Christie's sees tepid modern art sale in Hong Kong

Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:08am EST
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By Farah Master

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Growing caution among Asian buyers led to a tepid start for the autumn Hong Kong sales of global auctioneers Christie's, which failed to sell all lots at a three-day wine sale and a contemporary art auction.

While the wine sales, which consisted of mixed lots and a private single-owner sale, recorded a slightly better-than-expected HK$64.70 million ($8.3 million), the lackluster results in the first two days of the auction were unexpected, said Christie's Head of Wine Sales, Charles Curtis.

"I did really expect it to go better. I knew that Lafite was soft and that it had struggled in my competitor's auctions in recent months but I didn't realize the depth of the problem," Curtis told Reuters.

Christie's November 25-30 sale is being closely eyed as a barometer of Asian demand for some of the world's most expensive wine, art, watches and jewelry at a time when global luxury firms are looking to emerging markets such as China to offset flagging growth in developed markets.

Specific wine lots including 14 bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion and an oil lot from Chinese painter Zao Wou-ki were among items attracting the top bids at the auction.

But in total only 84 percent of the wine lots were sold, and 74 percent of lots sold from the evening auction for Asian 20th Century and Contemporary art.


The six-day Christie's sales feature ceramic works including an underglaze copper-red and blue 'mallet' vase, expected to sell for up to $2.58 million, and a pair of F Flawless Type IIA round brilliant-cut diamonds expected to sell for up to $9 million on Tuesday.   Continued...