Fine Chinese Classical paintings soar at Christie's; best sale ever

DONG QICHANG (1555-1636)
Poems in Running Script Calligraphy
Christie’s spring sale of Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy raised $26.4 million with an overall sold rate of 86% by lot and 91% by value, generating the highest earning sale in the history of the Chinese Classical Painting category for Christie’s.

Ben Kong, International Specialist Head of Christie’s Chinese Paintings Department, said the total sale volume was up 52% on the same sale last spring, making this one the most valuable Chinese Classical Paintings & Calligraphy sale in the history of Christie’s. 

Of particular note was Dong Qichang’s work, Poems in Running Script Calligraphy, which contains the collectors’ seals of Emperor Qianlong and Emperor Jiaqing and is published in the critically acclaimed literature, Shiqu Baoji. After several rounds of fierce bidding, the work was sold for HK$57,780,000, over ten times the pre-sale estimate.

SHEN ZHOU(Att. to, 1427-1509)
Farewell to Wu Kuan

Also included in the top ten is the rare handscroll entitled, Farewell to Wu Kuan. Attributed to revered Ming Dynasty court painter Shen Zhou, the work includes several colophons of renowned collectors dating back to the Ming Dynasty. The important artistic value of this work has been widely recognized by prominent art collectors of each successive dynasty. This lot sold for HK$37,060,000, in multiples of its pre-sale estimate.

Fish in Spring Water

Another top-selling lot was Fish in Spring Water by an anonymous artist (12th-13th century), which sold for HK$8,420,000, also in multiples of its pre-sale estimate.”

The strong results of the sale affirm the great confidence and enthusiasm of the collectors for this category, made further indicative by the fiercely competitive bidding that took place. According to Christie's this sale attracted active bidding from a diverse group of international collectors, 84% of which hailed from Greater China.