From Kusama and Zao Wou-Ki to ICONOCLAST at Christie’s Hong Kong This May

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This spring, Christie’s will present four 20th Century & Contemporary art sales in Hong Kong, encompassing two evening sales on 25th May, and two day sales on 26th May. The centrepiece of the auction season is a group of monumental abstract paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, including ‘Triptyque 1987-1988’ – one of the artist’s largest and most important triptychs.
Expect also works by other ground-breaking figures, from Zeng Fanzhi and Yayoi Kusama to KAWS and Gerhard Richter, together with Chu Teh-Chun, Lin Fengmian, Sean Scully, and George Condo.
This season also marks the debut of ICONOCLAST, a new evening sale featuring a diverse generation of artists born between 1969 and 1989. These iconoclasts challenge and critique widespread beliefs and institutions, while striving to push through boundaries and cultural conventions to create art for a global audience.
LARRY’S LIST highlights 10 works from the auctions and reveals which collectors are already collecting artworks by these artists!



Collectors of Kusama include: Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian, Zhou Chong, David Roberts, Antoine de Galbert (data provided by Larry’s List)

Collector-Daisuke-Miyatsu-791x630 Collector Daisuke Miyatsu shares close ties with Yayoi Kusama, “It’s very important for me to communicate with my favorite artists, that’s how collecting art works. My house was built with the contribution of my artist friends, including Yayoi Kusama.” [1]

Triptychs from the artist’s Infinity Net series are rare. Painted in 2006, Yayoi Kusama’s monumental triptych ‘Infinity Net (TWHOQ)’ is rendered in lustrous acrylic paint and was included in Kusama’s acclaimed 2013 retrospective Yayoi Kusama, ‘A Dream I Dreamed’, which toured internationally. This Infinity Net gleams as the delicacies of its contours subtly unfold across the canvas.

‘Infinity Net (TWHOQ)’
Estimate: HKD 25,000,000 – HKD 35,000,000 / USD 3,200,000 – 4,500,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)



2)    ZAO WOU-KI
Collectors of Zao Wou-ki include: Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian, Pierre Chen, Wang Zhongjun, Zheng Hao (data provided by Larry’s List)

IMG_4033 Collector Zheng Hao describes the role that Zao Wou-Ki’s work plays in his collection, “The How Art Museum’s collection has been built upon a range of different styles and genres. For instance, there is my ‘oriental collection’, which includes the representational Zao Wou-Ki…”[2]

Only two of the seven monumental triptychs painted by Zao between 1980 and 1990 have been presented on the art market so far. ‘Tryptique 1987-1988’ is a highlight from that decade, with vibrant colours, a striking composition and rich details that showcase Zao’s ability to control the visual elements of light, movement and energy in his work.

‘Triptyque 1987-1988’
HKD 120,000,000 – HKD 150,000,000 / USD 15,000,000 – 20,000,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)


Yoshitomo Nara_Sleepless Night(CAT)_60334145

Collectors of Nara include: Adrian Cheng, Lu Xun, Daisuke Miyatsu (data provided by Larry’s List)

In ‘Sleepless Night (Cat)’, a child is framed in the centre of the canvas in front of a dark, simple background. Despite its simplicity, the narrative is sophisticated and rich with emotional subtext.
Yoshitomo Nara expresses complex emotions via the children that he paints, imbuing them with adult-like expressions that are simultaneously adorable and deeply poignant.

‘Sleepless Night (Cat)’
Estimate: HKD 18,000,000 – HKD 28,000,000 / USD 2,400,000 – 3,600,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)


HGK_18164_0008 (59960058)

4)    JIA AILI
Collectors of Jia Aili include: Dominique and Sylvain Levy, The Franks-Suss Collection, Fabien Fryns, François Pinault Foundation, Charles Tong (data provided by Larry’s List)

As one of the leading figures of the post-80s generation of artists in China, Jia Aili reached the international contemporary art arena by creating paintings that defy expectations and categorical definitions. ‘The Wasteland’ is an important early example of Jia’s masked figure – a recurring presence in his work and an exceptional example of Jia’s expressive painterly abilities.

‘The Wasteland’
Estimate: HKD 8,000,000 – HKD 10,000,000 / USD 1,100,000 – 1,300,000



Collectors of Zeng Fanzhi include: Wanwan Lei and Lin Han, LACMA, François Pinault Foundation (data provided by Larry’s List)

“Zeng Fanzhi is one of the leading figures in the Chinese art world today,” [3] Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan curator of Chinese art and department head, Chinese and Korean art, LACMA, comments on a monumental painting by Zeng Fanzhi as a major addition to LACMA’s permanent collection.


Paintings from Zeng’s Mask series, reached a new level of artistic maturity by 1996. This Mask painting exemplifies the artist’s sophisticated command of his most iconic subject. This work places the masked figure in dialogue with an animal subject and a still life, the drama of the man, the dog, the watermelon and the dramatic splash of light on the wall exemplifying Zeng’s best work from the 90s.

Estimate: HKD 22,000,000 – HKD 30,000,000 / USD 2,900,000 – 3,800,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)


Sean Scully_low res

Collectors of Scully include: Karin and Roland Berger, Ian Rowan, Ernesto Ventós (data provided by Larry’s List)

Poignant and striking, ‘Wall of Light Fez’ exemplifies Scully’s unwavering dedication to finding the metaphorical within a landscape of abstraction. This is an outstanding painting from the artist’s celebrated ‘Wall of Light’ series, inspired by a trip Scully took to Morocco, addressing the play of light and shadow in real world sites.

‘Wall of Light Fez’
Estimate: HKD 5,500,000 – 8,000,000 / USD 700,000 – 1,000,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)



7)    LIU YE
Collectors of Liu Ye include:  Thomas Olbricht, LONG Museum, SONG Museum, Budi Tek, Haryanto Adikoesoemo (data provided by Larry’s List)

Portrait-2-copy-1024x628Collector Zhou Tong, who knows Liu Ye in person, explains how the artist’s works attracted him, “I believe his works are getting increasingly better with time; close to reaching perfection in my opinion. … His comments and works can sometimes be very intense and sharp, as well as filled with connotations.” [4]

Here, Liu paints in his trademark fairy-tale style, depicting a battleship that has just been hit and is about to be engulfed in flames, expressing the artist’s perspectives on warfare and violence. Using order and structure to  express conflict, and the visual experience of traversing the boundary between reality and fantasy, ensures ‘Portrait of the Battleship’ transcends the confines of time and space.

‘Portrait of the Battleship’
Estimate: HKD 8,000,000 – HKD 12,000,000 / USD 1,100,000 – 1,500,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)


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8)    KAWS
Collectors of KAWS include: Anita and Poju Zabludowicz, Kayne West, Kevin Poon, Kong Karoon Sosothikul, Swizz Beats (data provided by Larry’s List)

‘ARMED AWAY’ is not only prodigious in scale, but it is also boundless in its complexity. The scale allows KAWS to exercise his proficiency as a colourist in a method seldom captured to this extent. ‘ARMED AWAY’ epitomises all that is loved within the new iteration of Pop sensibility, which KAWS has continuously transformed.

Estimate: HKD 12,000,000 – HKD 16,000,000 / USD 1,600,000 – 2,000,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)



9)    ZAO WOU-KI

‘17.01.66’ is an exemplary work by Zao Wou-Ki from the 60s, representing the totality of his techniques and concepts: the synthesis of Chinese and Western styles, the traces of both ancient and modern elements. That is why ‘17.01.66’ was much loved by Zao himself and was retained in his personal collection for many years.

Estimate: HKD 75,000,000 – HKD 90,000,000 / USD 9,700,000 – 12,000,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)



Collectors of Wu Guanzhong: Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian, Wang Zhongjun, Zheng Hao (data provided by Larry’s List)

Created in 1989, ‘Montmartre of Paris (V)’ was inspired by Wu Guanzhong’s trip to Paris that year. Wu painted the same scene in oil twice, with the current work being the larger and more finished of the two. Wu demonstrates with this work his ability to synthesise the aesthetics and techniques of Western and Chinese painting.

‘Montmartre of Paris (V)’
Estimate: HKD 9,000,000 – HKD 12,000,000 / USD 1,200,000 – 1,500,000
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)


[1] “A ‘Salary-Man’ Collector”, Larry’s List

[2] ‘Sharing Is Caring: The True Value of an Art Collection’, Larry’s List

[3] ‘LACMA adds Zeng Fanzhi’s Untitled (2018) to its Contemporary Chinese Collection’, artdaily

[4] “The Moment I Realised I Was Buying ‘Too Much’ Art”, Larry’s List