No Summer Holiday For Auction Houses in Hong Kong
By Lauren Long
With the world brought to a standstill as Covid-19-stricken regions implement tight movement restrictions, public events are continuously being delayed and rescheduled. In Hong Kong, where public-health measures aimed at containing the novel coronavirus have been in force since February, auctions slated for spring 2020 have yet to take place. The latest postponements by Christie’s and Phillips mean a slew of major modern and contemporary art sales can now be expected in July.
Christie’s announced on April 6 that its annual second-quarter suite, which includes sales of modern and contemporary art, classical Chinese paintings, as well as antiques and luxury items, will be rescheduled from May 30–June 3 to the week of July 5. Phillips likewise revealed on April 6 that its May 31–June 2 series will be moved to the same week. Neither house has released further details regarding individual sale schedules.
Earlier in February, Sotheby’s delayed its annual spring series from the week of April 5 to the week of July 5. The house’s contemporary and modern art sales, initially relocated to New York for April 16, have been moved back to Hong Kong following the escalation of the outbreak in New York City.
Provided they go ahead as planned, the July auctions will mark a rare concurrence of Sotheby’s and Christie’s marquee sales—a situation that has been avoided since both houses’ biggest events are hosted at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Sotheby’s has booked the venue for July; Christie’s has yet to indicate where its rescheduled sales will be held.
China Guardian Hong Kong announced in February that its April series will take place in late May; it is unclear whether or not this will be delayed further. Meanwhile, Bonhams and Poly Auction have not publicized new dates for their postponed Hong Kong sales, originally slated for March and April, respectively.
The latest raft of rescheduling comes after a surge in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong since mid-March, as infected overseas returnees brought the total number of positive tests from 200 to more than 900 at the time of writing. In response, the government banned public gatherings of more than four people, in addition to closing borders to visitors with the exception of those from mainland China, Macau, and Taiwan, and enforcing mandatory 14-day quarantines for all arrivals.
Lauren Long is ArtAsiaPacific’s news and web editor.
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