Poly Auction HK’s decaversary sales dazzles with US$127m total from six departments | Auctions News | THE VALUE | Art News

2022-07-15 21:34:15 By : Ms. Andy Huang

Poly Auction Hong Kong’s 10th anniversary sales ended with glittering results.

Throughout five consecutive days, six departments attained a sale total of more than HK$1 billion (around US$127 million) dollars. The total hammer price was also higher than the pre-sale total estimate.

In view of this performance, this article reviews major deals – starting with Basquiat's 1981 masterpiece, Untitled – which fetched HK$105 million (around US$13.3 million) dollars.  Lot 8 | Jean-Michel Basquiat | Untitled; Acrylic, spray paint, oilstick and paper collage on canvas

Created in 1981 122 x 142 cm Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale Sold: HK$105,600,000 (around US$13.4 million)

Modern and Contemporary Art Department | Sale Total: HK$445,852,800 (around US$56.7 million)

All 24 lots offered were sold – which produced a white-glove sale and garnered a sale total of HK$410 million (around US$52.2 million) dollars.  American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1981 Untitled painting was the most expensive lot – which landed HK$105 million (around US$13.4 million) dollars. It was also the first lot to exceed HK$100 million dollars during the house’s decennial sales.

Alongside Basquiat's work, seven paintings sold for over HK$10 million dollars. American artist, Wayne Thiebaud's Encased Cakes and Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie's Lidless Eye amassed HK$79.2 and HK$60 million dollars – ranking second and third place.  It is worth noting that Thiebaud's Encased Cakes became his second most expensive oeuvre sold at auction – after Four Pinball Machines (1962). In 2020, it realised US$19.1 million dollars at Christie's New York. 

In the Asian Art market, the appetite for Western Modern and Contemporary Art masterpieces in recent years have proliferated in Hong Kong. The auction record for Western Art is HK$323 million (around US$41.5 million) dollars, which was set by Basquiat’s blue Warrior painting. In response to this market demand, Poly Auction's strategy to feature celebrated Western artists proved successful.  Lot 11 | Wayne Thiebaud | Encased Cakes, Oil on canvas

Created in 2010-2011 182.9 x 121.9 cm Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale Sold: HK$79,200,000 (around US$10 million) Lot 145 | Zhou Chunya | Peach Blossom, Oil on canvas

Created in 2006 120 x 150 cm Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art Day Sale Sold: HK$3,000,000 (around US$380,000)

The Modern and Contemporary Art Day Sale’s tallied HK$35.8 million (around US$4.5 million) dollars in total – led by Chinese painter Zhou Chunya's Peach Blossom work at HK$3 million dollars. Judging from the bidding response, a group of artists born in the 1980s were particularly popular – including China’s Zhang Kai, Zhang Yingnan and Xu Hongxiang; and Japan’s Miu Komatsu and Tomoko Nagai.

In recent years, Spanish artist Edgar Plans’ popularity has risen sharply. During this season, his success continued – his painting, Jedi Gourmet, which depicts protagonists from Star Wars. Estimated at HK$320,000 dollars, and after fierce competition, it fetched HK$1.1 million dollars with buyer’s premium. Lot 101 | Edgar Plans | Jedi Gourmet, Mixed media on canvas

Created in 2019 53.5 x 46.4 cm Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art Day Sale Sold: HK$1,140,000 (around US$140,000)

Lot 2045 | Cartier | 8.388 Carat Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring

Includes: SSEF, Appendix Letter titled Exceptional Ruby Gubelin, appendix to Platinum Award No. 2763 titled “One ring with a magnificent 8.38 ct Burmese Ruby", and Cartier certificate Sale: Magnificent Jewels Sold: HK$57,600,000 (around US$7.3 million)

Magnificent Jewels and Important Watches | Sale Total: HK$230,182,800 (around US$29.3 million)

The jewellery sale achieved a sale total of HK$196 million (around US$24.9 million) dollars. The top lot was a Cartier Burmese ruby and diamond ring, centering a cushion-shaped ruby weighing 8.388 carats, accented with 2 triangular diamonds of 1.07 carats; and further paved with 12 baguette-cut diamonds of 0.79 carat and 156 circular-cut diamonds of 1.84 carats in total.

Cartier's Haute Joaillerie collection has always been amongst the most sought-after jewelry for high-net-worth collectors and stars at auctions, as each piece is unique and extremely hard to come by. Named as The Fleur de Lotus Ring by Cartier, the ring boasts exceptional design and craftsmanship, which enhance the vivid rich red colour of the gemstone.

There were three other lots that reached the HK$10 million-dollar benchmark – including a jadeite bead and diamond necklace, a Colombian emerald and diamond necklace by prominent American jeweller, Harry Winston; and a pair of heart-shaped diamonds weighing over 30 carats. Lot 2382 | Patek Philippe | Ref. 5711/112P, Nautilus, Platinum and Ruby-Set Rounded Octagonal Automatic Bracelet Watch, with Date Display. Comes with origin certificate and watch box

Manufactured in circa 2020 Sale: Important Watches Sold: HK$8,400,000 (around US$1 million)

As for watches, the sale achieved a total of HK$34.3 million (around US$4.3 million) dollars – where the three most valuable lots were all Patek Philippe Nautilus watches.

A timepiece with Reference 5711/112P was the most expensive. Adorned with a ruby-set bezel, it appeared at auction for the first time and netted HK$8.4 million (around US$1 million) dollars. Alongside this lot, two stainless-steel watches with olive-green dials were the second and third priciest lots.

In the past few years, the stainless-steel Nautilus achieved record prices in the auction market. The main reason is that Patek Philippe announced in 2021 that the iconic Nautilus with Reference 5711 would be discontinued in 2022 – adding to its rarity.

Lot 3312 | Copper Red Glazed “Dragons at Sea” Vase, Meiping

Created during Yongzheng period (1723-1735) Height: 27.8 cm Sale: Colours Beyond Landscapes: Important Chinese Art including European and American Collections Sold: HK$30,000,000 (around US$3.8 million)

Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art | Sale Total: HK$218,526,000 (US$27.8 million)

Four sales pulled in nearly HK$220 million (around US$27.8 million) dollars, where four lots realised more than HK$10 million dollars. Among them, it was an imperial copper-red glazed vase from Yongzheng period (1723-1735) which fetched HK$30 million to take the crown.

Inspired by early 15th century porcelain prototypes, the present vase is a rare example of a small group of wares made for the early 18th-century Imperial Chinese court. They feature reserved dragons carved in low relief against a ground of crashing waves executed in variations of underglaze blue and red.

It is potted in robust form with swelling shoulder, short cylindrical neck and flared lip and foot. The shoulder is carved in low relief with two dramatic sinuous five-clawed dragons, above a smaller pair of incised dragons at the foot. All dragons are reserved in white and depicted against stylized crashing wave in underglaze red. The underside is inscribed with a six-character mark within a double circle. Lot 3225 | Sancai Glazed Jar

Created during Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) Height: 52.5 cm Sale: Tang Sancai Ceramics From The Ten-views Lingbi Rock Retreat Collection Sold: HK$7,200,000 (around US$920,000)

While Tang (618-907 CE) sancai is highly-prized all over the world, its market at auctions has been sluggish in recent years. With a sale dedicated to Tang sancai ceramics, the auction house has made a bold move.

The result, in the end, turned out to be jaw-dropping. Seven of 63 lots offered were unsold, gathering a sale total of over HK$50 million dollars with a sell-through rate of 89 per cent. Many of them achieved a hammer price far above the pre-sale estimate – with the present lot being the most impressive.

Rare and of high quality, it was hammered down at HK$6 million dollars – exceeding its pre-sale low estimate of HK$300,000 dollars by 20 times. With buyer's premium, it was sold for HK$7.2 million (around US$917,000) dollars. One of the reasons for this sale's success is perhaps the provenance of the collection, which either dates back nearly a century or owned by leading antique dealers, such as Eskenazi, Christian Deydier and J.J. Lally.

Lot 431 | Zhang Daqian | Sheer Peaks and Deep Valley, Ink and colour on silk

Painting: 222 x 87.5cm | Calligraphy: 9 x 87.5cm Sale: Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Sold: HK$13,800,000 (around US$1.7 million)

Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy | Sale Total: HK$72,032,400 (around US$9.1 million)

More than 200 works of Chinese paintings and calligraphy were presented, with a sale total of HK$72 million (around US$9.1 million) dollars.  Modern and contemporary painting and calligraphy was led by Picasso of the East, Zhang Daqian’s Sheer Peaks and Deep Valley landscape painting garnered HK$13.8 million (around US$1.7 million) dollars, taking the top spot.

A master at Chinese painting and calligraphy, he was skilled in a wide range of paintings – landscapes, characters, flowers, and birds. In April 2022, Zhang’s Landscape after Wang Ximeng oeuvre fetched HK$370 million – setting a new auction record for the artist.

As for classical calligraphy and painting, 17th century prominent Chinese painter Xiao Yuncong's Endless Mountains long hand scroll performed best. In the end, it realised HK$8.6 million (around US$1.1 million) dollars with buyer’s premium. Lot 383 | Xiao Yuncong | Endless Mountains

Created in 1668 30.5 x 570 cm Sale: Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Sold: HK$8,640,000 (around US$1.1 million)

Lot 1548 | Seven pieces of antique pu’er tea cakes, ‘tong xing hao', xiang qingji

Circa 1920s Weight: approximately 2246g Non-fermented tea Sold: HK$5,280,000 (around US$672,000)

Rare Wine, Whisky and Chinese Tea | Sale Total: HK$ 25,489,680 (around US$3.4 million)

The most expensive lot went to a 1920s 7-piece pu’er tea cake weighing around 2.24 kilograms, which garnered HK$5.2 million (around US$672,000) dollars after fees.

In recent years, the market for aged pu'er tea has grown tremendously and it has become the latest collector's item to rise to luxury status. Last year at Poly Auction Hong Kong, another seven-piece century-old pu'er tea fetched a whopping HK$13.8 million (around US$1.7 million), meaning each piece is valued around HK$1.9 million dollars.

Having stopped operation in 2001, prices for bottles from Japanese whisky distillery, Karuizawa, has augmented. During this auction, the distillery featured several series that are coveted among collectors – including the Water of Life, Geisha, Noh, and the Servant. Bottled between In 2014 and 2015, the Servant Collection has a limited production ranging from 175 to 508 bottles. Lot 1307 | Karuizawa Samurai Full Set

Manufactured in 2014-2015 Sale: Moutai, Whisky and Cognac Sold: HK$816,000 (around US$103,000)

Lot 2471 | Hermes | Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 25 with Palladium Hardware

Created in 2020  25 x 18 x 13 cm Sale: Noble Handbags and Hype Collectibles Sold: HK$1,980,000 (around US$240,000)

Noble Handbags and Hype Collectibles | Sale Total: HK$16.9 million (around US$2.1 million) dollars

Among handbag lovers, the Hermes Himalaya Birkin is hailed as the Holy Grail in a collection, while the Himalaya Kelly is dubbed as the rarest bag in the world. At the handbags sale, both were offered and sold for nearly HK$2 million to become the top lots. 

Himalaya bags are perhaps the most sought-after items at fashion auctions. The Himalaya bag is named for the Himalaya mountains, not because of its origin, but rather of the delicate gradation of the colour. The smoky grey and brown on the sides gradually fades into a pearly white in the centre, resembling the snow-capped Himalaya peaks. 

Handcrafted, every Himalaya bag is unique and can be styled to the client’s preference. Due to the time-consuming construction process, the brand only offers an extremely limited number of Himalaya bags to its VIP clients, making them nearly impossible to come by and a true collector’s item of excellent market value. Lot 2738 | Hermes | Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourne Kelly 25 with Palladium Hardware

Created in 2020  25 x 18 x 10 cm Sale: Noble Handbags and Hype Collectibles Sold: HK$1,920,000 (around US$240,000)