Sotheby's - Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art Auction Analysis

June 4, 2015

If, at the end of the year, we would've wanted to talk about successful auctions in 2015, then Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art Auction at Sotheby's Beijing probably wouldn't have come in mind. In fact, we could characterize it as a perfect sample of an average auction. Just above 70 percent of lots were sold, most of them changed hands in range of estimated values, even the sum of hammer prices was just in the middle, when we look at sums of low and high estimates. Zao Wou-Ki's 15.2.93 was, by far, the most expensive lot, as it was sold for almost three times of second-placed lot's hammer price (Liu Wei's Landscape, $564,634).

The Story About Artwork - Zao Wou-Ki's 15.2.93 (1993)

This painting of Zao Wou-Ki was made when the artist was in his seventies, and it is considered that, with this artwork, he managed to surpass everything he had done up to that point. As Zao Wou-Ki grew older, his paintings became more and more elegant, as he, in his own words, wanted to use color "in a really simplified way". Painting 15.2.93, he chose five main blocks of color - purple, yellow, blue, pink, and indigo-black, which gave the painting a vast luminescence.

Sotheby's - Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art Auction in Details

Here you can find the summary of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art auction at Sotheby's Beijing, as well as detailed information on every lot auctioned at Sotheby's.

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All images and lot info courtesy of Sotheby's.

The Overview of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art Auction at Sotheby's

Sixty-two lots out of total 85 were sold at Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art auction at Sotheby's Beijing, which was good for modest 72.9 percent. Total of $5.53 million was gathered for this 62 sold lots, and their value prior to the auction was estimated at $4,67 - $6,91, so, these $5.53 million were right in the middle of range of total estimated value. And so was the vast majority of sold lots - 48 of them, or 77.4 percent, went for a price that was in range of estimated values. Twelve lots were sold over high estimate (19.4 percent), and just two lots changed owners for a price that was under low estiamte (3.2 percent). Zao Wou-Ki's painting had the highest hammer price with $1.48 million, and the average hammer price for the auction was $89,251.

The most successful lot of the sale, considering hammer price/high estimate ratio, was Liu Kuo-Sung's Cascade, that had +125 percent difference. Wang Guanjun's The Sentiment Series: Green Willow had +110 percent, Walasse Ting's Untitled had +108 and Liu Xiaodong's True Love had +80 percent difference between hammer price and high estimate. Only two lots that sold under low estimate were Miao Xiaochun's H2O The Fountain Of Youth - Front View (Triptych) (-10 percent difference between hammer price and low estimate) and Wei Jia's Saleman's Journey I (-8.3 percent).

Sotheby's Beijing
Cai Guo-Qiang - Wolves Of The Dark Night Drawing Experiment For Deutsche Guggenheim, 2005 (Lot 34). Estimated at $129,059 - $193,589, sold for $132,286, or with -31.7 percent difference.

Sotheby's Beijing
Walasse Ting (Ding Xiongquan) - Untitled, 1959 (Lot 30) (detail)

Sotheby's Beijing
Wang Xingwei - Eight Women's Suicide In A River, 2003 (Lot 37). Estimated at $403,310 - $564,634, sold for $419,442, fourth hammer price of the auction.

Sotheby's Beijing
Liu Kuo-Sung - Cascade, 1967 (Lot 26). Estimated at $25,812 - $32,265, sold for $72,596. This lot had the biggest difference between hammer price and high estimated with +125 percent difference.

Sotheby's Beijing
Left: Liu Xiaodong - True Love, 1991 (Lot 36). Estimated at $161,324 - $241,986, sold for $435,575. This lot was one of the most successful ones, as it had fourth-best hammer price and third-biggest difference between hammer price and high estimate, +80 percent. / Right: Wang Guanjun - The Sentiment Series: Green Willow (Lot 86). Estimated at $25,812 - $32,265, sold for $67,756, or with +110 percent difference - second-best result of the auction.

Sotheby's Beijing
Liu Wei - Landscape, 2006 (Lot 33). Estimated at $564,634 - $725,958, sold for low estimate. This lot had the second-highest hammer price of the auction.

Sotheby's Beijing
Walasse Ting (Ding Xiongquan) - Untitled, 1959 (Lot 30). Estimated at $24,199 - $40,331, sold $83,888, or with +108 percent difference - third best of the auction.

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