What Are the Highlights of Sotheby’s Hong Kong Sales?
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Works from the collection of Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei will go under the hammer in a single-owner sale, while paintings by Gerhard Richter and Willem de Kooning will lead the Contemporary Evening Auction.
Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Nu au chat (1930). Ink and oil on canvas. 97.5 x 163 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's.
This season's offerings are notable for the sale A Long Journey: A Selection from the Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei Collection on 5 October. The sale includes almost 40 works from a single collection belonging to the founders of Shanghai's Long Museum.
The selection of works 'is fully reflective of the expansive and enlightened approach that has always underpinned Liu and Wang's collecting journey,' said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's Chairman, Asia, when the auction was first announced.
Key works include René Magritte's Le miroir universel (1938–1939) for H.K. $70 million–$95 million (U.S. $8.9 million–$12.1 million), and David Hockney's A picture of a Lion (2017) for H.K. $42 million–$55 million (U.S. $5.4 million–$7 million).
One work that is likely to drive significant interest is Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani's portrait Paulette Jourdain (ca. 1919) for an undisclosed sum. (Sotheby's sold the work for U.S. $42.8 million in New York in 2015.)
Jourdain was almost 15 years old when she moved to Paris and began working for Modigliani's dealer, Léopold Zborowski. She became one of Modigliani's favourite sitters prior to his death by tubercular meningitis in 1920 at the age of 35.
A different reclining nude, Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita's ink and oil on canvas painting Nu au chat (1930), pictured top, carries an estimate of H.K. $40 million–$60 million (U.S. $5.1 million to U.S. $7.7 million). Born in Japan in 1886, Foujita moved to Paris in 1913, living in the city at the same time as Modigliani.
He wowed Parisians with his nudes, which combined Western-style compositions with the use of Eastern materials and techniques. Foujita's nudes can now be found in major museum collections, including those of the Fukuoka Art Museum and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Another major work in the auction is Chinese artist's Zao Wou-ki's wistful 10.03.78 (ca. 1978), which he painted to mark the sixth anniversary of his wife's death in 1972. The work carries an estimate of HK $32 million–$50 million (U.S. $4.1 million–$6.4 million).
Gerhard Richter's 2 x 2.5-metre squeegee painting Abstraktes Bild 811-1 (1994) stars in the Contemporary Evening Auction on 5 October with an estimate of H.K. $70 million–$100 million (U.S. $9.0 million–$12.8 million).
The emerald and sapphire canvas, intersected with dramatic bruises of strawberry and maroon, was included in the 1995 exhibition Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties at Anthony d'Offay Gallery in London. Other works from the show can now be found in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Tate London, and Tokyo's National Museum of Modern Art, among others.
Another highlight is Willem de Kooning's Souvenir de Toulouse (1958), which has an estimate of H.K. $50 million–$70 million (U.S. $6.4 million–$8.9 million.)
The painting is one of de Kooning's 'abstract parkway landscapes', which were painted during a period when the artist was shuttling between New York City and Long Island. The lines of the royal blue suggest the angled pillar that supports a car window, from which sunlight bursts in. —[O]