• Sat
  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 10:45pm
NewsHong Kong
AUCTIONS

Sotheby’s sets record with HK$4.2bn at Hong Kong autumn sales

Sales in Hong Kong considered a barometer of demand from China for expensive artworks and luxury goods

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 12:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 1:16pm

Sotheby’s celebrated its 40 years of business in Asia by raising a better-than-expected HK$4.2 billion ($542 million) in Hong Kong, a record for the global auction house’s autumn sales in the city.

Sotheby’s biannual sales in Hong Kong are considered a barometer of demand from China and elsewhere in Asia for some of the world’s most expensive artworks and luxury goods. As many as 16 records were set at the five-day event.

Among the highlights was Zeng Fanzhi’s painting “The Last Supper” - inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s work of the same name - which sold for $23.1 million, setting a record for a piece of Asian contemporary art.

The final result was hailed as a success by Sotheby’s, exceeding its forecasts of some $370 million for the more than 3,500 lots on offer. The amount was almost double the $280 million Sotheby’s sold at its spring Hong Kong sales in April.

The result demonstrates the importance of Hong Kong as an international selling centre
Sotheby’s Asia chairman Patti Wong

“We’ve taken the pulse of the Asian art market - it’s racing and we are racing with it,” Sotheby’s Asia chairman Patti Wong said in a statement, adding that the result “demonstrates the importance of Hong Kong as an international selling centre”.

A 118.28-carat white diamond fetched $30.6 million, a world auction record for such a gem and the most expensive item sold during the event. The buyer’s identity was not disclosed.

Video: Diamond fetches record $30.6 million at HKG auction

China’s diamond market, now the world’s second-largest after the United States, has more than tripled to $22.8 billion over the last five years, market research firm Euromonitor says.

Another record was set by a massive Ming gilt-bronze figure of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha, which went to a Chinese collector from Guangdong for $30.3 million.

While prices for some paintings and ceramics were strong, the jewellery auction saw around a quarter of pieces go unsold.

Demand for fine Chinese paintings was robust, with 95.3 per cent of works sold by lot. They included the auction favourite, Chinese ink master Zhang Daqian’s “Spring Dawns Upon the Colourful Hills”, which sold for $4.47 million.

Another bright spot was Chinese imperial ceramics, with a blue-and-white palace bowl from the Chenghua period fetching $18 million and a celadon-glazed “Longevity” Ruyi-handled Qianlong vase selling for $11.4 million, five times its estimate.

“The market is very good, better than last year,” said Liu Cheng, a Shanghai dealer who goes to the sales every year.

“Although the economy is slowing down, there are still many rich people in China. Some new buyers have come who just want good items without knowing about previous prices, which led to (the current) high prices.”

China led world auction revenue for arts and collectables last year, with 8.9 billion euros ($12.02 billion), according to the French government’s Conseil des Ventes art market report.

But the market has been dogged by problems, including a Chinese customs investigation of tax evasion on art imports that has cooled sentiment. Other risks are taxes, regulations, widespread fakes and market manipulation, experts say.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or