Liu Xiaodong's Battlefield Realism: The 18 Arhats
A painting by 45-year-old Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong fetched 61.93 million HK dollars (7. 94 million U.S. dollars) on Wednesday at Sotheby's spring auctions in Hong Kong, setting the artist's personal record.
Bidders at the contemporary Chinese art sessions started bidding for Liu's "Battlefield Realism: The 18 Arhats" at more than 30 million HK dollars and slowly pushed the price up to 55 million HK dollars.
The hammer price, with buyexr's premium included, for the set portraits dated 2004 was 61.93 million HK dollars, the artist's highest price at auction and one of the highest prices for a single work of any contemporary Chinese artist.
A painting by the late master Xu Beihong fetched 72 million HK dollars at Sotheby's spring auctions last year in Hong Kong, setting the record for the most expensive single painting by any contemporary Chinese artist.
Liu was more than once in the headlines over the past several years as paintings by his contemporaries got ever more expensive both in China and abroad.
One of his paintings depicting a group of grassroots individuals in contemporary China made a sensation in late 2006 when it fetched 22 million yuan (3.14 million U.S. dollars), although the price had been topped by numerous other items since then.
Often labeled a neo-realist, Liu was one of a group of artists active in China. Like most others in this group, he was born in the 1960s.
"Bloodline: The Big Family Number 3", in the typical family photo style of artist Zhang Xiaogang, was bought by a private collector from Taiwan at 47.37 million HK dollars (6.07 million U. S. dollars), making it the second most expensive painting in the three contemporary Chinese art sessions of Sotheby's spring auction Wednesday.
It was also the biggest price ever fetched by the artist at auction.
Sotheby's said the total prices of 393 million HK dollars (50. 38 million U.S. dollars) fetched by over 200 sold items were much higher than previous estimates.
"The Forbidden City", by the late Guo Bochuan and dated 1946, fetched 27.21 million HK dollars (3.49 million U.S. dollars), while "Take the Plunge", by avant-guard Yue Minjun and dated 2002, got 20.49 million HK dollars (2.63 million U.S. dollars).
"The Living Word" by Xu Bing was sold at 7.61 million HK dollars (9.76 million U.S. dollars), also the highest price for the artist at auction.
Sotheby's spring auctions in Hong Kong, also offering southeast Asian art and Islamic art, lasts from April 8 to 11.