A rare still life painting of goldfish by Sanyu will go on offer at a standalone Christie’s auction scheduled to take place immediately following the firm’s Hong Kong modern and contemporary evening sale on December 2nd. Goldfish, which was painted at some point during the 1930’s and 1940’s, carries an estimate of HK$120 million to 180 million ($15.4 million to $23.2 million), which would place the painting within the artist’s top 10 results at auction.
Goldfish is a rare work by the Chinese-French artist, who is perhaps best known for his bright-hued nude oil paintings that draw on both Fauvist palettes as well Chinese calligraphy. His still life paintings, on the other hand, normally focus on floral arrangements, making Goldfish’s eight titular figures an unusual subject for the artist.
The painting last sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013 for HK$67.3 million ($8.6 million); the appreciation in its estimated value is consistent with Sanyu’s market ascendance. That trend is also reflected in Artsy data, which shows that the number of inquiries on the artist’s work on the platform has been on an upward trend over the past five years, with a sevenfold jump occurring between 2017 and 2018. His work was the focus of two solo shows in Taipei (at Tina Keng Gallery and Eslite Gallery) in 2018.