Tag Archives: Christie’s

New York Auction Season Set to Open Strong

It’s an art extravaganza for collectors this season, with 1,500 artworks set up to go under the hammer in a mere five days of auctions kicking off Sunday. The main events are various contemporary and modern art sales going down over at Christie’s and Sotheby’s held in the evening. From the most boundary-breaking contemporary art to the most delicately wrought modern art, these are some of the most interesting offerings up on the sales.

Christie’s – Bound to Fail (8 May)

Viewed from the back, a smallish child-sized figure kneels innocently. Walk to the front, and you’ll discover it’s actually a model of the infamous dictator Hitler. Maurizio Cattelan’s Him characterizes a lot of the works in this 39-piece specially curated sale. Creative vision can sometimes be at the expense of critical acclaim and commercial success, and that’s what the works over here aim to show. The name itself stems from Bruce Nauman’s dedication to the sculptor Henry Moore with his sculpture Henry Moore Bound to Fail, depicting a bound torso.

Other pieces on display includes: Marcel Duchamp’s infamous version of the Mona Lisa featuring a goatee; a crucified cartoon frog by Martin Kippenberger; a single basketball submerged in a tank by Jeff Koons; and David Hammons prints made with his body.

Sotheby’s – Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale (9 May)

A good selection of art takes centerstage at this Sotheby’s sale, with famous names such as Picasso, Magritte, Monet, and Gauguin competing for attention. The stars of this sale will probably be two paintings by French artists Maurice de Vlaminck and Andre Derain.

Both artists were a part of the Fauvist movement from the early 20th century that eschewed the normal colors of impressionism for bold brush strokes and bright colors. Derain’s Les Voiles Rouges (estimated $15-$20 million) depicts boats with red sails over a body of water – though the water has been done up with countless strokes of red as well, complementing the sails. The sky also exists as a meld of several colors. Vlaminck’s Sous-Bois (estimated $12-$18 million) is an exuberantly vibrant depiction of natural scenery, with red, blue, green, and yellow mixing into trees, leaves, and grass. These two paintings have never been auctioned before.

Also for sale is Rodin’s L’Eternel Printemps – an exceptionally rare marble sculpture of embracing lovers, estimated to go at $8 – 12 million.

Christie’s – Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale (10 May)

In this sale, Mark Rothko’s No. 17 (estimated $30- $40 million) and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (estimated $40 million) stand as the strongest entries. It also features selections from Richard Prince and rarely seen mobiles from Alexander Calder.

The large Basquiat stands 2.30 meters tall and 5 meters wide, depicting a devilish mask in the center flanked on both sides by violent splashes of paint. Uses of mask, skulls, and other funerary art themes are common in the late-Haitian artist’s work. Rothko’s painting is one of the painter’s rare “blue” canvases, and features his trademark combination of minimalist color blocks.

Sotheby’s – Contemporary Art Evening Auction (11 May)

Francis Bacon’s self-portrait, expected to go up for $22-$30 million, is one of the main attractions here, but also included are works from Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and Basquiat.

Two of Twombly’s paintings are also highly valued, going for possibly more than $40 million dollars and more than $20 million dollars respectively. The first, Untitled (New York City), is a part of his “Tableaux” series. It depicts squiggles on a drab background and shows Twombly’s place at the intersection of Pop Art, Minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism. Another painting from the same series went for a staggering $70.5 million at another Sotheby’s auction last autumn. The second piece, Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version V), is a part of his Bacchus series, and uses a stark blood-red pigment in rigorous strokes to invoke the mythic quality of the namesake god.

Christie’s – Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale (12 May)

The last evening of Christie’s auctions will be dedicated to Modern and Impressionist Art with 52 lots.

The sale is led by many of the standard great names, especially two works by Monet representing the best of his early art, a mousquetaire (depictions of swashbucklers) by Picasso, and a portrait by Modigliani featuring a young girl with a flower.

Christie’s Auctions Jewels from Princess Gabriela

It is not every day one can stand a chance to own jewelry that once belonged to royalty. On May 18, Christie’s will give you that opportunity with the sale of exquisite jewels that include several from the collection of H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen. The former spouse of the current Aga Khan is letting go of a few memorable and personal pieces that were gifted to her by her second husband (The first being the Prince of Leiningen, hence her title). Before the sale however, the jewels will be on display in Geneva from May 13; the collection is currently making its way to New York as part of a tour.

The Pohl diamond, 36.09 carats

The Pohl diamond, 36.09 carats

“Sophisticated and classically beautiful, H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen’s extensive collection is a true reflection of its owner. A woman of charisma, wisdom, elegance and above all joy” said François Curiel. The Chairman of Christie’s Asia Pacific added “ Each jewel represents a special moment in her life and the happiness she experienced at the time. We are honored to present superb jewels from her collection and extend to all the wonderful karma it brings.”

The Princess Colombian emerald and diamond necklace, by Cartier, the pendant weighing 39.70 carats.

The Princess Colombian emerald and diamond necklace, by Cartier, the pendant weighing 39.70 carats.

The 46 lots set to go under the hammer in Geneva are estimated to be worth over $15 million. Bidders can expect to see spectacular items from Cartier, Boucheron, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels. We highlight several key pieces that will certainly excite any avid jewelry collector. The first is the Pohl Diamond. What makes this 36-carat diamond so special is that it was the very first significant diamond that was polished in America (most diamonds are polished in Europe, India or Israel) before it was sold to the Chrysler family in 1943. Having been mined nearly a decade earlier as a 287-carat rough stone, the diamond came into the possession of the princess in 1998 and is now estimated to be worth $3.8 — 5.5 million.

The cultured pearl, diamond and yellow diamond fringe necklace

The cultured pearl, diamond and yellow diamond fringe necklace

The next is a creation by Cartier that would make any woman swoon. The diamond and emerald necklace features a 40-carat Colombian emerald. Worth somewhere between $2.5 — 3.5 million, the necklace with the matching earrings was worn at the official dinner that followed the wedding of Prince Felipe of Spain and Letizia Ortiz back in 2004. The other highlight in the collection is the cultured pearl and diamond fringe necklace. Its owner before coming into the possession of the princess was her former husband’s grandmother, Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. Upon entering her enviable collection of jewelry, a matching pair of ear pendants and a bangle was commissioned from Van Cleef & Arpels to make a complete parure.

The "Persepolis" necklace

The “Persepolis” necklace

Other pieces that will certainly get your attention, include a suite of emerald, diamond and pearl jewelry from Cartier, an elegant five strand pearl and diamond necklace as well as the “Persepolis” necklace and pair of “Persane” earrings. With graduated emerald bead drops and a larger emerald beat pendant suspended, the suite also features a briolette-cut diamond and oval cabochon emerald surmount. The five strand pearl necklace is made up of nearly 500 natural pearls and daimond roundel spacers.With emeralds, diamonds and sapphires of several cuts, the “Persepolis” neckalce and “Persane” earrings are a set that certainly cannot be missed.

The elegant five strand pearl and diamond necklace

The elegant five strand pearl and diamond necklace

“Aside from their beauty, many of these jewels bare a compelling history of their own” said the Princess. She added “To me they embody wonderful and loving personal memories as well as exciting chapters of my life, full of color, travel and encounters. They have brought me great joy and happiness. Now I wish their journey to continue, bringing joy and happiness to their new owners.”

The sale will be held on May 18, 7pm at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. For more information on the auction, visit Christie’s.

Chinese Collector Liu Yiqian Aims West

Chinese tycoon Liu Yiqian is known for snapping up expensive Chinese antiques… and sometimes even drinking from them too, with his infamous sip from a valuable porcelain Ming dynasty cup. The high profile art collector even has his collection displayed in the museum he himself founded in Shanghai. Last year, in an aggressive act of ‘cultural exchange’, Liu splashed out more than $170 million at Christie’s for Modigliani’s Nu Couche (Reclining Nude), making it the second highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art.

“The world is globalized…our collection is mainly Chinese traditional works of art, (but) we are going to expand into Western and Asian works. I hope in my life time I can collect more from both China and the West,” he told AFP in a recent interview at Christie’s regional headquarters in Hong Kong. Indeed, he plans to showcase the work at his museum next year, invoking a “social responsibility” to enable Chinese youngsters to experience the Western masters.

With a personal wealth of $1.38 billion, according to Forbes magazine, Liu is among the ranks of the new Chinese super-rich. He made his fortune in real estate and finance, and now runs a huge conglomerate across several industries from chemicals to investments. Among other Chinese pieces he’s purchased includes a painting by Chinese master Zhang Daqian for $35.93 million at Sotheby’s; a $45 million 15th-century Tibetan “thangka” tapestry at a Christie’s auction; and an $8.2 million purchase of an “ancient” scroll of nine Chinese characters, which led to more controversy when he brushed off a group of respected Chinese experts deriding it as fake.

Of course, some Western art connoisseurs were concerned at the time. The Mayor of Modigliani’s hometown (Livorno, Italy) commented that the Italian government should have spent money to acquire the painting so that it could have been retained locally. In the interview with AFP though, Liu noted that “It doesn’t matter where they are. The most important thing is for them to be preserved”.

“Other than Chinese traditional and contemporary works of art, younger generations in China have developed deeper recognition of Western works,” he said, relaxing in an armchair and talking through a haze of cigarette smoke. We can’t exactly say whether Liu is really aiming for true cultural good, or merely following art-collecting as a fashion, as countless have already spoken out on after the incident with the Ming cup, but we hope that things turn out the best for the cultural landscape of the world out there.

Unique Aston Martin DB10 Sold for $3.4m

Picture yourself sitting in the driver’s seat of the exceedingly rare Aston Martin DB10, humming the theme music of James Bond as you conquer a corner in style. As it happens, the car shared screen time with James Bond as he navigated the adrenaline-filled plot in Spectre. Rare as the DB10 is (only 10 were made), you can only dream of driving it but, for one determined collector, dreams came true. At a thrilling auction at Christie’s in London, the only DB10 made available for public sale fetched a stunning £2,434,500 ($3,476,466). This is almost £1 million above the high end of the estimate, as we reported here. The auction saw the car go under the hammer with 10 other lots, which together made up a curated collection called “James Bond Spectre –The Live Auction”.Aston-Martin-Db-10-1

This piece of automotive history is a celebration of the five-decade relationship that Aston Martin has enjoyed with Bond. The car also hints at what we can expect from the brand in future. Of the 10 cars that were handcrafted at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters, eight were modified for the filming of the movie. The other two were kept in pristine condition, which allowed for Christie’s to put one up for auction.Aston-Martin-DB-10

All proceeds of the sale were donated to the international humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières, otherwise known as Doctors without Borders, which provides medical care and support to victims of armed conflict, epidemics and disasters. Aside from the DB10, a further 14 lots are available in the online sale that runs till February 23 to celebrate the release of the 24th Bond film on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD.

Christie’s Hawks Rare Handbags in France

Christie’s third annual “Handbag & Accessories” auction in Paris is coming up March 5 with an enthralling lineup for arm-candy connoisseurs seeking rare or special edition gains. Pieces from Hermès, Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton are expected to fetch prices ranging from €2,000 to €70,000.

The “Vert Celadon Natura Kelly 28” by Hermès is one such key highlight. Being offered at a rather conservative estimate of €15,000-20,000 (approximately $17,000-22,000), the style is a nod to old processes where the original skin-color was left on handbags made from exotic skins, because the pigment couldn’t be removed in those times. Hermès sought to bring back the process, this time for the animalistic flavor rather than necessity, around the year 2000. In any case, this is one of the main pieces to watch for when the hammer goes up at Christie’s.

Another eye-catching piece is the “Himalaya Birkin 35”. Once vaunted as one of the most expensive handbags for sale, the dyeing process for the design, invoking the grandeur of the Himalayan Mountains, was said to take long and tedious hours to complete. It’s being offered at €70,000 – €90,000 in the auction. Another variant of the “Birkin 35”, from the So Black collection, is estimated as between €40,000 and €45,000. This version has a shiny black plating as opposed to the usual gold or palladium sheens.

Other important Hermès examples includes a Kelly Picnic 35, made in barénia leather and wicker, and a custom-ordered Kelly 32 in Bleu Saphir, Bleu Marine and Bleu Jean alligator.

To celebrate its 10th Anniversary in another city (Dubai), another Christie’s auction March 17 will feature handbags, trunks, watches and jewelry. Star pieces of that show includes a “Grand Marriage Kelly 32” in ostrich, alligator and lizard, as well as a custom-ordered “Birkin 30” in anémone, rose confetti and bleu aztèque.

Christie’s: Post-War and Contemporary auctions

Before the weekend begins, British auction house Christie’s will be selling the works of more than 250 artists. The two-day auction in London will see an international selection of Post-War and Contemporary works including, most notably, those of Francis Bacon, Yves Klein and Lucian Freud.

Beginning on the evening of February 11, the first auction will shine a spotlight on major achievements of British art over the past 50 years. The auction will feature two of Freud’s most personal portraits of his daughters. “Head of Esther” (1982-3) and “Head of lb” (1983-4) have been included in all of Freud’s major retrospectives, including at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Tate Britain London. Both feature warm hues and are done with subtle strokes of impasto. “Head of Esther” is estimated to be worth between £2.5 and £3.5 million ($3,640,000 – $5,096,000), as is “Head of lb”.

Lucian Freud's "Head of Esther"

Lucian Freud’s “Head of Esther”

Francis Bacon’s “Two Figures” (1975) will also be a centerpiece in the evening auction. This is a self-portrait of Bacon, conjoined with the figure of Bacon’s muse and lover, George Dyer. Bacon made the painting in Paris shortly after Dyer’s suicide in 1971. Michael Peppiatt, Bacon’s biographer and curator, will be selling the painting. A close personal friend of the artist, Peppiatt acquired the work directly from Bacon. “Two Figures” is estimated to be worth £5 to £7 million ($7,280,000 – $10,192,000).

Francis Bacon's "Two Figures"

Francis Bacon’s “Two Figures”

The day auction on February 12 celebrates the art of portraiture. Yves Klein’s work will be one of the highlights. His “Untitled Anthropometry (ANT118)” (main picture; circa 1960) presents a blue corporeal form suspended within a pale void. The painting is a large scale example of Klein’s “Anthropométries” series. The artist’s signature International Klein Blue (IKB) pigment traces the human form in these works. “Anthropometry (ANT118)” belongs to a subset of “Anthropométries” in which the human form appears caught in a transcendental act of levitation. The painting is expected to fetch between £8 and £14 million ($11,648,000 – $20,384,000).

For more information on the Post-War and Contemporary evening and day auctions, visit Christie’s official website.

Christie’s to Auction James Bond Memorabilia

The Internet is making a lot of noise about this auction of James Bond memorabilia. If you want an Aston Martin DB10 this might be your best (possibly only) chance. Auctions will be held February 18 in London and online between February 16 and 23 offering a number of exclusive items from Spectre, the 24th film in the Bond franchise.

The live auction will include 10 lots of secret-agent memorabilia and highlights of the sale including a Aston Martin DB10 and other donations from the studio and actors. One of the 10 Aston Martin DB10 cars used in the filming, the lot comes with a signed license plate by actor Daniel Craig and is estimated to fetch between 1 million and 1.5 million pounds sterling. The Omega Seamaster 300 watch worn by Craig in Spectre will also be sold at auction.

Proceeds from the sale will be given to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and other charities.

Aston Martin DB10 Spectre

Omega Spectre Seamaster

Are Online Auctions the Future of Art Sales?

On Thursday, December 17 Christie’s Paris auction house wrapped up an entirely online auction. This is the first time that Christie’s Paris has curated an online auction. The trend is growing and may be revolutionizing the industry. Many auctions are now available only online.

Christie’s got in early and first began online only auctions in 2011 seeing it as a way to reach more buyers. The house invested 50 million dollars in developing its online platforms for bidding. Online-only has grown from two auctions in 2011 to over 75 this year. According to a Christie’s spokesperson, the sales not only grow by number of sale but also by the number of lots in each sale. “Online allows us to be truly global in reaching our clients and new audiences,” she said. Christie’s now plans to increase the number of online auctions next year.

Christie’s main rival, Sotheby’s, followed suit and began offering live online bidding in April 2015 on an eBay channel. Online bidding at Sotheby’s rose 55 percent in the first half of 2015. Then, in October, the auction house started offering online-only auctions on technology start-up Artsy’s website and iPhone apps.

Despite the boom in online auctions, the days of traditional bidding are not over. When a work of art comes in to Christie’s, a decision is made about where to set it: live auction, online-only or private consignment, depending on which platform is likely to work best for a given piece. A consigners time-line also affects that decision. As a Christie’s spokesperson explained: “We create a calendar across all channels that will offer our clients what they are looking for when they are looking for it. Online will continue to be an important channel for auction sales, as will live auction and private sales.

lot_1_wade_guyt.27d9a115632.original

LOT 1 WADE GUYTON (B. 1972) X Poster (Untitled, 2007, Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, 84 x 69 inches, WG1999) signed and numbered ‘Wade Guyton’ (on a label affixed to the sleeve) hand-folded digital print with archival UV curable inks 213.3 x 175.2 cm. (84 x 69 in. ) Executed in 2015, this work is from an edition of 100, published by Printed Matter, Inc., New York, and is contained in its original cardboard sleeve.Estimation: $12,000-18,000 © CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2015. Pictured top is LOT 8 WALASSE TING (1920-2010) Suddenly Spring Again signed, titled, dated and located ‘Suddenly Spring Again’ Ting 12-8-1988 ‘Amsterdam’ (on the reverse) acrylic and crayon on canvas 70 x 100 cm. (27 ½ x 39 3/8 in.) Painted in 1988.Estimation: $35,000-52,000 © CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2015

Indian Art Sets Record Price at Christie’s Auction

Indian abstract artist Vasudeo S.Gaitonde is the new record holder at auction. The late artist’s oil painting sold for 293 million rupees (US$4.4 million) at a Christie’s auction in Mumbai on December 15.

Gaitonde’s untitled painting from 1995 broke the previous record of US$4.01 million paid for a Francis Newton Souza work at a sale in New York earlier this year, the London-based auction house said.

The Gaitonde canvas was purchased by an anonymous “international collector”, Christie’s said following the auction at the luxury Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the western Indian city.

“It achieved a world record for any Indian work of art sold at auction,” Christie’s international head of world art William Robinson said of the piece by Gaitonde, who is considered one of India’s greatest abstract painters of all time.

Gaitonde, who died in 2001, had previously set the record for the most expensive Indian artwork when his untitled piece from 1979 sold for 237 million rupees at Christie’s first sale in India in 2013. It held the record for two years before the sale of Goan artist Souza’s artwork in September.

Tuesday’s auction was Christie’s third sale in India as the auction house looks to tap into the Asian giant’s increasingly affluent middle class.

Robinson said the total value of the sale, which included 100 lots, was 980 million rupees. “It is the highest total that Christie’s has ever achieved in India and that beats our previous record for the highest sale ever in India,” he told reporters.

Hong Kong optimistic ahead of auction season

Hong Kong auction houses are feeling upbeat about the upcoming sales season. From rare wines to Chinese paintings and expensive jewels, all the big names are gearing up for red letter days, with the mood buoyant despite China’s economic downturn.

The seasonal sales come after mega-buys by Hong Kong and Chinese bidders grabbed international headlines this month.

Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau spent a record US$48.4 million on a 12.03-carat diamond dubbed “Blue Moon” for his daughter in a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva.

That came a day after he had snapped up a rare 16.08-carat pink diamond at Christie’s for US$28.5 million, also in Geneva.

Also in November China’s Liu Yiqian, a taxi driver turned tycoon, bought Modigliani’s “Nu Couche” in New York for US$170.4 million. Further reports indicate that Liu may have been interested in the American Express points resulting from the purchase; he used AmEx to purchase the Modigliani.

“Frankly a few weeks ago I was not sure what to expect because of what happened during the summer and what happened in China with the slowdown…(but) the past two weeks were absolutely sensational,” Christie’s chairman of Asia Pacific François Curiel told AFP.

“At the moment I don’t think there is any slowdown in the appetite of Chinese collectors,” he said as the London-based auction house unveiled its Hong Kong autumn sales offerings for the first time Wednesday.

“They see works of art as a safe way of putting some money away.”

Among Christie’s highlights are ancient ceramics, works by prized Chinese painters as well as diamonds and rubies including “The Crimson Flame”, a rare 15-carat Burmese “pigeon blood” ruby.

Rival Sotheby’s, also holding a series of sales in the coming weeks, admitted top-class auctions may see fewer bidders, but the elite are still willing to spend their wealth.

“If you compare the market to where it was in 2010 and 2011 when there was a lot of hot money coming in from China… people were just throwing money around, we’re very far from that climate today,” Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia Nicolas Chow told AFP.

“(But) at the top level you still have very strong mainland buyers.”

“For as long as we compose a sale carefully, tidily, I’ve got a lot of confidence in the years ahead,” Chow added.

The auction house in October broke the record for Chinese imperial portraiture after selling the portrait of Chinese Emperor Qianlong’s consort by Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione for over $17 million.

Newer auction houses on the Hong Kong scene will also be joining the fray.

Britain’s Bonhams opened an office in the city last year and will be holding watch, jewellery and Chinese art sales as well as a rare camera auction including a US spy camera disguised as a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Rare coin and money specialists Stack’s Bowers, based in the US but tapping into an expanding Asia market, will offer “space collectibles” at a sale in Hong Kong.

The auction will include coins and stamps taken on board Shenzhou 1, the first test flight of China’s manned space programme, launched in 1999.

Picasso painting titled "Les Femmes d'Algers.

Picasso sets $179 million auction record in New York

Picasso's $179 Million 'Les Femmes d'Algers'

A Picasso masterpiece and a Giacometti statue smashed world records Monday for the most expensive art sold at auction, fetching more than $179 million and $141 million respectively in New York.

Pablo Picasso oil painting, “The Women of Algiers (Version 0),” sold for $179,365,000 after 11 minutes of furious bidding from four to five prospective buyers at Christie’s, where two auction rooms were packed.

It was the highest price for any work of art sold at auction, Christie’s said, but fell short of the $300 million reportedly paid privately by Qatar for Paul Gauguin’s painting “When Will You Marry?” in February.

Other world auction records were set for works by artists Cady Noland, Jean Dubuffet, Diane Arbus, Chaim Soutine and Peter Doig, Christie’s said.

Giacometti bronze

The auction house listed the buyers as anonymous but said clients from Asia, the Gulf, Russia, Europe and the United States had competed for the top 10 lots of the sale.

Exponential growth in the art market, particularly for modern and contemporary works, is attributed to a growing number of private investors around the world and burgeoning interest in Asia and the Gulf.

The previous world record for an artwork sold at auction was $142.4 million, set for British painter Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” which was sold by Christie’s in New York in 2013.

Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Giacometti had also held the previous record for the most expensive sculpture sold at auction, formerly occupied by his “Walking Man I” that fetched $104.3 million in London in 2010.

Tibetan tapestry

Tibetan tapestry fetches record $45 million in Hong Kong

Tibetan tapestry

An ancient Tibetan silk tapestry has set a world record for Chinese art after it was sold for $45 million at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.

The 600-year-old artwork, called a thangka and embroidered in vivid hues of red and gold, was bought by Liu Yiqian on Wednesday and will be displayed at his new museum in Shanghai, the auction house said.

The sale broke the world record for any Chinese work of art sold by an international auction house.

CHINESE COLLECTORS PUSH PRICES TO NEW LEVELS

The piece — which depicts the meditational diety Raktayamari, known as the Red Conqueror of Death, standing stride a buffalo — was created during the Ming dynasty between 1402 and 1424.

It is one of a set of three thangkas from the Jokhang Monastery in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, according to Christie’s.

In April, Liu bought a Ming Dynasty wine cup which broke the world auction record for Chinese porcelain in Hong Kong for $36.05 million.

Meiyintang Chenghua Chicken Cup

A taxi driver-turned-financier now aged 50, Liu is one of China’s wealthiest men and among the country’s new class of super-rich scouring the globe for artwork. He is worth an estimated $1.6 billion.

Christie's Shanghai

Christie’s opens new Shanghai office

Christie's Shanghai

 has consolidated its presence in China with a new Shanghai location, as the nation continues to embrace the high-end art industry.

“This building gives us the opportunity not only to bring art from around the world to Shanghai, but to bring the art of China to the rest of the world,” said Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy.

“China now plays a hugely important role in the global art market. Nearly one third of all buyers are from Asia and in the last year, 20% of all new clients to Christie’s globally came from Greater China.”

The move comes a year after the auction house brand first received a license to operate independently in mainland China, holding its first auction there in fall 2013.

SEE ALSO: CHINESE INTEREST RULES THE AUCTION WORLD

Chinese artist Qin Feng created an interactive piece called “Landscape of Desire” for the Christie’s Shanghai opening — a 15 x 30 meter work, executed in black acrylic painted on canvas, which visitors were invited to walk on to add their own imprint to the work.

The canvas will be divided into 108 scenes and each work will be ‘adopted’ or sold for charitable purposes.

Housed in the historic Bund-side 1907 Ampire building, the 10,000-square-foot Christie’s Shanghai is aiming to become a global art hub and converging point between the East and West.

The first three auction sales in the new space will take place October 24.

world largest blue diamond

World’s biggest blue diamond to be auctioned

world largest blue diamond

The world’s largest blue diamond will go under the hammer in Geneva next month, with the rare gem expected to fetch up to $25 million.

“The Blue”, a shimmering pear-shaped rock the colour of cobalt and weighing 13.22 carats was described by Christie’s as “the largest fancy vivid blue diamond in the world.”

The gem will be the centrepiece of the auction house’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale in Geneva on May 14, with an asking price of $21-25 million.

If recent auctions in Geneva are any indication though, it could fetch far more. When the world’s largest orange diamond, a 14.82-carat gem called “The Orange”, went under the hammer last November at Christie’s, it raked in $35.5 million compared to its $17-20 million price tag.

Orange Diamond

And a Sotheby’s auction the next day saw the world’s largest pink diamond, known as the Pink Star, fetch $83 million.

The auction house was, however, forced last month to take back the Pink Star after the buyer defaulted on the payment.

Pink Star diamond

Christie’s said its auction next month would comprise 250 pieces at a joint estimated value of $80 million. Among other notable gemstones will be a 5.5-carat vivid blue-green diamond named “The Ocean Dream”.

Competitor Sotheby’s will meanwhile hold its Magnificent Jewels sale next door on May 13, auctioning off one of the world’s largest yellow diamond.

Graff Vivid Yellow diamond

The Graff Vivid Yellow, the colour of a daffodil and weighing 100.09 carats, has been valued at up to $25 million.

pink gold Patek Philippe watch

Patek Philippe Sells for $2.1 Million in Record Auction

pink gold Patek Philippe watch

Christie’s raised a record $44 million for luxury watches in a 2-day sale, the auction house said today. The star earner of the collection was a pink gold Patek Philippe watch that fetched $2.1 million.

Another gold watch by the Swiss watchmaker, dating from 1947, sold for $1.57 million. The watches went under the hammer in 3 sessions over Sunday and Monday and were all sold to anonymous buyers.

The auction house sold 50 Rolex Daytona “Lesson One” watches in the first session for a total of $13.24 million, including one for just over $1 million, Christie’s said.

Orange Diamond

Orange Diamond Sells for $36 Million at Christie’s

A spectacular and rare orange diamond, the largest known gem of its kind, was on Tuesday auctioned for a record $35.54 million in Geneva.

Orange Diamond

“It’s a world record price for an orange diamond, it’s a world record price per carat for any coloured diamond,” the Christie’s auction house said.

The price works out at $2.4 million per carat, beating the previous record of $2.15 million for the Vivid Pink Diamond sold in Hong Kong in 2009.

The man who made the purchase swiftly got up and left the room to a round of applause. Christie’s did not reveal his identity.

The deep orange gemstone, found in South Africa, weighs a whopping 14.82 carats. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has handed it the top rating for coloured diamonds: “fancy vivid”.

Pure orange diamonds, also known as fire diamonds, are very uncommon and few have been auctioned, with the largest never more than six carats.

Christie’s comes to India

Saurashtra

International auctioneer Christie’s said Tuesday it will hold its first ever sale in India as it seeks to capitalise on the country’s expanding art scene.

The London-based house, which has had an office in financial hub Mumbai for two decades, will stage its inaugural sale in December.

“The decision to hold auctions at this time is a reflection of the strong momentum in the domestic art marketplace,” Christie’s said in a statement. The sale also reflects “the increased international appeal of Indian art and the growing participation of Indian collectors across international sale categories.”

Christie’s chief executive Steven Murphy said the auction would be of domestic artwork and that other sales would follow. The auctions “will allow Indian collectors domestic access to works of art sourced by Christie’s (and) international collectors access to the very best of Indian art”, he said.

The plan follows a recent announcement by the auctioneer that it would hold its first sale in Shanghai in September, becoming the first international auction house to conduct a sale in mainland China.

Flawless clarity diamond

Harry Winston buys $26.7mn diamond at auction

Flawless clarity diamond

Prestigious jeweller Harry Winston, which was acquired earlier this year by Swatch Group, bought a new colourless, flawless 101.73-carat diamond for a record $26.7 million at an auction in Geneva on Wednesday, auction house Christie’s said.

As the first ever buyer of the new diamond, Harry Winston had the priviledge of naming it and had decided to call it “Harry Legacy.”

This is the diamond dealer’s first major purchase since it was snapped up by the world’s leading watchmaker for $1.0 billion in March.

The American Institute of Gemology has handed the Harry Legacy the top colourless grade “D” and the best clarity grade, “flawless”, which is characterised by its “absolute symmetry”, according to Christies.

The diamond, sold at the auction by a diamond merchant, was 236 carats in the rough when it was extracted from the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, before it was meticulously sculpted for 21 months, Christie’s said.

Wednesday’s sale marked the highest price ever paid for a flawless colourless diamond at auction, although Christie’s had hoped the new diamond — the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer — would rake in $30 million.

The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, which is in the same D-colour category but weighs in at only 33.19 carats, was meanwhile sold for $8.8 million on auction in New York in December 2011.

D color diamond

Hotel Ritz Paris

Masterpiece found at Ritz sold to New York’s Met

Charles Le Brun Painting Ritz Paris

A 400-year-old masterpiece that only came to light during a renovation at Paris’s Ritz hotel has been sold for 1.44 million euros ($1.88 million) to New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

The painting by 17th century artist Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) had adorned one of the suites in which fashion designer Coco Chanel lived for more than 30 years.

Its presence came as news to hotel management when it was discovered in July 2012, a month before the Ritz closed its doors for a two-year renovation.

“The Met does not yet have a work by Charles Le Brun (so) this completes its collection of 17th century paintings,” said Christie’s expert Olivier Lefeuvre.

The painting is expected to go on display in New York from the end of May.

Proceeds from the sale will go to the foundation established by Ritz owner Mohamed Al Fayed in memory of his son Dodi, the late boyfriend of Princess Diana.

Princie Diamond Sells for $39 Million

Princie diamond

A 34.64-carat pink diamond has sold at auction in New York for nearly $40 million, setting a new record for Christie’s auction house.

Dubbed the “Princie Diamond,” the gem is “one of the largest and finest pink diamonds in the world,” with a “fabulous provenance,” Christie’s jewelry chief Francois Curiel said ahead of the sale.

An anonymous telephone bidder paid $39,323,750, or more than $1 million per carat, for the stone from ancient diamond mines in southern India, the auction house said in a statement Tuesday.

The pink gem was once owned by the royal family of Hyderabad and, since 1960, by the London branch of Van Cleef & Arpels.

The exclusive jewelry firm originally paid 46,000 pounds for it, equivalent to $1.3 million today, Christie’s said, indicating a hefty profit after Tuesday’s sale.

Previously, the most paid at Christie’s for a diamond was $24.3 million, for the 31-carat Wittelsbach diamond in 2008.