Tough debut at Christie's Hong Kong as Chinese buyers pick and choose

Yu Minjin's the artist and his friends
It's been a tough Autum sale debut for Christie's Hong Kong. Its two-day wine sale raised only $5.8 million, with 77% sold by lot and 73 % sold by value. With wine auctions often completly sold out, this was, if any, an indication that even Chinese buyers are being affected by the crisis. Things didn't improved at the evening sale of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art Saturday, which raised $50.98 million, with 74% sold by lot and 77% sold by value. The evening sale included Faces of New China, an important private collection, which had 14 lots with a total estimate of HK$150 million, and tellingly the auction house did not separate the results of the sale in its press release, but bundle everything together. However, closer looks reveal only 8 of the lots sold raising only HK$101 million, so almost a third less than expected! In fact works by Zhang Xiaogang (the cover of the catalogue), Liu Ye and Cai Guo-Qiang fail to find buyers.
This Zhang Xiaogang painting was unsold 

This Liu Ye painting didn't sell

Zao Wou-Ki is continuing to be collectors's top choice with five of his works sold 2-3 times higher than their pre-sale estimates  - Cerf Volant et Oiseaux led the night, selling for $4.5 million.

Zao's Cerf volant et oiseaux

Yu Minjin's the Massacre of Chios also sold for $4.1 million, while portrait of the artist and friend sold for $2.9 million.

Other highlights of the evening include the notable results for Japanese modern artist Leonard Foujita and Zenzaburo Kojima, whose works saw significant cross-cultural buying and underbidding from collectors around the region.