On Tuesday evening, Phillips hosted a modern and contemporary art sale in Hong Kong that grossed a total of HKD 405 million ($ 52.2 million) or HKD 492 with bounty ($ 63.8 million). Organized in conjunction with Chinese auction house Poly, it far exceeded its low pre-sale estimate of HKD 284 million ($ 36.6 million), calculated without the buyer’s premium.
The White Glove Sale saw all 35 works sell out, with just two lots withdrawn before the sale began. This solid result is 30% higher than that generated by the first Phillips-Poly sale in December and doubles the $ 25.7 million made on 22 lots in the equivalent sale in Hong Kong last year in July.
Seven of the lots in this sale were guaranteed. Together, these lots had a collected low estimate of HKD 115 million ($ 14.8 million). In total, these works exceeded expectations at 132 million HKD ($ 18.15 million), representing 35% of the total sale.
The results of these Phillips-Poly sales rounds demonstrate the rapid rise of the Asian market as the dominant buying region. In a post-sale interview, Phillips Asia President Jonathan Crockett said ARTnews that the collaboration with Poly was in part an attempt to reach more buyers in mainland China, which had become increasingly difficult for Phillips during the pandemic. “The strategy paid off,” he said. “We were able to access a whole new pool of buyers.
According to Crockett, the 100% sell rate of Phillips daytime and evening sales of this round was the product of the house’s strategic lot selection: brands that lasted alongside young artists in rising markets who have a proven track record with active buyers in the region.
Tuesday’s sale featured works by Yoshitomo Nara, Amoako Boafo and Matthew Wong, which have become staples at renowned Asian auctions. But the sale also set records for five artists whose markets are on the rise – Loie Hollowell, Salman Toor, Emily Mae Smith, Jadé Fadojutimi and Bernard Frize – signaling strong demand for emerging stars whose supply is tight on the market. primary market.
The best lot in the sale was the vibrant abstract canvas by Gerhard Richter Summary Bild (940-7) from 2015, which the seller bought from the Marian Goodman Gallery in 2016. It was backed by a low estimate guarantee of HKD 75 million ($ 9.7 million). The auction opened at HKD 48 million, attracting just two bidders from Hong Kong and New York. The hammer fell into its estimate at $ 80 million HKD ($ 10.3 million, with a final price of $ 12.6 million), sold to a bidder over the phone with Charlotte Raybaud, head of night sales at contemporary art by Phillips in Hong Kong.
Then the painting of Nara in 2000 Missing in action, starring its childlike protagonist. Three bidders, represented by Raybaud, Phillips jewelry manager Graeme Thompson, and Beijing-based Poly specialist Blair Cheung, went head-to-head for the job. It grossed HKD 105 million ($ 13.5 million), going to Cheung’s client for a final price of HKD 123 million ($ 16 million with bounty) and scoring the second highest auction price for Nara , which is currently the subject of a Los Angeles Retrospective at the County Museum of Art. The result is five times the price of $ 2.8 million the Asia-based seller bought it for at a Phillips evening sale in London in 2015. It was that auction of the estate. by Miami-based collector Frederic Brandt.
Also among the best sellers was the painting by Cecily Brown The end (2006), which exceeded the estimate of HKD 6.9 million ($ 889,000). The seller bought it not long ago in 2017 from Phillips for $ 523,200, which means it has appreciated in value by 70% in just four years. Although the painting exceeded expectations, it still does not approach the artist’s highest prices.
Emerging artists attracted the most attention among the bidders. by Toor Girl with driver (2013) hammered for 5.5 million HKD (a final price of $ 890,000), five times its estimate of 1.2 million HKD ($ 155,000). It broke its auction record of $ 867,000 set last month at Sotheby’s. Like Toor, Matthew Wong continues to be a market force in Asia. Five bidders competed for a 2017 landscape with a barely visible figure in the center. It had received a conservative estimate of 6 million HKD ($ 773,000), which pushed the competition for the coin to a high level. Wong’s painting ultimately sold for HKD 36.6 million ($ 4.7 million) – slightly less than the artist’s record auction of $ 4.8 million – to a bidder on the phone with a Beijing Poly specialist.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami The egg (2016), depicting a lone bather, attracted six bidders, including those from Japan and Scarsdale, New York. Eventually, the painting was sold for a double estimate of HKD 1.76 million ($ 227,000) to a buyer in Beijing. It was the eighth painting by Hwami to be auctioned.
Martin Wong, known for his fantastic visions of New York City in the 1980s, was also pictured in the sale. His painting Son of Sam is sleeping (1983), based on media coverage of a series of New York City murders, came to Phillips after being featured in Wong’s 2015 investigation of the Bronx Museum of Arts. It sold for 2.7 million HKD ($ 357,000 with premium).[Why Martin Wong’s visionary paintings of New York continue to intrigue.]
that of Zhang Xiaogang Family portrait n ° 13 (1998) attracted two bidders, one from Hong Kong, the other from Taiwan participating online. He hammered just above his low estimate of HKD 8.5 million ($ 1.1 million), likely going to the guarantor for a final price of HKD 10.5 ($ 1.4 million).
Emily Mae Smith, who recently joined the Petzel Gallery list, was represented by a painting of a broom from 2014. It sold for 12 million HKD ($ 1.5 million), more than 25 times its high estimate of 400,000 HKD. Meanwhile, Loïe Hollowell’s 2018 canvas First contact went for 10.9 million HKD ($ 1.4 million), out of an estimate of 1.2 million HK ($ 155,000) and setting a new auction record for the artist’s work.
As the pandemic continues to hamper the functioning of businesses in many parts of the world, the Asian art market appears to be thriving. According to Jonathan Cheung, a Hong Kong-based art advisor who bidding remotely during the sale on behalf of an Asia-based client, the Phillips sale is proof of that. “The results have been remarkable,” said Cheung. “I guess after Art Basel Hong Kong it shows how strong the market is here in Asia.”