Sotheby’s Happy in Hong Kong

Sotheby’s is very, very happy with its Hong Kong sales for the Boundless; Contemporary Art auction, which saw nearly 60% of the lots fetch above their high estimates. Total for the night was MK$ 41.5m (US$ 5.3m) One of the many stars of the night was a Keith Haring piece (Untitled, 1983) it quadrupled the estimates achieving $536,000 including fees. Thirteen of his works have fetched over a million dollars at auctions since 2007. Sotheby’s started trying to sell his work though their Hong Kong branch in January 2014. They finally found buyers, but it took another year for Haring’s Eastern market to emerge. On June 11, Sotheby’s actually sold two works by Keith Haring, So the sale of Western Contemporary art in the East at last appears to be bearing fruit, opening a new way for Western auctioneers to benefit from Asian purchasing power. On the whole, Western artists still have a lot of catching up to do on the Eastern secondary market. They are usually cheaper in Hong Kong than in London and New York where demand is in full swing. For example, Jeff KOONS’ multiple Balloon Venus Dom Pérignon, edited in 650 copies, sold for $51,600 at Sotheby’s HK whereas another identical copy from the same series fetched twice that sum on the same day in London ($105,859 at Phillips). This truly does ensure there is a turning point for the stature of Western artists in Hong Kong. Hong Kong today stands out as the primary Asian marketplace working towards a genuine globalization of demand.

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