With more than a quarter of the lots failing to find buyers, Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale of contemporary Asia art on Monday wasn’t quite the bonanza the auction house was expecting. Even so, there were some major sales, led by Zhang Xiaogang’s “Bloodline: Big Family No. 1” (1994), which a European collector bought for $8.4m. China’s growth may be slowing, but non-Asian collectors, who accounted for half the top ten sales, stepped in to take up the slack. In all, the auction took in $29m.
Earlier in the day, at Sotheby’s 20th century Chinese art auction, the star was Zao Wou-ki, whose 1968 abstract work “10.1.68” set a new auction record for the artist with a price of $8.9m. No fewer than 18 lots by Zao were represented at the auction, which raised $43.3m. Other strong sellers were works by blue chip artists Wu Guanzhong and Ju Ming.