Sotheby’s Hong Kong Fine Chinese Paintings Spring Sale realised a total of HK$517,923,300 / US$66,004,145 – with almost 90% of the offerings sold. After an 18-minute bidding battle and over 50 bids placed, Zhang Daqian’s Landscape after Wang Ximeng – a mesmerizing blue-green landscape outlined in gold painting – sold to an Asian private collector for HK$370,495,000 / US$47,215,883. The exceptional result not only sets an auction world record for the artist, but also establishes the work as the most valuable Chinese painting ever sold by Sotheby’s, and the second highest price for any artwork sold at Sotheby’s Asia.
Fresh to the market, this blue and green landscape was painted in 1948 at the pinnacle of the artist’s career and the same year as his landmark exhibition of landscape paintings in Shanghai. It was then added to Shanghai socialite Sun Zhifei’s collection and has since been passed down through the family. Beside being on temporary exhibition at the Shanghai Museum and the National Art Museum of China in 1983, the masterpiece has not been shown to the public for forty years.
Carmen Ip, Head of Fine Chinese Paintings Department, Sotheby’s Asia, commented: “Today’s sale marks another exceptional year of market leadership for Zhang Daqian. It was undoubtedly a special moment to bring the artist’s Landscape after Wang Ximeng to auction this season, made all the more exciting after setting a new world record for the artist today. Not only did we see seasoned collectors back in our saleroom this Spring, but welcomed new buyers too – proof of the ever-increasing desire for the category season on season.”