Sotheby’s auction house broke two records within hours on Tuesday with the sales of a Chinese painting and a stunning blue diamond in Hong Kong.
According to SCMP, Zhang Daqian’s 1982 painting Peach Blossom Spring sold for nearly US$35 million at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The hanging scroll received more than 100 bids in under 50 minutes before being claimed ultimately by Shanghai’s Long Museum with a record-breaking bid.
The Long Museum represents the substantial art collection of power couple Wang Wei and Liu Yiqian, who recently purchased Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude for a record US$170.4 million last year at Christie’s New York. Liu, a former taxi driver, is apparently very familiar with Sotheby’s, where he also bought a Ming-era wine cup for over $36 million USD, which he later used to sip some tea.
The second record-breaker of the day was the sale of an oval-cut 10.10-carat vivid blue diamond for nearly US$32 million. The diamond, also known as De Beers Millennium Jewel 4, was bought over the phone by an anonymous bidder and became the most expensive piece of jewelry ever sold at auction in Asia.
David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division, had this to say about the sale:
The fact that it’s a record price for jewelry in Asia I think speaks well about the Asian market … I think it’s alive and well and very healthy.
Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby’s Asia, reports that strong and robust spring sales have been recorded within the past few days at the auction house. “It proves that the general economy isn’t a predictor of the art market,” he said. So it doesn’t seem likely that we will see thousands of collectors take to the street any time soon.
Tuesday’s anonymous bidder joins the illustrious company of the 8-year-old owner of the US$48.4 million “Blue Moon” diamond.
By Matthew Patel
[Images via Sotheby’s]