Young painters (again) stole the show at Phillips Hong Kong’s $27m contemporary art sale

Today, works by very young contemporary artists were in high demand at the Phillips Hong Kong 20th Century and Contemporary Art Night Sale.

The spinning star added some excitement to an otherwise lukewarm sale that totaled HK$214 million ($27.3 million). 95% of the 44 lots offered have been acquired, five have been withdrawn.

Lucy Bull’s painting 8:50 am, a lyrically abstract burst of color, broke the artist’s auction record when it sold for HK$11.4 million ($1.5 million), several times its high estimate. HK$1.5 million ($192,000). Born in 1990, Bull was not the only young female artist at the sale to arouse excessive interest.

Lucia Bull, 8:50 am (2020). Photo courtesy of Phillips.

An intimate nude study, Chest, Anna Weyant, born in 1995, made nearly six times her high estimate of HK$700,000 ($89,700), for HK$4.2 million ($530,000). The impressive figure, however, is lower than some of Weyant’s recent auction triumphs at May sales, including $1.5 million for his Christie’s debut and a new record of $1.6 million set at Sotheby’s.

The artist recently made headlines for her rapidly rising awards and the announcement in May that she would be joining Gagosian. (She dated mega-dealer Larry Gagosian within the past year.)

Many young artists ranked in Phillips’ “Ultra/Neo” category have surpassed their lofty estimates, including Anna Park, Emmanuel Taku and Aboudia. Trey Abdella set a new record at HK$2.6 million ($337,100) for Some things aren’t worth the wait (2019). And with Ayako Rokkaku Untitled (2019) selling HK$8.1 million ($1 million), the artist still seems on track after the success of his sold-out solo exhibition at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2018.

The old favorites also performed well. George Condo led the sale with HK$36.6 million ($4.7 million) for the sketch Transparent female forms (2009). The recent craze for Matthew Wong has seen the artist’s high estimate of HK$26 million narrowly surpass that of HK$24 million for David Hockney. Painted landscape (or red and blue landscape). The Hockney failed to sell, while Wong is generally surreal pink wave (2017) reached HK$22.6 million ($2.8 million).

Mathew Wang, pink wave (2017). Photo courtesy of Phillips.

The late artist’s considerable market power was again proven by the strong performance of 76-year-old painter Scott Kahn, whose value skyrocketed shortly after being endorsed by Wong in 2018.

Kahn set a new record of HK$7.5 million ($967,000) at Phillips Hong Kong late last year, and today his green landscape Sound sight (2008) reported HK$4 million ($500,000) out of a high estimate of HK$1.4 million ($179,000).

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