With Shanghai art week now complete, the art world in Asia has turned its attention to a second round of autumn art auctions in Hong Kong. Following a slump in October’s sales results, questions loom as to how the upcoming sales will fare.
Christie’s will once again be hosting its weeklong autumn auction series at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, beginning November 25th. This year, however, they’re joined by Phillips. The 220-year-old auction house will stage its inaugural 20th-century and contemporary art and design sale in Asia on November 27th at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.
Phillips first entered the Hong Kong market last year. At the time, the market was still thriving, and the house made its Asia debut with a successful watch sale totaling HK$118 million ($15 million). The sale set an auction record in Asia for a
wristwatch, with a Reference 3450 selling for HK$12 million ($1.6 million). Phillips chairman and CEO Edward Dolman said last year
that the house was spurred to establish long-term plans in Hong Kong due to strong potential in the Asian art and collectibles market. Like many in both the primary and secondary markets, Dolman is eyeing the rise of a new generation of affluent art collectors in the region.
But sales soon turned out to be heading in an opposite direction. As in the rest of the world, the art market in Hong Kong has cooled over the past year. Results of Sotheby’s recent modern and contemporary Asian art auctions showed a 15 percent decline from the previous year. In fall 2015, the set of sales made HK$819.2 million ($105 million), compared to HK$698 million ($89.5 million) this October.