Sotheby's Sets a New High Mark for Southeast Asian Art in $13.8 Million Hong Kong Sale

Sotheby's Sets a New High Mark for Southeast Asian Art in $13.8 Million Hong Kong Sale

Sotheby's Hong Kong scored their highest-ever result for an auction of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian Art yesterday, with passionate bidding on a number of works driving total sales up to HK$108 million ($13.8 million), a total that tripled the house's presale estimate of HK$36 million ($4.6 million). Headlining the result are new artist records for Indonesian modern master Hendra Gunawan and Filipino contemporary artist Ronald Ventura.

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Ventura's work "Grayground" (2011) set a new world record for a contemporary Southeast Asian painting at auction when a bidding war among 15 aspirants saw the work's price rocket up to HK$8,420,000 ($1.1 million) — a staggering 24 times its high estimate. Ventura, who was born in 1973, has created considerable buzz in recent years with his fantastical and surreal canvases. Another work by him, "Apocalyptic Channel" (2010), achieved a stand-out result at Sotheby's Hong Kong's Southeast Asian sale last November.

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Meanwhile, "Snake Dancer" (1977) by Hendra Gunawan (1918-1983) also sparked intense bidding, eventually selling for HK$16,340,000 ($2.094 million), or more than seven times its high estimate.

Hong Kong has proved to be a winning location for Sotheby's Southeast Asian art department since it moved its auctions to the harbor city in Spring 2008 after 12 years in Singapore, with many collectors choosing to fly in for the sales.

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