Home Art sale Picasso and Van Gogh Break Asian Record Despite Unsatisfactory Results at Sotheby’s Evening Sale | Auction news | THE VALUE

Picasso and Van Gogh Break Asian Record Despite Unsatisfactory Results at Sotheby’s Evening Sale | Auction news | THE VALUE


A powerful tropical cyclone swept across southern China, but it did not deter an international auction house from continuing its sale on October 9. Sotheby’s Hong Kong Modern Art Evening Sale was well below expectations, with a total hammer price of HK $ 485 million (approximately $ 61.7 million) – less than the estimated total price of HK $ 648 million (US $ 83.2 million).

The Asian masters, namely the paintings of Zao Wou-ki and Sanyu did not perform well on sale. Rodin’s Napoleon marble sculpture, valued at HK $ 70 million (approx. $ 9 million), has been retired.

Despite these poor results, new records were set. that of Picasso Crouching woman executed most brilliantly. The lot was sold for HK $ 191.6 million (approximately US $ 24.6 million) – the highest price ever for a work by Picasso in Asia.

Van Gogh’s painting, Still Life: Vase aux Glaieuls, debuted in an Asian auction and was sold for HK $ 71 million (approx. HK $ 9.1 million). He set a record for a van Gogh painting sold in Asia.

Lot 1017 | Pablo Picasso | Crouching Woman, Oil and ripolin on canvas

Established in 1954
92.2 x 73 cm

  • Louise Leiris Gallery, Paris
  • Collection of Kate and Allan Emil (acquired from the above in 1957)
  • Private collection, New York (by donation before 1969)

Estimated price: 150,000,000 HK $ – 230,000,000 (approx. US $ 19.2-29.5 million)

Hammer price: HK $ 165,000,000

Sold: HK $ 191,651,000 (approx. $ 24.6 million)

Pablo and Jacqueline


Crouching woman (Crouching Lady, 1954) represents Jacqueline Roque, the last lover and wife of Picasso. Jacqueline has become the most frequent and long-standing subject of Picasso’s career, appearing in over 400 portraits, surpassing all of her husband’s previous lovers such as Françoise Gilot and Marie-Thérèse Walter.

Before Jacqueline moved to the south of France, she was married to a colonial official and lived in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). Picasso, who was captivated by African culture for more than half a century, was fascinated by Jacqueline’s experiences on the continent. He once said: “Jacqueline is of African descent.

President of Sotheby’s Asia, Patti Wong

All of Delacroix, Matisse and Jacqueline inspired Picasso to transform his muse into one of the odalisques so often present in orientalist paintings. In addition to Jacqueline’s physical resemblance to a languid and sensual odalisque, she also had a gentle temperament.

The power dynamic in Pablo and Jacqueline’s relationship is fully reflected in the model’s sitting posture and her gentle gaze meeting that of the artist outside the painting.

The auctioneer started the auction with HK $ 120 million and received a total of nine bids. London, New York and Hong Kong all competed. In the end, Patti Wong, president of Sotheby’s for the Asia region, won the auction for the number 69 client of the paddle. This Picasso painting was hammered for HK $ 165 million (approx. $ 21.2 million). It was sold for HK $ 191 million (approx. US $ 24.5 million) with premium buy. It broke the previous auction record for a work by Picasso sold in Asia, with the Spanish artist’s Matador painting selling for $ 17.9 million earlier this year.

Lot 1020 | Vincent Van Gogh | Still Life: Vase aux Glaieuls, Oil on canvas

Created in the summer of 1886
51.2 x 38.8 cm
Provenance (modified by the value):

  • Theodore Duret
  • Paul Cassirer, Berlin (acquired directly from the above in March 1912)
  • Bernheim-Jeune Gallery
  • Paris Alden Brooks, acquired in 1928
  • Elwin Litchfield Phillips Jr., Jacksonville, Florida (acquired directly from the above sale and sold by the estate: Sotheby’s, New York, May 11, 1999, lot 129)
  • Private collection, United States (acquired directly from the above sale and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 14, 2016, Lot 8, sold for US $ 5,862,500)
  • Important Private Collection (acquired directly from the above sale)

Estimated price: HK $ 70,000,000-100,000,000 (approx. $ 9-12.8 million)

Hammer price: HK $ 60,000,000

Sold: 71,006,000 HK $ (approximately $ 9.1 million)


by Van Gogh Still Life: Gladiolus Vase is a painting of red gladiolus flowers, made in the summer of 1886. It was one of more than 35 still lifes of flowers that he painted in Paris that same summer.

It depicts tall spikes of flowers blooming from a small vase, and flower buds dominate the upper parts of the work. The nature of the sword lilies allowed the Dutch master to experiment with compositions with a triangular structure and a looser brush style.

Van Gogh experimented with variations of red and united the subject with its backdrop through a single primary color. The shiny, quivering petals are juxtaposed with dark shadows cast on the wall and table, adding to a sense of theater.

The auctioneer started bidding at HK $ 52 million. In the end, this Van Gogh oil painting was hammered for HK $ 60 million (approx. US $ 7.7 million). Felix Kwok, head of modern art at Sotheby’s, Asia department, made an offer for client number 62 of the paddle. It was sold for HK $ 71 million (approximately US $ 9.1 million).

Lot 1019 | Sanyu | Sleeping Nude, Oil on Masonite

Created in the 1950s

  • Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 1966
  • Yves Bideau (Jean François Bideau), Paris
  • Jean-Claude Riedel, Paris (sold: Paris, Hôtel Drouot, July 6, 1983, Lot 53)
  • Dreyfus Collection, Paris
  • Important Private Collection

Estimated price: 100,000,000 HK $ – 150,000,000 (approx. US $ 12.8-19.2 million)

Hammer price: HK $ 68,000,000

Sold: HK $ 80,198,000 (approximately $ 10.2 million)


The Sino-French modernist, who is hailed as the “Chinese Matisse”, was one of the first generation Chinese artists who studied in France.

Sanyu lived in Paris at a time when Europe was the great hall of the arts. Romantic love has inspired countless artistic works.

According to a monograph published in 1995 by art critic Chen Yanfeng, the artist dated a blonde woman in the 1950s and 1960s, which he then introduced to Chang Daqian as a model. A few days later, Zhang gave Sanyu a signed portrait of his girlfriend. Today, this portrait by Zhang Daqian of Sanyu’s girlfriend belongs to the collection of the Taipei National History Museum.

The auctioneer launched the auction at HK $ 55 million and three bids were accepted. In the end, the hammer fell for just HK $ 68 million (around US $ 8.7 million). The deal was sold with a buyer’s premium of HK $ 80.19 million (approx. US $ 10.2 million), ranking second among the most expensive sales. The offer was won by the president of Sotheby’s Asia, Patti Wong, for client number 69 of the paddle.

Artistic preference or market?

Modern and contemporary works of art continue to sell well despite the pandemic, but performance in both categories has weakened during this auction period.

Contemporary artwork focused on Western art has sold better than modern artwork. It remains to be seen whether this is due to Asia and the market, or a preference for contemporary art over modern art.

Following the sales in London and New York, The Value will discuss this more in future articles.

Lots withdrawn and unsold:

The inscription “Envelope dans son Rêve” is found on the marble sculpture Napoleon by Rodin

Lot 1016 | Auguste Rodin | Napoleon Envelops in his Dream, White Carrara marble

Created in 1904-1909
Height: 70cm
Estimated price: HK $ 70,000,000-90,000,000 (approx. US $ 9-11.5 million)
Took of

Lot 1047 | Zao Wou-ki | 09.30.65, Oil on canvas

Established in 1965
Estimated price: HK $ 70,000,000-100,000,000 (approx. $ 9-12.8 million)

Lot 1046 | Zao Wou-ki | 14.12.62, Oil on canvas

Established in 1962
129.8 x 97 cm
Estimated price: HK $ 58,000,000-88,000,000 (approx. $ 7.4-11.3 million)

Other flagship lots:

Lot 1015 | Georges mathieu | Tuz Golu, Oil on canvas (New auction record for the artist)

Created in 1875

  • Artist’s collection
  • Artist’s estate
  • Important European Private Collection (acquired directly from the above)

Estimated price: HK $ 14,000,000 – 18,000,000 (approximately US $ 1.8-2.3 million)

Hammer price: HK $ 15,000,000

Sold: HK $ 18,325,000 (approx. $ 2.3 million)

Lot 1015 | Pierre-Auguste Renoir | La couseuse, Oil on canvas

Created in 1875

  • Edmond Renoir, Paris (brother of the artist)
  • Marcel Kapferer, Paris (sale: Galerie Charpentier, Paris, June 26, 1934, Lot 20)
  • Etienne Bignou, Paris (acquired directly from the above sale)
  • Alexis. Reid & Lefevre (The Lefevre Gallery), London
  • Arthur Weisweiller, Paris (acquired from the above on June 22, 1935)
  • Noël-Guy Weisweiller, Paris
  • Sam Salz, New York
  • Arnold Kirkeby, New York (sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, November 19, 1958, Lot 10)
  • Marlborough Gallery, New York (acquired directly from the above sale)
  • Ms. Nathan Goldstein (acquired about 1958 and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 8, 1995, Lot 43)
  • Private collection (acquired directly from the above sale)
  • Important Private Collection

Estimated price: HK $ 30,000,000-50,000,000 (approximately US $ 3.8-6.4 million)

Hammer price: HK $ 26,000,000

Sold: HK $ 31,635,000 (approx. US $ 4 million)

Auction results:

Sale: Evening sale of modern art
Date and time: October 9, 2021 | 6 p.m. Hong Kong local time
Number of units: 44
Sold: 38
Unsold: 6
Sale rate: 86%
Total sale: HK $ 580,214,000 (approx. $ 74.5 million)


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