Sotheby’s Hong Kong bagged a little art coup. It will be selling on April 3 part of the Ullens Collection, considered as one of the most important collections of Chinese contemporary art! The Ullens Collection – The Nascence of Avant Garde China evening sale will offer 106 works, which are expected to bring a total of $12.7 million to $16.7 million (and that’s probably a very conservative estimate).
Born in Belgium, Baron Guy Ullens began collecting classical Chinese paintings in the early 1980s. After he retired from business in 2000, he and his wife Myriam began to devote their time and energy to cultural enterprises. The Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation was established in Switzerland in 2002, sponsoring exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art in Europe and China and loaning works of art from their collection to museums to promote contemporary Chinese art. In 2007, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) was established in the heart of Beijing’s 798 Art District, providing a vital exhibition platform for Chinese artists.
The Ullens collection is anchored by numerous pivotal works of historical value, including key works first shown in landmark exhibitions such as the China/Avant-Garde Exhibition (1989), which marked the dawn of contemporary art in China. Works offered in the sale are emblematic of the seminal period of contemporary Chinese art in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Highlighted in the sale, among others, are Zhang Xiaogang’s triptych Forever Lasting Love (Triptych) (Est. $3.2– $3.8 million, photo above), Mao Xuhui’s Paternalism Series No. 3 ($51,000 – 64,000) and Zhang Peili’s Series “X?” No. 3 (Est. $190,000 – $320,000), all recognised icons of the legendary 1989 China/Avant-Garde Exhibition and widely considered to be some of the most important contemporary Chinese works of art ever produced.