Modern and Contemporary Art
21 Nov 2016
Hong Kong, Admiralty

HONG KONG – At Bonhams Modern & Contemporary Art Sale tonight (21 November), Painting Relief (1961-68) by Richard Lin sold for a world-record HK$3,540,000 (US$456,000), against an estimate of HK$ 1,800,000 - 2,000,000 (US$ 230,000 - 260,000). The oil and aluminium work, which had been bought directly from Lin's solo show in Brussels in 1970, was fresh-to-the-market, and a superb example of Lin's minimalistic style.

The Modern & Contemporary Art auction was dominated by strong, competitive bidding throughout. 120411, a painting by Chinese artist Wang Guangle , for example, had 18 registered telephone lines and sailed past its estimate of HK$400,000 - 600,000 (US$50,000 – 77,000) to a price of K$2,640,000 (US$340,000) The sale, as a whole, achieved a total of HK$12,106,250 (US$1,560,000) Bonhams' new sale concept, Unplugged, featuring adventurous and thought-provoking works, was held on the same evening and made HK$3,236,875 (US$420,000).

Ingrid Dudek, Bonhams Director of Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia said, "The two combined auctions captured the diverse and dynamic nature of our collecting audience. Unplugged featured an assortment of fine works and objects, ranging from original artworks, prints, photographs, objects of contemporary Japanese design, and meteorites. Highlighted by a strong urban art section, the sale saw bidding from across the globe, and fierce competition for works from KAWS, Invader, Darbotz, and Banksy. Works by Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara in all media remain in high demand. "

Commenting on the new world record for a Richard Lin painting, Ingrid Dudek added, "Lin's exquisite work is one of the finest to appear on the auction market and collectors responded accordingly. This world-record price achieved – together with the strong results for Lee Ufan and Urban artists such as KAWS and Banksy – with bidding from California to Japan -- is further affirmation that Bonhams Hong Kong sale continues to develop the market for international contemporary art."

MeiLing Lee, Head of Sale, also commented, "Although Richard Lin has been called a Minimalist he does, in fact, stand apart from any formal movement. While the philosophy of Minimalism is rooted in rationality and void of emotion and expression, Lin's paintings emanate energy and subtle fluid sensuality, hidden within the plain surfaces. Painting Relief is a perfect example of this distinction and a beautiful statement of Lin's approach to his craft."

Other highlights in the sale included:

Lee Ufan's painting, From Point No. 790278 which achieved HK$1,500,000 (US$190,000) against an estimate of HK$ 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 (US$ 150,000 - 230,000). Now in his 80th year, the Korean-born Lee Ufan (1936 - ) is one of the best-recognised Asian artists working today and is one of only three living Asian artists to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim. Lee's great breakthrough as a leading Mono-Ha artist and philosopher was to articulate and demonstrate the potential for spiritual reconciliation through humble encounters between objects and form. Works from his early From Point paintings and From Line series are among the most sought-after and hardest to find in the public market.

The profile of American-artist KAWS (aka: Brian Donnelly, b.1974) continues to rise. His T.N.O.N. - I achieved HK$1,800,000 (US$230,000), (estimated HK$ 1,500,000 - 2,000,000; US$ 190,000 - 260,000), selling to a private Chinese collector. This solid result further underlines how urban art resonates with Asian collectors. The artist is currently featured in his first career retrospective, at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, an exhibition that will travel to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai in Spring 2017.

For further information and images:
UK: Lorna Cumming-Bruce on +44 (0) 20 7468 8210,
US: Lorraine Rubio on +1 917 206 1609, or

Related auctions