Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christie's Makes History in Asia Surpassing Hk$2 Billion

Christie's Makes History in Asia Surpassing Hk$2 Billion

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Cai Guo-Qiang, born in 1957, Set of Fourteen Drawings for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Purchase Price: HK$ 74,247,500 (US$ 9,548,229). © Christie's Images Ltd. 2007.

HONG KONG.- Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, concluded five days of record-breaking sales with the most significant and strongest series of sales ever held in Asia, totaling HK$2,106,117,250 (US$ 270,425,455/£ 130,158,046/€ 182,389,754). This is the highest ever achieved in a sales season in Asia and is a 28% increase over Christie’s record-breaking Autumn 2006 sales (HK$1.64 billion/US$211 million/£101.5 million/€ 143 million). Selling to rooms consistently packed with international buyers and online and phone bidders, Christie’s sale has firmly established Hong Kong as one of the most important auction centers in the world and underscores Christie’s market-leading position. Together with its 2007 Spring sales which realized HK$1.52 billion in Hong Kong, the Autumn sale concludes a record year for Christie’s Hong Kong with an annual sales of HK$3.62 billion (US$466 million/£ 224 million /€ 314 million), the highest annual sales total ever set by any auction house in Asia.

Edward Dolman, Chief Executive Officer of Christie’s International, said, “Surpassing the HK$2 billion mark is a major milestone. The tremendous success of this sale series once again demonstrates Christie’s leadership in Asia and underscores Hong Kong’s position as a significant center for the art market alongside New York and London. Asia is extremely important to Christie’s, and we will continue to raise the bar in this region.”

The sales saw buyers from around the world participating on the phone, in the room and online through Christie’s LIVE. Participation from Asia was 83% (of which 69% were from Greater China), with others coming from the Americas at 7%, Europe at 9%, and other regions including the Middle East, at 1%.

Christie’s Leads ASIAN Contemporary, Chinese 20th Century & Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art

The opening sale of Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Art totaled a record HK$64,329,000 (US$ 8,272,709 /£4,014,130/ € 5,577,324) - the largest sale ever in the category. These strong results give Christie’s 53% market share in this category, showing a growth of 25% against Christie’s Spring 2007 sale and 59% against Christie’s Autumn 2006 results. The sale set a high standard for the entire Autumn sales series and was 96% sold by lot, 99% sold by value. Records fell and works, especially in the vibrant contemporary section, achieved multiples of their estimates. The top selling lot, was Rudolf Bonnet's Market Scene which sold for HK$11,527,500 (US$1,482,437 /£719,316 /€ 999,434) - a new auction record for the artist.

Christie’s astonishing sales of Asian Contemporary Art and Chinese Twentieth Century Art significantly outpaced all previous sales for these genres across the world. The combined sales total for both categories amounted to HK$777,657,750 (US$100,006,787 /£48,525,927/ €67,422,927), a 28% increase above Christie’s Spring 2007 season and 49% above last Autumn, giving Christie’s a 70% market share in Hong Kong in this category.

The sale of Chinese 20th Century Art totaled HK$310,479,250 (US$39,927,632 / £19,373,905 / €26,918,551) and was 86% sold by lot, 92% sold by value. The top lot was Chen Chen-Po’s Sunset at Danshui which was sold to an Asian private collector for HK$50,727,500 (US$ 6,523,557 / £ 3,165,396 / € 4,398,074), breaking the world auction record for the artist.

A marathon sale of Asian Contemporary Art set the new benchmark for the category with a record total of HK$467,178,500 (US$60,079,155/£29,151,938 /€40,504,376) with a tremendous 96% works sold by lot, 99% sold by value. Comprising iconic and cutting edge works of Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Korean contemporary art, records tumbled in every category and in works from every country. The top selling lot in the Asian Contemporary sales was Cai Guo-Qiang's Set of Fourteen Drawings for Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, which sold to an anonymous collector for HK$74,247,500 (US$9,548,229/ £4,633,044/ €6,437,258) - a world auction record for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Highest value for contemporary Indian & Pakistani art in Hong Kong

The Asian Contemporary Art sale also brought tremendous results in the growing category of Indian and Pakistani Contemporary Art with a total of HK$ 30,373,250 (US$ 3,906,000) for 22 works – the highest value ever achieved in Hong Kong.

Classical collecting categories continue to grow

The sale of Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy proved that that market is robust, with the highest ever sold total for the category at HK$151,228,750 (US$19,448,017 / £9,421,551 / €13,111,533), a remarkable growth of 144% over Christie’s May 2007 sale and 244% compared with Autumn 2006, with 77% of the lots sold. Dong Qichang’s Paintings and Calligraphy broke the world auction record for the artist at HK$48,487,500 (US$6,235,493/ £3,020,771/ €4,203,866), over four times the pre-sale estimate. The sale total for Modern Chinese Paintings was HK$130,893,000 (US$16,832,840 /£8,154,634 / €11,348,423) with 83% lots sold. Works by the artist Zhang Daqian in particular proved to be in high demand - Lot 1266 Landscape in Splashed-colour sold for more than twice the estimate at HK$9,959,500 (US$1,280,792 / £620,477 / €863,489), while Lot 1068 Secluded Valley sold for more than three times the estimate at HK$7,047,500 (US$906,309 /£439,059 / €611,018).

Important Chinese Jades from the Personal Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman Part II sold for HK$197,649,250 (US$25,397,929 /£12,274,018 /€17,076,895), making it the most successful jade auction ever held. This sale marked a triumphant conclusion to the two-part series of sale of the Hartman’s renowned collection and brought the total to HK$313,701,249 (US$40,310,610). The top lot of the sale was an exquisite white jade cylindrical brushpot of the Qianlong period (1736-1795) which sold for HK$54,087,500 (US$6,950,244 /£ 3,358,834 / €4,673,160) - over five times its low estimate and setting a world record for a white jade carving.

Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art totaled HK$299,978,250 (US$38,547,205 /£18,628,649 / €25,918,121). The sale set several important world records, with many of the star lots coming from the first section of the sale, Reflections: Chinese Art Inspired by the West, which presented collectors with fifteen unparalleled ceramics and works of art that illustrate the Chinese court’s fascination with Western themes in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The top lot of the day was one of the highlights in this special collection, a magnificent Imperial Beijing enamel glass brushpot, Qianlong mark and of the period (1736-1785), which drew tremendous attention from collectors and enthusiasts from around the world. It established a world record price for Chinese glass at HK$ 67,527,500 (US$8,677,284 / £4,193,458 / €5,834,376). The combined total sales for works of art amounted to HK$497,627,500 (US$63,945,134 / £30,902,667/ € 42,995,106), an increase of 70% over last season’s total.

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