Chang Dai-chien painting sells for record HK$191m
Amy Nip, Priscilla Jiao and Zuleika Sedgley
A painting by the late Chang Dai-chien fetched HK$191 million at an auction yesterday, setting a world record for his works and offering further evidence of the remarkable boom in the Chinese art market.
Bids for Lotus and Mandarin Ducks - a 1947 piece - started at HK$10 million but it eventually sold for nearly 20 times that amount after 30 rounds of bidding at the Hong Kong sale. The price was more than nine times Sotheby's estimate of HK$20 million. The work was bought by an Asian private collector.
The sale price smashed the previous record for Chang's works, set in May last year in Beijing for his painting Ai Hen Hu, which was sold for 100 million yuan (HK$120 million).
It also makes the works of Chang - who died in 1983 at the age of 84 - among the more valuable paintings in the world, although still short of the prices fetched by those of fellow Chinese artist Qi Baishi and some way further behind the likes of Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Andy Warhol.
Lotus was one of the 25 pieces that made up the Mei Yun Tang collection of paintings by Chang Dai-chien and which sold for a total of HK$680 million during the 90-minute auction yesterday.
It showed the growing fever in the Chinese art market. Last week, a painting by Qi - a contemporary of Chang - set a record for modern art and calligraphy at a mainland auction after it sold for 425.5 million yuan.
Bian Yiwen, general manager of an auction firm in Beijing, said: 'China's economy is expanding fast. People's appreciation for art is growing and they also can afford [to spend] more. It is not surprising to see this fever building for Chinese paintings.'
Meilin Wang, the head of Chinese painting, 20th century and contemporary Asian art at Bonhams Asia, said the market for Chinese art had seen a huge boom in the past two years.
Last year, the total proceeds from sales of Chinese art at auction reached 57.3 billion yuan, an increase of 150 per cent over the previous year.
The price, in US dollars, for the world's most expensive painting, No 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock, sold in 2006 by David Geffen