to fetch in excess of HK$20 million) is carved out of a massive piece of Khotan green jade with the characters Tian’en Baxun Zhibao, ‘Treasure of the Emperor who has attained the age of eighty’, and was carved to celebrate his eightieth birthday.
Two Exceptional Qianlong scrolls The Dayue Tu, Emperor Qianlong’s Review of the Grand Parade (expected to fetch in excess of HK$80 million), ranks among the most ambitious and impressive works of Imperial propaganda ever produced. In the 4th year of the Qianlong Emperor’s reign (1739), the Emperor chose to review his troops in Nanyuan (South Park) in a gigantic and minutely choreographed display of Imperial power, of which the massive scroll (68cm by 1,550cm) manages to capture. The four Dayue Tu handscrolls, only two are extant – the present scroll, the third of the series, and the second which remains in the Palace Museum Beijing.
The other scroll, An Outstanding Compilation of the Lanting Xu Imperial Collection of Documents Woven in Kesi, remains at more than 17-metre long, the largest and finest 18th century kesi (‘cut silk’ tapestry weave) extant and is expected to fetch in excess of HK$60 million. It is a testament to one of Emperor Qianlong’s most ambitious cultural enterprises – the exhaustive search for all remaining versions of Wang Xizhi’s seminal Lanting Xu (Preface to the Poems of the Orchid Pavilion) calligraphy.
Treasures from Imperial Collections
The highlights include an extraordinarily rare painting – Ten Chrysanthemums by Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), expected to fetch in excess of HK$40 million, where Zhao has carefully depicted ten varieties of chrysanthemums, all presented as cut branches, probably painting from life. Another remarkable piece – A Very Fine and Important Imperial Jade-hilted Ceremonial Sabre and Scabbard (expected to fetch in excess of HK$40 million), along with other arms ordered by the Qianlong Emperor, served as a reminder of his Manchu ancestors’ hard-fought battles to conquer China.