Record-Breaking Sanyu Brings Christie’s Hong Kong Modern and Contemporary Sale to $78.3 M.

Zao Wou-Ki. Courtesy Christie’s.

This report on the Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening sale in Hong Kong sale for July 2020 by Angelica Villa is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.) 

On Friday, Christie’s staged its marquee Hong Kong auction combining the modern and contemporary categories. The sale came just before the global “ONE” auction which also kicked off in the region’s headquarters.

The Christie’s auction drew a fully packed room, with masked staff bidding by telephone without having to observe social distancing recommendations. The successful auction achieved a total result of HKD 607.2 million ($78.3 million) from 45 lots, with an overall sell-through rate of 96 percent. One lot was withdrawn before the auction began.

Leading the sale was Chinese-French painter Sanyu’s red and white floral still life, painted in the 1940s–50s, which came to auction with an estimate of HKD 60 million to HKD 80 million ($7.8 million–$10.4 million). After a protracted bidding battle, the work sold for HKD 191.6 million ($24.7 million) with buyer’s premium tripling its low estimate and setting a new record for a Sanyu still life. Sanyu‘s last nude painting, Nu (1965), holds the Chinese master’s current record price of HKD 198 million ($25.24 million), achieved at Sotheby’s last year.


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