Masterpieces up for grabs

Rare art, furniture, jewellery, watches and wine are set to fetch HK$2.2 billion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 9:06am

Christie's Hong Kong hopes to bring rare collectibles to a wider audience with its autumn auctions and exhibitions, being held from today until Wednesday at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A series of events open to the public will coincide with the auctions, which will see more than 4,000 lots, estimated to be more than HK$2.2 billion, go under the hammer.

These items will be auctioned under six categories - Chinese classical and modern paintings (Monday and Tuesday), Asian 20th century and contemporary art (Saturday and Sunday), Chinese ceramics and works of art (Wednesday), jewellery (Tuesday), watches (Wednesday) and wine (today to Sunday).

A sale of fine Chinese furniture from private American collections is also among this season's highlights. This is the first time Christie's has held a dedicated sale in this category in Asia and it is expected to bring in excess of HK$50 million. Outstanding pieces include a pair of display cabinets (HK$2.4 million to HK$4 million), made entirely from huanghuali wood, and a pair of rare and large imperial zitan lantern stands, and lanterns (HK$2.4 million and HK$4 million) that were once owned by Dracula actor Bela Lugosi.

The sale of lacquerware from the Lee Family Collection is also highly anticipated. The Song, Yuan and Ming dynasty lacquerware was gathered by noted collector K.T. Lee and is one of the most studied collections in private hands.

Noteworthy pieces include an exceptionally rare tixi lacquer bowl stand from the Song dynasty (HK$6 million to HK$8 million). The subtle beauty of the heart-shaped designs carved through layers of different coloured lacquer is complemented by the elegantly lobed form of the stand, making this an important example of carved lacquer produced during the Song dynasty, which was one of the greatest periods of Chinese artistic creativity and workmanship.

Another unique piece is a very fine inscribed falangcai enamelled mallet-shaped vase (HK$6 million to HK$8 million) from the J. Insley Blair Collection, which dates back to the Yongzheng/Qianlong period (1723-1795) and belongs to a rare group of surviving pieces from the Imperial workshops in Beijing. The vase initially belonged to Alfred E. Hippisley, who served in the Qing court as customs commissioner until his resignation in 1910.

Meanwhile, the sales of fine Chinese classical paintings and calligraphy, and fine Chinese modern paintings have more than 700 pieces on offer, with an estimate to realise in excess of HK$290 million.

Sourced from more than 60 renowned private collections from all over the world, Christie's believes the sale of classical paintings will offer collectors the opportunity to acquire choice works by masters of the category, such as Wang Duo, Lan Ying and Wang Jian, while the modern paintings sale will include Xu Beihong's Magpies on Branches and works by artists including Qi Baishi and Zhang Daqian.

The sale also includes works from renowned private collections such as that of Tang Siyao, who was highly regarded for his work in preserving Chinese culture from all over the world.

Christie's believes the sale will offer collectors the opportunity to acquire choice works by masters of the category.

More than 580 works with a value in excess of HK$463 million will be offered in the Asian 20th century and contemporary art sale, which presents diverse subject matter, styles and techniques. This category will showcase the works of artists such as Sanyu, Chu Teh-chun, Yoshitomo Nara and Affandi, presenting to an international audience an innovative way of looking at the new faces of Asian art and the unique aesthetic values of their artworks. Also on offer are 24 important works from Zao Wou-ki (1950s until 1990s) that fully demonstrate his artistic development, including a painting entitled 15.05.60 (HK$22 million to HK$28 million). This famous piece represents the artist's cross-cultural vision and expression of the nuances of changing space, nature and light and dark.

The auction coincides with a panel discussion that aims to stimulate dialogue between artists from the East and the West, and reflects on the ways how these artists, though distinct in their own ways, influence each other.

The watches sale will offer a diverse selection of 540 horological creations that are being offered at auction for the first time. Patek Philippe's Star Calibre 2000, Ref 3939 (rare with mother-of-pearl dial), Ref 5016 (with an 18ct gold perpetual calendar minute repeating tourbillon) and wristwatches under the Dragon Collection will lead the sale.

The Star Calibre has an estimated price tag of HK$18 million to HK$32 million. Seven years in development, the Star Calibre contains 21 complications and debuted in time for the millennium celebrations. Haute joaillerie watches from Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels and Jaeger LeCoultre will also be auctioned.

Highlights in the jewellery sale, featuring more than 300 jewels, include a Red Scarlet necklace (HK$28 million to HK$44 million) and a pair of Red Butterflies earrings (HK$18 million to HK$28 million) made by James Currens for Faidee.

Both feature Burmese no heat pigeon's blood rubies, limited in quantity and the benchmark for all rubies. Underscoring the magnificence of emeralds is a pair of pear-shaped emerald, pearl and diamond earrings in platinum named after their land of origin, The Grand Muzos.

Colombian emeralds are known for their unrivalled colour, fire and intensity, with the most expensive emeralds mined from the Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor regions.

Elsewhere, wine sales will offer a refined selection of mature Bordeaux, from renowned châteaux, rare Burgundies from celebrated Domaines, Grower Champagne and superlative Rhône Valley Crus.

Connoisseurs will be delighted to know that there is an extensive assortment of classic vintages, starting with 2009 and dating as far back as 1799, including a very rare double magnum of Château Lafite Rothschild-Vintage 1870.

For more information,


call 2760 1766 or e-mail