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HomeNewsBidding Still Active under COVID-19, Hong Kong July Sales End in State

Bidding Still Active under COVID-19, Hong Kong July Sales End in State

The Hong Kong Spring Sales, which should have started at the end of March but delayed due to the COVID-19, has finally launched in this July. Despite of uncertainty of the art market under the epidemic situation as well as the challenge of the economic conditions, modern art has performed really well. Seemingly uninfluenced, it has continuously achieving remarkable scores this year. Within 7 days’ sales, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Phillips and other auction houses have tallied a total turnover of 5.58 billion Hong Kong dollars. 74 pieces are sold over HK $10 million, 15 pieces over HK $50 million, 8 pieces over HK$100 million, among which 7 pieces are modern and contemporary art with outstanding performance. The art market has basically maintained its previous score, and presents a steady and rising trend. Today, follow ArtPro to look into the Hong Kong sales.


Total Turnover Trend of Modern and Contemporary Art Sales of 2011-2020 Hong Kong Spring Sales

Major Houses’ Outperformance over Estimation

Sotheby’s 2020 Hong Kong Spring Sales has generated a total turnover of HK$ 3.22 billion – the seventh consecutive quarter achieving total turnover over HK$ 3 billion. Within 7 days’ 17 sales, 3794 pieces of lots are sold with a sold-by-lot rate of 88%. 5 pieces are sold over HK $100 million, and 16 world auction records are set. Among them, modern and contemporary art set new high of turnover at Sotheby’s Modern Art Evening Sale.


Sotheby's Hong Kong Spring Auctions Sold Instantly


Christie’s Hong Kong has brought a total turnover of HK $1.84 billion in July, 2020, with 3 pieces sold over HK $100 million and 13 new world auction records set. Among its auctions, Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels has witnessed the only lot sold over HK $100 million in Asian jewelry auction of this sales series. Christie’s creative presentation ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century synchronized by multiple cities under Hong Kong’s lead, also achieving marvelous results in the relay auctions.


Christie's Hong Kong Spring Auctions Sold Instantly


Phillips Hong Kong has brought a total turnover of more than HK $400 million, with modern and contemporary art achieving more than HK $272 million, renewing the record of highest total turnover of Phillips Asia. Among the sales, 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Design Day Sale has achieved a total turnover of nearly HK $200 million – around 10% growth compared with last year’s spring sales. 6 artists and designers have renewed the world auction records during the Day Sale, and most of them are new faces in Asian auction scenes.


Phillips Hong Kong Spring Auctions Sold Instantly

Modern and Contemporary Art holds up Half the Sky

Modern and contemporary section continues last year’s advantage, being as the major section of turnover with HK $2.937 billion, accounting for 52% of the total turnover of this spring sales. Among the lots, 7 pieces are sold over HK $100 million, 55 pieces over HK $10 million, and 88 artists set new personal records. Since 2016, the market share of modern and contemporary art has been rising continuingly, and this year it goes up to the peak of the recent five years.


Market Share of Modern and Contemporary Art Sale of 2016-2020 Hong Kong Spring Sales


Compared with last year, this year Sotheby’s modern and contemporary section shows a stable trend, with 6 relevant sales tallying over HK $1.7 billion, far exceeding the estimating prices, with a sold-by-lot rate of 85%. As for Christie’s Hong Kong, in its 3 relevant sales, 94% of the 175 pieces of lots up for auction are sold. The sold-by-lot rate of Phillips’ relevant 2 sales reaches 92%.

San Yu, Zao Wou-Ki, Chu The-Chun Lead Modern Art

6 pieces of the 7 works sold over HK$ 100 million are from modern art, 2 from San Yu, 3 from Zao Wou-Ki, and 1 from Chu Teh-Chun. Quatre Nus by San Yu is sold for HK $258 million, the highest deal of the series. Another piece of the artist Chrysanthèmes Blanches Dans Un Pot Bleu Et Blanc, sold for more than HK $ 190 million, sets a new record of the artist’s still life theme paintings. In this sale series, San Yu has 18 lots enrolled, contributing HK $ 501 million.




Chu Teh-Chun for the first time in this sale series, has his own work sold over HK $100 million – the only pentaptych oil painting Les Éléments Confédérés is sold for HK $113.7 million, renewing the artist’s previous auction record.



Works of Zao Wou-Ki are powerful, with 3 paintings 20.03.60, 18.11.66, and 19.11.59 from Hurricane Period sold over HK $ 100 million. 23 out of 25 lots are sold, and the sold-by-lot rate is up to 92%. With a tallied turnover of HK $ 509 million, he is the artist with the highest turnover in this sales series. The last bid of his work 21.10.63 is HK $99 million, and if the later transaction goes well, it'll be another lot over HK $100 million into modern and contemporary art section of this sales series.




Western Art Enjoys Increasing Popularity

In recent 5 years, western modern and contemporary art keeps its steady selling in Hong Kong, Western Modern Art turnover in Hong Kong in 2016 was only 8.10% of the total turnover of Hong Kong Modern Art, and by 2020 it had risen to at 25.52%, indicating the gradually diversified tastes of Asian buyers towards western modern and contemporary art.


The proportion of western artists and lots of 2016-2020 spring sales


30 Sunflowers by David Hockney, sold for HK $114827000, ranks top1 of the modern art of this spring sales, the second highest turnover of western art at Asian auction scenes, and also the seventh of the artist’s personal turnover record. Clyfford Still and his PH-306, with the debut in Asia, brings HK $64141500. George Condo renews his top1 as his Force Field drops the hammer at HK $53150000. In addition, 10 western artists have renewed their personal top1 in this sales series in Hong Kong.




Many Young Artists Renew Personal Top1

1970-1990, a representative time span, during which the artists born are now at the age of 30-50, with unlimited potential. This time, there are 84 artists at the age of 30-50, with over 15 taking their works to evening sales and contributing a total turnover of HK $270. Among them, the most shining star is the Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie, whose work On The Road To Tarascon 2 is sold for HK $33725000, ranking the top1 of all the young artist this time and renewing his own top6.



The spotlight also goes to post 80’s artist Hao Liang, whose work Poison Buddha 2 is sold for HK $21620000, ranking the second of the young artists this time. This score also sets his personal top1 – a new record after he renewed his personal record in 2019 spring sales with An anecdote From The Grove sold for HK $ 15175000. Also, this is the third time he renews his personal top1 for three consecutive years since 2018.



This time, there are also Hao LiangHuang YuxingJavier CallejaChen KeClaire Tabouret and many other young artists renewing their personal Top1. These young artists break the usual ideology, and reflect on various complex issues on modern society, showing rebellious spirit and outstanding quality.


Top 5 Young Artists with New Individual Sales Records


So far, Hong Kong spring sales have come to a close. From this sales series under so many uncertain factors, the only thing we can be sure is that the art market finally keeps true to itself, and art value is always the core element of the art market.