Chinese art at Sotheby's Hong Kong

Sotheby's Hong Kong will hold its 20th Century Chinese Art Autumn Sale 2009 on October 6.

A total of over 60 lots will be offered, estimated at approximately HK$81 million (or US$10.4 million).

Highlights will include Sanyu's legendary Lotus et Poissons Rouges, aka Lotus and Red Fish, estimated at HK$15-25 million.

This is a magnificent work from the peak of Sanyu's career, and also the largest painting (116.8 X 179cm) by the artist ever to appear at auction.

Lotus et Poissons Rouges, exhibiting the artist's minimalist sensibility, was among the artist Sanyu's own favourite works, and among the very few that he displayed on the walls of his studio in Paris.

The work was previously included in the seminal Salon des Indépendants exhibition in Paris in 1956, further enhancing its importance.

Another major item inthe sale is Zao Wou-ki's 7.4.61, estimated at HK$8-12 million.

The late 1950s to early 1960s was a period of transition for Zao's artistic direction and creation, moving into more abstract expressions informed by oriental aesthetics and philosophy which setting him apart from other abstract painters.

7.4.61, created in April, 1961, is a rare piece from a key period of Zao's artistic career, inspired by nature and featuring lyrical calligraphic brushworks.

Another big offering is Ju Ming's Taichi Series - Taichi Arch, estimated at HK$7.5 - of which another edition can be found in the collection of the Ju Ming Museum in Taiwan where it is on permanent display.

Ju Ming's Taichi Series is widely regarded as his most important body of work, winning international acclaim which has seen him establish himself as the leading Asian sculptor. Measuring 4.2m wide, 2.8m high and 1.56m deep, Taichi Arch is the largest sculpture by Ju ever to appear at auction.

Two paintings by Liao Chi-Chun titled Tamkang Scenery, estimated at HK$5.5-6.5m, and Bridge, estimated at HK$3.6-4.5m, are further highlights of the sale.

Liao is famed for his carefree yet sensitive use of colours, which lends his works an original and inimitable flair.

Tamkang Scenery, from 1971, is a bird's-eye view of Taiwan's Tamsui river basin, with Mount Kuan-yin looming on the opposite bank.

Also on offer are Shiy De-jinn's Yin Landscape, estimated at HK$180,000-250,000, and Red Leaves on the Mountain, estimated at HK$120,000-180,000, both dated 1963.

This sale marks the debut appearance of Shiy's 1960s abstract paintings at auction. The artist drew inspiration from Chinese landscape and ancient culture.

"We are delighted to offer this season an array of exquisite works that are fresh to the market boasting excellent provenance," said Lily Lee, Head of the 20th Century Chinese Art Department, in a statement.

"[These are] led by Sanyu's Lotus et Poissons Rouges that has now resurfaced after over half a century.

"We have assembled seminal oeuvres by masters including Zao Wou-ki, Liao Chi-Chun, Wu Dayu, and Ju Ming. I believe that our sale will generate much interest from collectors both near and afar," she said.

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