Seoul Auction also finds times hard in HK; Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama lots crash

Christie's HK is not the only one having a hard time this fall by Chinese collectors. Seoul Auction in Hong Kong only raised US$8.6 million at its sale of art works, less than half of the expected estimate, underlying the current softness of the market and proving that Chinese collectors might not quite be ready to pay heady prices for international contemporary art work. Of the 49 works available, 20 were unsold amid thin bidding. The star lot, Jeff Koons’s sculpture “Smooth Egg with Bow,” was unsold, as was three Yayoi Kusama works went unsold. British artist Damien Hirst’s “Controlled Substances Key Painting,” went to an absentee bidder for HK$9.2 million. But a unusual Zheng Fanzhi, Mask Series No. 15 (1997), a rather unusual piece what mixes the rawness of Zeng's earlier meat series with a solitary masked figure, sold above its estimate.