Lee Man Fong artwork beats artist's auction record by 36.1% in HK

The world auction record for a Lee Man Fong artwork has been set in a Hong Kong sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings.

The piece, sold through Sotheby's on October 7, is now also the highest-selling Southeast Asian artwork ever seen at auction.

Created in Amsterdam in 1951, the Indonesian artist's Fortune and Longevity sold for an impressive $4.41m, far exceeding the $3.24m achieved for his Bali Life at Sotheby's in 2010. The price represents a 36.1% increase on the previous record.

Lee Man Fong Fortune and Longevity Sotheby's
One of the earliest and largest of Fong's horizontal artworks

Lee Man Fong was born in China in 1913, but moved to Jakarta in 1932. He achieved success as the presidential painter for Indonesia's President Sukarno, who had heard of his triumphant exhibitions in Europe.

The artist was recognised for his talent early on by governor of the Dutch East Indies, Hubertus Johannes van Mook, who awarded him a scholarship to study in The Hague. It was during this trip that we see a pivotal point in Lee Man Fong's career, with works from this period showing his now trademark incorporation of both Western and Eastern styles.

Fortune and Longevity is considered to be one of Fong's finest paintings. Measuring 8 ½ feet in length, it is also one of the earliest and most monumental of his horizontal works. Since being acquired directly from the artist shortly after its creation, it has spent more than six decades in a private collection and had never been offered before.

Check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles for more results from Sotheby's five days of autumn sales in Hong Kong.

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