Zeng Fanzhi's Bicycle provides early highlight of Christie's China auction

Zeng Fanzhi's Bicycle is expected to be one of many highlights in Christie's first auction in mainland China, which takes place in Shanghai on September 26, preceded by a three-day cultural gala.

Zeng Fanzhi Bicycle
Fanzhi is one of China's leading artists, living and working in Beijing

The auction will be centred upon a magnificent selection of Asian contemporary art, with 2005's Bicycle, an oil on canvas work, expected to sell for $950,000-1.5m.

Holding the highest estimate in the category is a series of studies created by Sui Jianguo for the celebrated Clothes Veins sculptures. Executed in 1998, the group is valued at $1.6m-2.5m.

Impressionist and modern art will be highlighted by Giorgio Morandi's Natura Morta, a 1962 oil that is expected to see between $850,000 and $1.2m. It is joined by Picasso's Homme assise, which is valued at $700,000-1m.

Pablo Picasso Homme Assise
Blue-chips of the modern period such as Picasso are always popular among Chinese collectors

Among post-war and contemporary art offerings are Andy Warhol's Diamond Dust Shoes ($600,000-800,000), and an Alexander Calder mobile entitled Black: 2-2-6 ($1m-1.5m).

With Christie's keen to impress, the auction doesn't stop at offering fine art, with a selection of wine, jewellery and modern design also featuring, catering for the main desires of Chinese collectors.

A stunning set of jadeite and diamond jewellery should sell well, with jadeite an extremely popular gemstone in China. It is hoped to raise $324,000-486,000, while a jadeite carving of a laughing Buddha will see between $80,000 and $120,000.

Jadeite Diamond Jewellery set
Christie's has truly attempted to capture the Chinese market, offering a selection of market favourites in a single auction

Perhaps the most unusual lot of the sale is a model created in 2013 by Thomas Heatherwick of the UK pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2013, which was known as the Seed Cathedral. Created in an edition of three, this scale version of the major Shanghai landmark is estimated at $120,000-170,000.

"This development makes Christie's the first international auction house able to directly conduct auctions in China under its own brand, and will offer collectors a more direct access to our global network and expertise," commented Steve P Murphy, Christie's chief executive officer.

"The art market continues to grow at a tremendous rate due to the burgeoning interest in art particularly in Asia and China. Now Christie's will be able to engage with our clients in Shanghai in the same way that we have done over many years in London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong."

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