Despite demonstrations, violent clashes and turbulent elections, Hong Kong's art market has held up well and even posted excellent auction results. Last Saturday, 23 November, Christie's finished its session of 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale with a total of more than $136 million. In 2018, the same session totaled just $52 million.
For the time being, the Art Basel fair is therefore still on for March 2020. With these latest results, Hong Kong has shown that it is still the world's leading marketplace for many of the finest Asian signatures of 20th century art. However, it also proved capital for new movement that has become essential to understanding the evolution of today's Art Market: Hi-Lite.
thierry Ehrmann, Artprice founder and CEO of ArtMarket.com: “Hong Kong is a bit like Silicon Valley: a small corner of the world on which all eyes are fixed! At one and the same time, elections have shaken the city, Alibaba has accomplished the world's biggest IPO of the year, and a series of new records have been hammered in its auction rooms. The Hong Kong art market is promoting what will perhaps be the first major art movement of the 21st century: an art advocating greater frivolity in an uninhibitedly kitsch manner, which Christie's has baptised Hi-Lite.”
View the illustrations of Liu Ye (1964) - Little mermaid, 2004 - left
Takashi Murakami (1962) - Dazzling Circus, 2013 – center
Mr. (1969) – Don't go anywhere, 2006 - right
in the PDF version of the press release
Hi-Lite: the first major artistic movement of the 21st century?
Christie's ended its major evening sale with a separate section dubbed Hi-Lite, and a specific catalogue bringing together artists “whose neo-pop aesthetic and connection to commercial art, cartoons and street culture have gained them a global cult following. Many of the pieces selected for this sale employ a similar visual style featuring bold flattened forms, bright colors and clean lines, referencing images appropriated from popular media and fashion, music, graffiti and animation.”
With only 16 lots, this small sale nevertheless crystallised one of the main trends driving today's Art Market. The Hi-Lite movement, like the sale, is based primarily on three core signatures... three of the most successful artists on the secondary market: Kaws, Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami.
The Christie's catalogue goes on to explain the title chosen by the auction house: “Hi-Lite: these artists produce work that is ‘lite' - a word that is sometimes used to describe things that are easy to understand and enjoy, the opposite of heavy. Yet each of these artists also elevates his medium and subject, bringing elements of pop, fashion, manga and street culture to a higher level.”
The Hi-Lite session was very successful with all 16 lots fetching within or above their estimates.
Hong Kong in a positive spiral
In reality, the Hi-Lite movement goes far beyond the Christie's session bearing that name. The extraordinary performances of Liu Ye (1964) and Ayoko Rokkaku (1982), for example, over the past nine months, are clearly part of this new dynamic… a dynamic with global momentum, but in which Hong Kong is playing a leading role.
As is now customary, Hong Kong's leading auction houses agreed not to hold their major sessions simultaneously in the first and the second semester of the year. In the recent round of sales, Christie's and Phillips waited until the end of November, whereas Sotheby's, Poly Auction, China Guardian and Bonhams held their sales at the beginning of October.
This agreement has clearly benefited the Hong Kong market. The past two months have seen a large number of auction records hammered for artists from all periods of creation, from Old Masters to emerging artists.
Top 10 New Artist Records in Hong Kong during H2 2019
- San Yu – Five Nudes (1950) – $39 million (Christie's)
- Yoshitomo Nara – Knife behind back (2000) – $25 million (Sotheby's)
- Whan-Ki Kim – 05-IV-71 #200 (Universe) (1971) – $13 million (Christie's)
- Liu Ye – Smoke (2001/02) – $6.7 million (Sotheby's)
- Huang Daozhonu – Collection of poems (17th c.) – $5.5 million (Christie's)
- Zheng Wuchang – Landscapes (1939) – $2.1 million (Sotheby's)
- Eddie Martinez – High flying bird (2014) – $2 million (Christie's)
- Li Chen – Dragon riding Buddha (2001) – $1.4 million (China Guardian)
- Fei Danxu – Tour of Tao Guang temple (1834) – $1.3 million (Christie's)
Artmarket.com is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Paris, SRD long only and Euroclear: 7478 - Bloomberg: PRC - Reuters: ARTF.
Discover Artmarket and its Artprice department on video: https://en.artprice.com/video
Artmarket and its Artprice department was founded in 1997 by its CEO, thierry Ehrmann. Artmarket and its Artprice department is controlled by Groupe Serveur, created in 1987.
See certified biography in Who's who ©:
Artmarket is a global player in the Art Market with, among other structures, its Artprice department, world leader in the accumulation, management and exploitation of historical and current art market information in databanks containing over 30 million indices and auction results, covering more than 700,000 artists.
Artprice Images® allows unlimited access to the largest Art Market image bank in the world: no less than 180 million digital images of photographs or engraved reproductions of artworks from 1700 to the present day, commented by our art historians.
Artmarket with its Artprice department accumulates data on a permanent basis from 6300 Auction Houses and produces key Art Market information for the main press and media agencies (7,200 publications). Its 4.5 million ‘members log in' users have access to ads posted by other members, a network that today represents the leading Global Standardized Marketplace® to buy and sell artworks at a fixed or bid price (auctions regulated by paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article L 321.3 of France's Commercial Code).
Artmarket with its Artprice department, has been awarded the State label “Innovative Company” by the Public Investment Bank (BPI) (for the second time in November 2018 for a new period of 3 years) which is supporting the company in its project to consolidate its position as a global player in the market art.
Artprice by Artmarket's 2018 Global Art Market Report published in March 2019: https://fr.artprice.com/artprice-reports/le-marche-de-lart-en-2018
Index of press releases posted by Artmarket with its Artprice department:
Follow all the Art Market news in real time with Artmarket and its Artprice department on Facebook and Twitter:
https: // www .facebook.com / artpricedotcom (4.5 million followers)
Discover the alchemy and universe of Artmarket and its artprice department http: //web.artprice.com/video headquartered at the famous Organe Contemporary Art Museum “The Abode of Chaos” (dixit The New York Times): https://issuu.com/demeureduchaos/docs/demeureduchaos-abodeofchaos-opus-ix-1999-2013
L'Obs - The Museum of the Future: https://youtu.be/29LXBPJrs-o
(4 million followers)
Contact Artmarket.com and its Artprice department