Explore the Relevance of Chinese Contemporary Ink at Christie’s

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Chinese contemporary ink artists are extremely appreciable to the current Chinese society as they represent the link between China’s great past and the galloping tempo towards its future. Since the early 2000s the market demand for Chinese Contemporary Ink paintings has grown rapidly and artists such as Liu Dan or Liu Kuo-Sung have become Chinese art stars. Nonetheless, their works still lie in an affordable price range making them a great collectible and investment for Asian as well as Western collectors.

On 28th November, Christie’s Hong Kong will offer 71 outstanding artworks in their Chinese Contemporary Ink sale. The auction will present pieces by artists who created the new face of Chinese painting by linking a thousands-years old medium with the present including Liu Dan, Liu Kuo-Sung, Lee Chun-Yi or Qiu Zhijie among others.

Larry’s List highlights five outstanding works from this auction. Additionally, we tell you which mega collectors already collect those works…



Collectors of Liu Dan: Jerry Yang, Sandra Nunnerley, Hugh Moss (data provided by Larry’s List)

Sandra Nunnerley

Within “Scholar’s Rock – Grotto Heaven” Liu Dan removes the object from its original body by embedding it on a blank background in a hyper realistic and precise way. By using this technique, he achieves decontextualisation, which is typical for his works.

“Scholar’s Rock – Grotto Heaven (2016)”
Estimate: HKD 2,400,000 – HKD 3,600,000



Lee Chun-Yi’s “Mao Triptych: Wan Sui, Wan Shui, Wan Wan Sui” was created in 2008 when the Beijing Olympics took space, showing a strong China to the world. The artist used the image of Mao Zedong in order to showcase the turbulent development of the recent Chinese history. The Mao painting is accompanied by two landscape paintings, forming a tryptich and showing opposite political ideologies.
Today Lee Chun-Yi metaphorical paintings are included in renowned Western museums such as the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford or the Norton Museum of Art in Florida making them an attractive collectable for international collectors.

“Mao Triptych: Wan Sui, Wan Shui, Wan Wan Sui (2008)”
Estimate: HKD 450,000 – HKD 650,000



Collectors of Liu Kuo-Sung: Wilbur Ross, Allison Liu (data provided by Larry’s List)

The works of Liu Kuo-Sung satisfy not only on an aesthetically level but are also a very good financial investment.

Allison Liu

The piece offered in the sale is an outstanding work from his Caligraphic Abstraction series, which marked his breaktrough in the 1960s. Painted with a large brush, it combines beautiful elements of Chinese nature and Western abstraction.

“Up Into the White Unknown (1987)”
Estimate: HKD 1,800,000 – HKD 2,800,000



Collectors of Irene Chou: Uli Sigg (data provided by Larry’s List)

Irene Chou was majorly influenced by the abstract expressionism movement in the 1960s. While striving to retain the essence of Chinese traditional art she experimented with abstraction techniques and reimagined traditional ink painting as a contemporary art form in a radical way. “Untitled” from 1992 exemplifies her unique style and shows an eye painted in dynamic shapes loading the whole work full of energy.

“Untitled (1992)”
Estimate: HKD 300,000 – HKD 400,000


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Collectors of Qiu Zhijie: Dominique and Sylvain Levy, Monique and Max Burger, Guy and Myriam Ullens (data provided by Larry’s List)

Qiu Zhijie perceives ink and brush as his innate tool to devise his thoughts and ideas. He brings innovations into his ink paintings by incorporating contemporary subject matters, new techniques and presentation methods. He is dedicated to revive the ancient literati tradition.

From Qiu Zhijie’s “30 Letters to Qiu Jiawa”, the triptych featured here evolves from Qiu’s on-going sociological project on suicide and the iconic Nanjing Yangzi River Bridge. It offers a poignant commentary on China’s rapid modernisation and the social effect it might have on the collective mind.
Encompassing calligraphy and its video documentation, “Ten Poems by Su Shi” explores the dialectics of appearance and disappearance. Qiu has written the text in backward stroke order and reverse spatial order.

“30 Letters To Qiu Jiawa” and Ten Poems by Su Shi”
HKD 1,500,000 – HKD 2,000,000 and HKD 120,000 – HKD 180,000


¹ Asia Week New York
² “The art of investing”, Nanyang Technological University