The content of this article is provided by Sotheby’s Hong Kong. For more details of the lots, please check this auction.

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Spring 2020 Sales, scheduled for 9 – 10 July 2020 in Hong Kong, will present a highly curated selection of distinguished works by Western and Asian artists. Led by important masterpieces by David Hockney and Liu Ye, the Evening Sale showcases an international line-up of works by blue-chip Western artists alongside the most prominent Asian names, including Clyfford Still, Albert Oehlen, Kazuo Shiraga, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara, amongst many others. Offered across the Evening and Day Sales is “The Art of Life: Property from a Distinguished Asian Private Collector and Important Patron of the Arts”, a superlative selection of art, design and sculptural pieces. Led by illustrious works by François-Xavier Lalanne and Antony Gormley, the eclectic group also includes quality works by reputable Asian talents Suh Do Ho, Yang Hae Gue, and Lee Kit, amongst others.

With a total estimate exceeding HK$480 million / US$60 million, the Spring 2020 season marks the highest valued Contemporary Art sales at Sotheby’s in Asia.

Yuki Terase, Head of Contemporary Art, Asia of Sotheby’s, said:

“Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s definitive leading position in the Contemporary Art market is evidenced by our exceptional results in Asia. This July, we are gratified to present a rich assemblage of Contemporary Art with unprecedented diversity – from Western masterworks to top quality Asian pieces. In these challenging times, Sotheby’s is committed to continue to bring only the best to clients around the world, and to nurture growing appetite and passions surrounding the genre of Contemporary Art.”


Created at a pivotal point in David Hockney’s career, 30 Sunflowers from 1996 is a singular masterpiece marking his return to painting after a decade primarily immersed in photography. The radiant and poignant still life represents Hockney’s undertaking of traditional subject matter at the height of his powers, in encounter with historical masters such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet and Vermeer. Unseen in the market for almost a decade, the work encapsulates the quintessence of Hockney’s mature artistic output.

Formerly in the collection of Clyfford Still’s daughter, Sandra Still, PH-306 from 1946-1947 is a representative work from the artist’s transitional period in the 1940s. The work is emblematic of Still’s aesthetic shift towards the fragmentary and the abstract, pitting radiance against blackness in a symbolic struggle. The painting is dated over two years, signalling a noteworthy shift in the artist’s artistic evolution. Still personally gifted this painting to his cherished daughter Sandra in 1976 to grace the wall of her Manhattan apartment, reflecting this work’s particular significance to the artist.

A vivid and energetic profusion of psychedelic colour and gestural movement, Albert Oehlen’s Die Pfeifenden von (The Whistlers of) is a strikingly robust large-scale painting that deftly captures the artist’s idiosyncratic practice. Executed in 2001, the monumental painting signifies Oehlen’s shift to large-scale abstraction.

With its iconic imagery, Untitled (Cowboy) is symbolic of Richard Prince’s career-long investigation into the motif of the American cowboy. To this day, the silhouette serves as an icon for the “Marlboro Man” and his legacy rooted in national pride and cultural identity.


Fresh to market from one private collection since 2008, Leave Me in the Dark is an epic masterpiece – one of only four large-scale single-panel figurative paintings by the artist. The other three are Smoke and Sword, the current top 2 auction record works by Liu Ye; and Gun in the M+ Sigg Collection. After creating the present work, Liu Ye returned to the motif in 2009 and 2010 in much smaller dimensions, demonstrating the importance of this incipient piece. Exuding a transcendent aura, this is an epochal paradigm exemplifying the best of Liu Ye’s acclaimed visual lexicon.

Executed in 1993, Goldfish is an early and archetypal example of Yue Minjun’s celebrated Cynical Realism lexicon featuring the iconic Golden Water Bridge in front of Tiananmen Square. Yue’s iconic imagery, featuring his maniacally laughing surrogate selves, was crucial to the rise of Chinese Contemporary art in the 1990s.

2002.1.1 is a monumental Fang Lijun masterwork featuring his most iconic iconography: flowers and bald heads. Fang’s signature stylized works prompted the eminent critic Li Xianting to name Fang Lijun as the primary proponent of Cynical Realism in the early 1990s.


This exhilarating canvas hails from Kazuo Shiraga’s most celebrated Water Margin series, exuding raw vigour and violence. The Gutai master’s feet-generated strokes thrash out swipes of crimson, deep burgundy and turquoise. Today the significance of Shiraga’s ground-breaking work is recognised as one of the leading voices of his generation, not just in Asia but worldwide.

Executed in 1964, Work epitomises the magnificent worlds Sadamasa Motonaga created during his pivotal early Gutai period from the 1950s to mid-1960s. Evoking cosmic planets, riverbeds and volcanic magma, this iconic aesthetic involves a specific method in which the artist laid his canvases on the floor and tilted them in different angles to allow poured mixtures of pigments to “flow” and “pool” in different speeds.

Exceptionally rare in composition and expansive in scale, Yoshitomo Nara’s Keep Your Chin Up from 2001 features a portrait in profile – a singularly special painting from the artist’s oeuvre. Fresh to market, this superlative work was exhibited in numerous important Nara museum exhibitions. Rendered in flawless execution, the radiant little sailor girl is empowered, optimistic and hopeful, encapsulating the visual lexicon of one of the most renowned living painters of our time.


“The Art of Life” presents a diverse collection assembled by a distinguished Asian private collector and patron of the arts, whose broad vision, dedicated efforts and generosity have driven significant development in the art scene in Asia. The selection - unconfined by genre, medium or style - encompasses paintings, sculptures and photography, as well as cutting-edge design, furniture and decorative pieces. To be offered across Evening and Day Sales.


Contemporary Art Evening Sale
9 Jul 2020, 19:00
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai Hong Kong

Contemporary Art Day Sale
10 Jul 2020, 10:30
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai Hong Kong