A painting by Chinese artist Sanyu fetched a record HK$42.1 ($5.4 million) at a Hong Kong auction as bidders fought for lots, betting that the worst of Asiaâ€™s art-market slump is over.
Of the 38 lots offered last week at Christieâ€™s Internationalâ€™s top selection of Asian art, 34 sold, raising a combined HK$181.7 million, according to the London-based auction house.
Thatâ€™s about twice the companyâ€™s presale estimate, said Kate Malin, a Christieâ€™s spokeswoman.
The 1950s oil painting â€œCat and Birds,â€ the top lot, achieved a record price at auction for a work by deceased painter Sanyu.
â€œThe results speak for themselves,â€ Michael Wang, chief executive of My Humble House Art Space and one of Asiaâ€™s top art collectors, said in an interview at the sale. â€œItâ€™s a huge success. This auction tells me the slump in Asiaâ€™s artworks has ended.â€
Christieâ€™s Internationalâ€™s four-day sale of 1,600 paintings, gems and antiques totaled HK$1.07 billion ($138 million), beating its presale estimate of HK$750 million ($96 million).
Hong Kong is Christieâ€™s third-biggest market after New York and London and its hub for the sale of Chinese antiquities, with revenue of more than HK$1 billion last year.
The auction was Christieâ€™s first in China since the companyâ€™s Feb. 25 auction of looted Qing bronzes in Paris, which sparked outrage in Beijing.
The Chinese government protested the sale by imposing controls on Christieâ€™s mainland activities.