Treasure trove up for grabs in HK

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 October, 2009, 12:00am

More than 2,400 lots with an estimated value of HK$950 million will be offered at Sotheby's autumn sales starting tomorrow at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Collections will be publicly displayed until next Wednesday, with auctions running until Thursday.

Hong Kong auction items aside, highlights from Sotheby's New York impressionist, modern and contemporary art auctions will also be shown, with works from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley, and important jewels from Sotheby's New York and Geneva.

Sure to please will be Sotheby's sale of contemporary Asian art on Tuesday. Tuesday's event will also include a selection of 20th-century Chinese works.

Japanese contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara's It's Everything is expected to bring between HK$3.8 million and HK$5 million. It is the largest of the artist's work ever to be auctioned - a rare specimen using the medium of wooden panels. Depicting a guitar-playing child, last year's piece reflects Nara's love of punk rock. Despite being young, Nara's protagonists always appear wise beyond their years. They sense what the world has in store for them and are ready to tackle the trials of growing up.

Closer to home, a work by the late Tsang Tsou-choi, an acclaimed local graffiti and calligraphy artist, is expected to bring between HK$50,000 and HK$70,000. Calligraphy is exceptional because of its large size and the artist's hallmark inscription of his family genealogy and personal history as an 'emperor in exile'.

Local photographer Simon Go's Hong Kong Old Shops: Wing Wo Grocery & Keng Ming Mirror Shop is expected to fetch between HK$30,000 and HK$50,000. Executed in 2007, the scenes portray the owners of the two shops against the backdrop of their stores.

Go's work is famous for capturing scenes of plebeian life in Hong Kong against the mounting tide of modernisation and urbanisation.

There will also be separate auctions of Chinese fine art and Southeast Asian paintings.

Apart from the wide range of contemporary Asian art available, a trove of precious gemstones is part of the jewels and jadeite collection.

Wednesday's watch auction includes several rare time timepieces.

Notable this autumn is Sotheby's American wine collection auction. 'The Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector III' goes under the hammer tomorrow, while 'An Exceptional Cellar from a Private American Collector' is being auctioned on Sunday. They are expected to net up to HK$29 million and HK$19 million respectively.

Kevin Ching, chief executive of Sotheby's Asia, said: 'We are particularly delighted to bring to market a number of outstanding private collections with impeccable provenance. They include fine wines from two private collections, a private collection of imperial works of art from the Qianlong reign, exceptional modern Chinese ink paintings and contemporary Chinese art.'

Eagerly awaited is this autumn's fine Chinese ceramics and works of art sale on Thursday. A feature is the reign of the Qianlong Emperor from 1735 to 1796. He was the fourth Qing emperor and the longest-ruling monarch in Chinese history. This auction will feature more than 200 lots of Ming and Qing dynasty works of art and porcelain and is predicted to fetch above HK$300 million.

Accordingly, the 'Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection' features prominently this year. The collection contains more than 30 imperial works of art from the Qianlong period and includes glassware, metalwork, rhinoceros horn, jade and wood - mostly made for the emperor's rarefied studios - and is one of the world's finest private collections of scholarly artworks. Other highlights include a Chenghua Palace bowl - a very rare piece of Ming blue and white porcelain - a superb large barbed early Ming dynasty lacquer dish and a massive zitan imperial dragon throne of the Qianlong period.

Another eye-catching item is a blue and white dragon moon flask, bearing a Qianlong period seal. It is expected to fetch HK$15 million to HK$20 million.