Sizzling Spring Sales in Hong Kong
The past month has been really busy! The international Chinese Art auctions are winding down for the season so I have been keeping track of all the sales in Paris, Beijing and Hong Kong over the past couple of weeks. The Chinese Art market is still going at a steady pace with still strong prices in painting, porcelain, furniture and works of art.
At the same time, I have been finalizing my summer schedule and working on my next market trends report for Orientations magazine. This article will (hopefully) be ready for their September/October issue. If you need help securing my past articles, feel free to send me an email!
At the end of May, I had visited Hong Kong for 10 days. I had some time between my May NYC trip, and the Toronto Asian Art auctions in mid-June, so I figured to make the best of this opportunity.
Despite the hot weather and high humidity, this trip was a chance to see all the fantastic Chinese art events happening across the city - with major auctions at Christie’s, China Guardian, Bonham’s, Sotheby’s and Poly. In addition, the International Antiques Fair was taking place at the Hong Kong Convention Centre. It was an incredible journey and of course I was still able to visit a couple of museums along the way (which I will save for a future blog). Here are some of my highlights from the Hong Kong auction world:
Christie’s had their Chinese Art spring sales at the end of May within the cavernous Hong Kong Convention Centre in the Wanchai district. One of the my obvious highlights was their top lot, An Exceptionally Fine Tang-Style ‘Double-Dragon’ Celadon-Glazed Amphora with Yongzheng mark and of the period (1723-1735).
This enormous vase measures 51.8 cm in height and is one of the finest examples of Yongzheng monochrome porcelain in existence. The shape is extremely graceful in its homage to earlier Tang Dynasty (618-907) earthenware vases, and the celadon glaze is impeccably even throughout the body. It also featured multiple levels of provenance that is essential for top pieces of porcelain at auction. From earliest to most recent, the provenance in the catalogue reads:
Collection of Maruja Baldwin (1920-1997) Sold at Christie’s New York, 22 March 1999, lot 331 A California private collection, 1999-2004 Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1 November 2004, lot 872
The Alan Chuang Collection, Hong Kong
This vase had an 'estimate upon request' but realized (including buyer's premium) an astonishing price of 140,540,000 HKD (approximately 18 million USD). I believe this is a world record price for any example of a Qing Dynasty monochrome at auction!
The Hong Kong exhibitions are also amazing because they contain various categories that I don't often see during my trips to New York. They include fine watches, jewellery jadeite, South East Asian paintings and 20th Century Chinese masterpieces.
One of my favourite non-Chinese works of art items was this large painting by the Chinese modernist master painter Zhang Daqian 张大千 (1899-1983). Titled Ancient Templed Amidst Clouds, this large painting is dated to 1965 and measures 172 x 89.5 cm.
The painting was highly published and exhibited in important institutions, and displays the artist's avant-garde 'splashed ink/colour' technique - creating an almost abstract atmosphere against a more traditional Chinese rendition of houses and landscapes. Another lot with an 'estimate upon request', the painting had a realized price of 102,460,000 HKD (approximately 13.2 million USD).
Finally at Bonham's Hong Kong (just above the Pacific Place shopping mall), I re-encountered An Exceptionally Rare Pair of Imperial Blue and White 'Bajixiang' Moonflasks with Qianlong marks and of the period (1736-1795). I was able to admire AND examine this pair of moonflasks during my New York Asia Week adventure. After touring through various major cities across the world, they were finally auctioned off on May 28th.
These spectacular vases are in great condition and passed down from a single American family since the early 20th Century. Estimated at 20-30 million HKD (approximately 2.6-3.9 million USD), they realized a strong price of 28.5 million HKD (approximately 3.65 million USD).
Hong Kong was quite an amazing trip and its one city I should definitely visit more often. In addition to the crazy art world Hong Kong hosts, it also has some of the most spectacular sites/sights in East Asia. Here's a great photo I took while walking towards the Star Ferry terminal on the Kowloon side facing Central Hong Kong.
Anyways, I'll be posting again on a regular basis throughout the summer. I have some great news about my progress in the Asian Art world in the coming days, and hopefully in the coming months I can update you about the interesting projects/objects I have been working on. If you have any questions or comments or advice, please send me an email!