Treasure worth HK$2.7b for sale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2011, 12:00am


Tomorrow sees the opening of Sotheby's diverse Hong Kong Autumn Sales. Highlights from the collection have been showcased in travelling exhibitions across Asia over the past month, and a mesmerising exhibition of all the items on offer will be held at Hall 3 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre's New Wing, from tomorrow until Thursday next week.

The venerable auction house specialises in eight collecting categories: Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art; Fine Chinese Paintings; 20th Century Chinese Art; Contemporary Asian Art; Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings; Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite; Important Watches; and Wine. More than 3,400 lots are expected to fetch in excess of HK$2.7 billion during the six-day sales.

The Meiyintang Collection ranks among the finest private collections of Chinese ceramics in the world, and Sotheby's is offering some of its most iconic pieces. The selection harks back to the most celebrated periods in the history of the imperial kilns. More than 40 lots are on the block. One Ming dynasty item, a blue-and-white vase with fruit spray decoration, is estimated to bring HK$80 million to HK$120 million.

The Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings sale takes place on Monday. A substantial collection of modern masterpieces will be on offer, among which a selection of more than 40 exceptional Vietnamese works of art is expected to draw attention.

'We have seen impressive signs of growth in this category over the years, as proven by our record sale in spring which affirmed Sotheby's leading position in the market,' says Mok Kim Chuan, the company's head of Southeast Asian paintings. 'This season, we present another fine selection of works. Iconic Vietnamese artists represented include Le Pho, Pham Hau and Mai Trung Thu. The sale offers creations by young talents Arturo Sanchez, Louie Cordero and Rolando Ventura, all embodiments of extraordinary passion and energy.'

Following the success of The Ullens Collection - The Nascence of Avant-Garde China - in April, Sotheby's announced the second instalment of this legendary Chinese art collection: The Ullens Collection - Experimentation and Evolution. Early works by artists including Zeng Fanzhi and Liu Ye remain a significant part of the sale, while this season's offering incorporates experimental works from the 1990s created by pioneers in conceptual, installation and sculptural art such as Chen Zhen and Sui Jianguo.

The sale includes video artworks by Cui Xiuwen and Lin Yilin, that are rarely seen in the market.

'We are honoured to be entrusted once again by Baron Guy Ullens to offer the second part of his significant art collection,' says Evelyn Lin, Sotheby's head of contemporary Asian art. 'This will be the last auction from the collection and, therefore, the last opportunity to acquire a piece of this legendary assemblage of art. This time, we have curated the sale to focus on pioneers in Chinese conceptual art, including Chinese artists based overseas, with the hope of expanding the horizons of the collecting community.'

Classic Wines

Sotheby's Hong Kong opens the autumn season of wine auctions with the eighth sale from The Classic Cellar from a great American collector. This collection long ago became the greatest single-owner wine collection in Sotheby's history. More than 4,800 lots have been sold since March 2009, with every bottle offered in Hong Kong finding a buyer. The sale includes three Imperials of 2000 vintage, estimated to bring HK$120,000 to HK$160,000 each.

A highlight of the wine auction on Sunday is a magnificent range of 5-star Provenance Bordeaux from the Bordeaux Winebank collection, featuring the five first growths, along with P?trus, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Yquem. The sale will also feature a selection of Ch?teau Lafite from two members of the Rothschild family that has been stored in the cellars of the ch?teau, in bottles and magnums, since production.

'This magnificent collection of Ch?teau Lafite has the greatest possible provenance since it was stored at Lafite in its entirety until being offered for sale,' says Serena Sutcliffe, master of wine, head of Sotheby's international wine department. 'Family members are entitled to keep their Lafite at the property, so the collection has not moved until now. It is a privilege to handle wines that have this special upbringing.'

Jewels of India

With their beauty, rarity and feminine elegance, pink diamonds have always had a special allure, resulting in intense bidding at auctions in recent years. Following the success of The Graff Pink, which generated US$46 million at Sotheby's Geneva sales last November, Sotheby's Hong Kong presents The Golconda Pink - a stunning 9.27ct fancy vivid pink diamond of the highest colour grade.

This extremely rare gem sparkles with a vibrant and flattering warm pink colour; it is among less than 2 per cent of the world's diamonds that are virtually free of nitrogen in their composition.

First discovered in India centuries ago, Golconda diamonds were the choice adornment of Mogul royalty.

With only a handful existing today, as the legendary mine has long ceased production, Golconda diamonds are highly sought after for their translucency and purity.

As most Golconda diamonds are colourless, pink diamonds from this rarefied group are even more precious. Of impressive size, elegant emerald cut, exceptional purity and vivid colour, The Golconda Pink ranks among the world's most beautiful pink diamonds.

'The Golconda Pink will be the first jewel to carry a HK$100 million presale estimate in a Hong Kong auction,' says Quek Chin Yeow, head of Sotheby's Asia jewellery department.

Alongside The Golconda Pink, Sotheby's offers a 6.01ct cushion-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond and pink diamond ring. The blue diamond glows with a saturated sky-blue colour highlighted by its flanking pink diamonds - an item of divine beauty combining two of the most coveted hues.