New York has had a bumpy start to the spring auction season, with 30 percent of the lots at Sotheby's Impressionist and modern art sale on May 7th failing to find a bidder. Christie's sale a day earlier was decent but not spectacular, with a $285.9 million total falling squarely within estimates.
An ink depiction by Fu Baoshi of three men mulling over a game of Go fetched HK$38.7 million ($5 million) in Hong Kong, the priciest item at an auction of classical Chinese paintings marked by fervent mainland buying.
It was standing room only in Sotheby’s Hong Kong saleroom as auctioneer Quek Chin Yeow brought down the hammer on Fu Baoshi’s “Court Ladies,” the top lot in a HK$407.3 million ($52.5 million) sale of Chinese ink paintings.
A painting that was initially valued at just 50 pounds ($75) sold for HK$3.03 million ($390,000) in a weekend auction by Christie’s International in Hong Kong, setting a record for a work by a Vietnamese artist.