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Christie`s eyes new record at autumn art auctions


A cache of Asian art, Chinese jade and porcelain goes under the hammer in Hong Kong next week at what global auction house Christie`s expects will be another record-breaking sale in an apparently insatiable market.

The autumn auction sales, expected to net $231 million, run from November 25-29 and will feature a myriad of top-notch contemporary and modern art, imperial porcelain, a famed collection of Chinese jades as well as jewelry and watches.

"I think we can look forward to one of the highest (Asian) sales we`ve had," said Jonathan Stone, international business director of Asian Art for Christie`s who expects to sell up to HK$1.8 billion ($231 million) of artwork.

Christie`s record for a Hong Kong auction sales is US$210 million, set last autumn.

Stone shrugged off the effect of recent volatility in global stock markets, including Hong Kong, on auction.

"The sales we`ve been having in New York of Impressionist and contemporary and post-war art suggests that the market for art worldwide is very strong," he added.

Among the highlights is a collection of 15 Chinese objects of art inspired by the West including a rare Beijing enamel glass brushpot decorated with a quartet of European "mother and child" pictures from the Qianlong period which could fetch $3.8 million.

"It has Western figures probably taken from prints and these have been very finely enameled ... they`re brilliantly done," said Pola Antebi, head of Chinese ceramics at Christie`s.

Other notable items include a blue and white "Boys" Ming jar, expected to fetch up to $5 million and a large bronze of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy which could be sold for $4.5 million.

Another centerpiece will be a collection of jades acquired over half a century by New York collectors Alan and Simone Hartmann -- a category of Chinese art seen to hold good value.

"As we see prices rising in many other categories, collectors today are... focusing their attention on jades and other works of art, rather than just ceramics," said Antebi.

The sale will also include a dazzling selection of major works in the red-hot category of contemporary Chinese art, with ever more manic grinning portraits by Yue Minjun and a massive series of "gunpowder" paintings by Cai Guoqiang.

An idyllic Taiwan port oil painting by Chen Cheng-Po could become one of the most expensive Chinese paintings ever sold.

In the Southeast Asian category -- "Market Scene" by the Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet has a remarkable provenance. This masterwork of a Balinese market scene with graceful semi-nudes and animals was discovered in a Chinese restaurant in Germany, where it had hung unnoticed for 40 years.

The large work, which still has visible sauce and grease stains on a browning canvas, is expected to fetch $500,000, a relative steal compared with the soaring valuations of China`s star artists.

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18.09.2017
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