Christie's $294m Asian art sale scores 50 World Records

Christie's concluded its six-day Spring art sales with strong results that confirm the key position of Hong Kong as a major centre in the art and auction world.

Totalling HK$2.29 billion (US$294 million) - a 114% increase from Spring 2009 and a 39% increase from Autumn 2009 - the sale was Christie's second most valuable Hong Kong sale ever.

In comparison, the Christie's Spring 2008 sale totaled HK$2.4 billion (US$311 million) when the market was at its peak.

The 2010 auctions featured more than 50 World Records, and two 'white glove' (100% sold) auctions.

Big sales included Christie's auction of Fine and Classical Paintings & Calligraphy last Friday (May 28), whose sales totaled HK$115,893,750 (US$14,880,758) with 74.51% sold by lot.

The sale's star - and the #1 sale of the Spring auctions - was Birds and Flowers by Hua Yan (1682-1756), which sold for HK$19,140,000 (US$2,457,576) - over three times its pre-sale estimate of HK$4,000,000-6,000,000.

Birds and Flowers by Hua Yan (1682-1756), the #1 sale at Christie’s
(Click to view the entire handscroll)


Elsewhere, a work by Qi Baishi - 2009's #3 top selling artist, along with Picasso and Warhol - entitled Amarath, Crickets, Persimmon and Peaches starred at The Songde Tang Collection of Chinese Modern Paintings (also May 28).

The Baishi was the second highest seller in the Christie's auctions, bringing HK$10,628,000 (US$ 1,364,635). The sale totalled HK$ 95,684,500 (US$ 12,285,890) with 95.24% sold by lot.

According to Christie's the sale's success confirms the health of the Asian art market and the desire of Asian collectors to pursue the rarest and the best across different collecting categories. 

"The art market in Asia is healthier than ever," said François Curiel, President of Christie's Asia. 

"The buzz in Hong Kong at the time of the auctions was like I have never seen before, with collectors from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and around Asia competing for the finest works the market had to offer. 

"While the rest of the economy is still recovering around the world, there does not seem to be any sign of a slowdown in the art market in Asia," he continued.


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