Art Market

Works by Javier Calleja, Matthew Wong, and Genieve Figgis broke records at auctions in Hong Kong.

Justin Kamp
Dec 4, 2020 8:57PM, via Phillips

Genieve Figgis, Wedding Party (2019). Courtesy Phillips.

Phillips and Poly Auction’s joint 20th century and contemporary sales closed in Hong Kong yesterday, realizing HK$508.4 million ($65.5 million). The sales, which were live-streamed from Hong Kong, saw 166 out of 177 total lots sell for a combined sell-through rate of 94 percent by lot.

Jonathan Crockett, the chairman of Phillips Asia, said in a statement:

In a break from tradition, this season’s sales were unlike any before and marked the very first time that two leading auction houses have collaborated in such a way in Hong Kong. I am immensely pleased with the combined sale total of HK$508 million/ US$66 million, exceeding the pre-sale estimate of HK$309-450 million. Despite the current climate, I am delighted that we have achieved these exceptional results, marking the highest total for a Hong Kong Evening and Day Sale respectively in company history. Yoshitomo Nara’s Hothouse Doll sold for a remarkable HK$103 million / US$13 million, setting the second highest price ever for the artist at auction as well as the most expensive artwork ever sold at Phillips Hong Kong.

12 new auction records were set across the day and evening sales, among them Artsy Vanguard artist, Salman Toor, whose record stood for less than 12 hours before being broken again at Christie’s New York. Javier Calleja’s 2019 portrait No More Stories sold for HK$4 million ($520,100), beating the artist’s previous record of HK$ 3,725,000 ($480,600), set at Christie’s in July of this year. Matthew Wong’s posthumous secondary market, meanwhile, continues to balloon, with his bright-hued 2018 canvas River at Dusk selling for HK$37.7 million (US$4.8 million), surpassing the artist’s previous record of $4.4 million, set at Christie’s New York in October.

Genieve Figgis’s surrealistic 2019 canvas Wedding Party sold for HK$4.4 million (US$568,800), nearly doubling her previous auction record of HK$2.3 million (US$303,400). According to Artsy data, inquiries on works by Figgis on the platform have seen a general uptick in interest over the past five years. Following a peak in 2016, inquiries once again began to climb in 2019, more than doubling 2018’s numbers. Inquiries in 2020 are on pace to once again double the previous year’s numbers.

Further Reading: Salman Toor’s Intimate Paintings Are a Salve for Our Isolated Times

Justin Kamp