Bonhams to Offer the Renowned Schoeni Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art
Three modern and contemporary art sales on one day showcasing the best of Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian art

27 May | REdiscovery: Manfred Schoeni's Legacy
27 May | Modern and Contemporary Art
27 May | Southeast Asian Modern & Contemporary Art

Bonhams announces the sale of the Schoeni Collection of Chinese Contemporary in Hong Kong on 27 May 2023. The collection, named REdiscovery: Manfred Schoeni's Legacy, is built by the late Manfred Ludwig Schoeni (1946 – 2004), a great advocate for the Chinese contemporary art movement. Fifteen paintings, including some of the finest examples, tell the story of a trailblazing generation of Chinese contemporary art that came to the forefront of the global art stage in the 1990s and 2000s. Headlining the sale is Mask 2000 No. 3 by Zeng Fanzhi (estimate: HK$15,000,000-25,000,000). A museum-quality work coming fresh to the market in more than 20 years, the painting features one of the most recognisable symbols in Chinese contemporary art: the mask. A portion of proceeds of the sale will be donated to The Cancer Fund.

Characterised by a vibrant background of yellow and blue, Mask 2000 No. 3 was painted in 2000, the pinnacle year of the Mask Series which the artist had worked on for seven years. The painting is among the best Chinese contemporary collections from the Schoeni family, who acquired it first-hand from the artist's studio, and is one of the largest of the Series featuring a single masked man. In Mask 2000 No. 3, the protagonist is portrayed in western suit with a bulldog, treading lightly along the beach. It describes a change not only in apparel and lifestyle of the Chinese people but also in social landscape with the advent of the middle class. With the economy growing comes a stronger sense of alienation, as signified by the Mask, which camouflages the real self in a rapidly-modernising society. The painting truly captures the zeitgeist of China's development in the 1990s – 2000s.

Another work of significance by Zeng Fanzhi is Class One Series No. 2, belonging to an early but important series Class One. The Series features Zeng's classmates at primary school with a red scarf, which is a symbol of collective identity. Class One Series No. 2, from the year of 1996, is one of the 32 works created for the Series. It carries an estimate of HK$1,200,000 – 2,000,000.

Chinese contemporary art came to its pivotal point from 1990s – 2000s, during which Liu Xiaodong was considered a rising star whose figurative paintings capture the austere beauty of the everyday life. A telling example by the artist, Lovers, has stayed within the Schoeni Family since creation, and will now make its auction debut in the sale, estimated at HK$2,500,000 – 4,500,000. Rendered in expressive brushstrokes, the painting depicts an unadorned portrait of the artist himself and his wife, Yu Hong, on a bare background, highlighting their simple yet intimate relationship in its purest form. Lovers is considered an extremely important work of Liu, for it is his very rare work to feature himself and his wife, who is also an established artist in her own right.

Commissioned for Schoeni Gallery's group show 8+8-1 in 1996, Liu Wei's You Like Me, Why Not Series No. 33 was exhibited alongside prominent Chinese contemporary artists including Zeng Fanzhi. The work depicts a grotesque form of a human in a brightly saturated hue. Intentionally, Liu amplifies the rawness and imperfection of the inner self through his signature dramatic brushwork, a departure from the academic and 'realist' way to paint. This is one of the earliest works to be known to the west in the 90s as Chinese contemporary art. It is estimated at HK$500,000 – 800,000.

Coming on the heels of REdiscovery: Manfred Schoeni's Legacy is Modern and Contemporary Art Sale. Of note is Ayako Rokkaku's Untitled, the largest-yet painting by the artist to appear at auction. Measuring 3.5 metres wide and 2.6 metres in height, the work carries an estimate of HK$2,200,000 – 4,000,000.

Other Chinese contemporary art in spotlight includes:
Ding Yi (B. 1962), Appearance of Crosses: 97-43, 1997, acrylic on tartan, 260 x 80 cm. Estimate: HK$1,200,000-2,000,000.
Huang Yuxing (B. 1975), Everyone Is the Same, 2013-2016, acrylic on canvas, 170 x 275 cm. Estimate: HK$2,300,000-3,000,000.
Zhang Zipiao (B. 1993), Lily 03, 2020, oil on canvas, 190 x 230 cm. Estimate: HK$300,000-500,000.

To be held on the same day is Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale, which offers a strong line-up of paintings by Vietnamese and Indonesian artists with impeccable provenance. Highlights include:

Le Pho, Still Life with Flowers. Estimate: HK$600,000-800,000. This painting with a pristine provenance hails directly from the estate of Mrs Le Pho, the artist's wife.
Mai Trung Thu, L'Écharpe Bleue. Estimate: HK$800,000-1,200,000. Private collection of the Ducam Family, who were close friends with the artist. The painting comes with a matting specifically done by the artist as a gift to the family.
Le Pho, Composition. Estimate: HK$550,000-800,000. From Wally Findlay Galleries in the US.
Ahmad Sadali, Calligraphy. Estimate: HK$200,000-300,000. Formerly from the estate of Hendra Hadiprana, a renowned Indonesian architect.
Tran Luu Hau, Standing Nude. Estimate: HK$90,000-110,000. The painting, from a private European collection, was acquired directly from the artist's studio.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit


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