A painting by Sino-French painter Zao Wou-Ki sold on Sunday for a record 510 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 65 million), leading one of the largest art auctions in Asia .
The artist’s abstract work “June-October 1985” is now the most expensive painting ever sold in Hong Kong, according to Sotheby’s.
It was a record-breaking night at the auction house, which sold $ 200 million worth of artwork for sale. Asian artists featured prominently alongside big names in the West, with Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s “Portrait of AE” selling for over HK $ 26.5 million ($ 3.4 million ).
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Elsewhere, records were set for eight different Asian artists, including Taiwanese Richard Lin and Chinese Hao Liang and Wang Xingwei, whose works have all attracted auctions of over $ 1 million.
But it was Zao’s “June-October 1985”, named after its completion date, that got the highest price of the evening. Measuring 10 meters (33 feet) in length, the oil painting sold for more than double what it previously paid for a work of art by Zao, who died in 2013.
A painting from Claude Monet’s “Haystacks” series sold for $ 110.7 million in May 2019, making it the most expensive Impressionist work to ever be purchased at auction. Credit: Sothebys
Born in Beijing before moving to Paris after WWII, Zao is known for combining classical Chinese painting techniques with the abstract influences of Western modernism. The result of Sunday’s auction “crowns (him as) king of Asian oil painters,” according to Sotheby’s Asia President Patti Wong.
“With so many new benchmarks set here tonight, it is evident that the Asian appetite for great examples of modern and contemporary art – whether Asian or Western – is ravenous,” she said in a Press release.
Also among the lots was the “Xuzhen Supermarket” by contemporary artist Xu Zhen, a fake convenience store fully stocked with empty packaging. Billed by Sotheby’s as the first ‘concept’ to be auctioned as a work of art in Asia, the winning auction of HK $ 2 million ($ 255,000) secured ‘the right to order from new physical and staged recreations of the concept, which will be performed by Xu Zhen, “according to the auction house.
A previous installation of Xu Zhen’s conceptual work “Xuzhen Supermarket”. Credit: MadeIn Company / Xu Zhen
Western art was also found to be popular, attracting a record total of 260 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 33.2 million) at the auction. Pablo Picasso’s “Laureate Bust”, which won a bid of 61 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 7.8 million), led a selection of leading European and American artists, including Joan Mitchell, Gerhard Richter, Anish Kapoor and KAWS.