Cover Visitors at Art Basel Hong Kong 2021. (Image: Courtesy of Art Basel)

One painting sold for around US$20 million (roughly HK$155 million)

More than 100 galleries are taking part in Art Basel Hong Kong this week, which is open from May 19 to 23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. At the time of writing, the fair is halfway through its run, but gallerists are already reporting strong sales from the event. Below are some highlights. 

See also: 10 International Galleries To Visit At Art Basel Hong Kong 2021

  • Lévy Gorvy made headlines soon after the fair opened for selling a painting by Joan Mitchell, 12 Hawks at 3 O'Clock (circa 1962), for nearly US$20 million (roughly HK$155 million). The piece last sold in November 2018, when Christie's auctioned it in New York for US$14.6 million, including the buyer's premium. 
  • Hauser & Wirth sold Blues in A Flat (2021) by George Condo for US$1.75 million (roughly HK$13.6 million) and another recent painting by the artist for US$800,000 (roughly HK$6.2 million). The gallery also sold a mixed-media work by Rashid Johnson to the Long Museum in Shanghai for US$595,000 (roughly HK$4.6 million) and a walnut sculpture by Paul McCarthy for US$575,000 (roughly HK$4.5 million).
  • Maurizio Cattelan's thought-provoking work Night—a wall sculpture of a black American flag riddled with bullet holes—was a highlight of Massimo De Carlo's booth. The gallery sold it on the first day of the fair for €950,000 (roughly HK$9 million). Massimo De Carlo also sold a painting by Josh Smith for US$100,000 (roughly HK$775,000).
  • Lehmann Maupin reported strong sales from the fair. On the first day, the gallery sold South Korean artist Lee Bul’s Study for Light Tower for US$115,000 (roughly HK$890,000) and Shirazeh Houshiary’s blue painting Fission (2019) for US$213,000 (roughly HK$1.65 million), both to private collections in Hong Kong. The gallery also sold Lari Pittmann's Found Buried #4 (2020) to a private collection in Malaysia for US$300,000 (roughly HK$2.3 million). 

See also: South Korean Artist Lee Bul On Her Homecoming Exhibition At The Seoul Museum Of Art

  • White Cube sold 11 works for a total of more than US$2.9 million (more than HK$22.5 million). Among the works sold were a cast-iron sculpture by Antony Gormley for approximately £400,000 (roughly HK$4.4 million), a painting by Park Seo-bo for approximately US$300,000 (roughly HK$2.3 million) and a painting by Christine Ay Tjoe for approximately US$115,000 (roughly HK$890,000).
  • David Zwirner sold Mamma Andersson's Only the Nights are New (2005) for US$500,000 (roughly HK$3.9 million) and Liu Ye's Study for Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (2011) for US$500,000 (roughly HK$3.9 million), both to important Asian museums. Three paintings by Harold Ancart also went to a museum in Asia. 
  • Gladstone Gallery, which has spaces in Brussels and New York, sold several works in the first days of the fair. A piece by Keith Haring sold in the range of US$1.5 million-2 million (roughly HK$11.6 million-15.5 million), a painting by Alex Katz sold for US$650,000 (roughly HK$5 million), a painting by Michael Williams sold for US$100,000 (roughly HK$775,000), a work by Kerstin Brätsch sold for US$85,000 (roughly HK$660,000) and ten paintings by Rirkrit Tiravanija sold in the range of US$25,000-200,000 (roughly HK$200,000-1.5 million). 
  • Kukje Gallery, which is based in Seoul, sold a painting by Lee Ufan in the range of US$400,000-500,000 (roughly HK$3.1 million-3.9 million) and a painting by Park Seo-bo for US$250,000-280,000 (HK$1.9 million-2.2 million), among others. 
  • Los Angeles-based David Kordansky Gallery presented a solo booth of pieces by Pakistani-American artist Huma Bhabha. The booth sold out on the first day of the event—sculptures sold for US$100,000-200,000 (roughly HK$775,000-1.5 million) and works on paper sold for US$20,000-40,000 (HK$155,000-310,000).

See also: Artist Christine Ay Tjoe Discusses Finding Inspiration In Nature And Her New Exhibition In Hong Kong

  • Gray gallery, which has spaces in Chicago and New York, presented sculptures, drawings, and prints by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. The gallery sold two sculptures, each for US$125,000 (roughly HK$970,000).
  • Hong Kong-based Galerie du Monde sold two paintings by pioneering Chinese abstract artist Fong Chung-Ray, each of them for between US$50,000 and US$200,000 (roughly HK$390,000-1.5 million). The gallery also sold two cyanotype works by Taiwanese artists Wu Chi-tsung for between US$8,000 and US$40,000 (roughly HK$40,000-310,000).
  • Plenty of visitors to Blindspot's booth ended up crouched on the floor, looking at Hong Kong artist Trevor Yeung's intriguing light installations that look like mushrooms growing out of power plugs. Yeung's pieces sold for US$8,000-15,000 (roughly HK$60,000-115,000). Blindspot also sold a painting by Hongkonger Lam Tung Pang for US$60,000-70,000 (roughly HK$465,000-540,000), among others. 

See also: 5 Artists Who Have Been Inspired By Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong-based 10 Chancery Lane Gallery sold several mixed-media paintings by local legend Frog King, each of them for roughly US$10,000 (roughly HK$80,000), and several works by bamboo sculptor Laurent Martin "Lo", again each of them for roughly US$10,000. 
  • Gallery Exit, also based in Hong Kong, sold a large landscape painting by rising star Stephen Wong Chun-hei for US$28,000 (roughly HK$220,000) to a private collector in the city. 
  • Another Hong Kong gallery, De Sarthe, sold a work by Chinese artist collective Double Fly Art Center for US$18,000 (roughly HK$140,000), a piece by Andrew Luk for US$16,000 (roughly HK$124,000) and a panting by Mak Ying Tung 2 for US$15,000 (roughly HK$116,000). The gallery also sold a major installation by Andrew Luk to Adrian Cheng's K11 Art Foundation for an undisclosed sum. 

See also: The Man Behind The Mask: A Look Inside The Life Of Performance Artist Frog King