The painting “Juin-October 1985” by Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki sold for a record-breaking $65 million on Sept. 30 during Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn 2018 Modern And Contemporary Art Evening event.
The 33-foot long oil painting led one of Asia’s largest ever art auctions, breaking at least three significant art records. It broke world auction record for Zao Wou-Ki by doubling the previous record for his other work. The recent purchase easily positioned him as the “king” of Asian oil painters for simultaneously breaking a new record for any oil painting sold by an Asian artist.
The “Juin-October 1985” also became the most valuable painting sold by an auction house in Hong Kong for its price tag of $65 million. It contributed significantly to Sotheby’s $200 million worth of art sale for the event, achieving 120 percent increase year-over-year. The night has also become Sotheby’s highest total for an evening sale, breaking its 40th-anniversary sale in 2013.
Sotheby, considered as one of the largest brokers of the art collection, currently house ten of Zao Wou-Ki’s most-priced artwork.
The “Juin-October 1985” was initially bought by Taiwanese businessman Chang Qiu Du in 2005 for $2.3 million according to Bloomberg. Chang owns the P&F Brother Industrial Corporation which assembled treadmills and power tools.
Sotheby did not identify the painting’s new owner. The anonymous buyer placed his bid by phone through Sebastian Fahey, Sotheby’s managing director in Asia.
The sales brought Chang approximately 2,735 percent return on investment within just a few minutes that auction was being held. In comparison, a stock on S&P 500 could only deliver as much as 150 percent of the ROI over the same period that “Juin-October 1985” was sold.
Other Asian work sold in the event was from Guan Liang. Six of his works were sold for $3.5 million, four times the pre-sale estimate. The Xuzhen Supermarket, Asia’s first pure conceptual art opened for auction, was sold for $255,000.
Meanwhile, art pieces from Western artists sold for a total of $33.4 million.
Patti Wong, chairman for Sotheby Asia, said the record-breaking sales made during the event demonstrated Asia’s voracious demand for Modern and Contemporary Art may they be from Asian or Western artists.
Most importantly, the sales indicated that Chinese art buyers can sustain their purchasing power despite economic analysts saying that there is widespread economic slowdown due to global trade tensions.
Kevin Ching, the chief executive officer from Sotheby’s Asia, said analysts were worried that trade conflicts may hinder people from spending their money. The strong sales were seen in Sotheby’s event only proved that there will always be a market for high-quality works, Ching highlighted.