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  • Feb 24, 2020

Sotheby's Hong Kong Reschedules Spring Auctions Due to Covid-19

Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October, 2019. Courtesy Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

On February 24, Sotheby’s Hong Kong announced changes to the scheduling of its spring auction series, originally slated for April 3–8, due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Three of its Hong Kong sales, Modern Art Evening Sale and Contemporary Art Evening and Day sales, will be moved to Sotheby’s New York sale rooms, for April 16. The remaining suite will take place in Hong Kong, postponed until the week of July 6.

According to Kevin Ching, chief executive officer of Sotheby's Asia, "April in New York represents the best possible venue and timing for our consignors of Modern and Contemporary art." The change was a "strategic decision" to facilitate the participation of clients in Asia. For the remaining sales, Sotheby's deemed July to be a suitable time "when we can safely hold a traveling exhibition across Asia and present our sale week in Hong Kong."

The highlight of this year’s Modern Art Evening Sale is Sanyu’s oil on canvas Quatre Nus (1950s), featuring four female nudes against an emerald background. David Hockney’s painting 30 Sunflowers (1996), depicting five bouquets on a table, will be the spotlight of the Contemporary Art Evening Sale, with industry specialists speculating its worth to be at USD 10.3 million.

With the continued escalation of the coronavirus globally as well as the increase in travel bans on travelers arriving from China and nearby regions, spring auctions in Hong Kong have been put to a halt. Earlier this month, Christie’s Hong Kong pushed back its inaugural 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in March to its annual May auction series, while Bonhams, China Guardian, and Poly Auction have all delayed their Hong Kong sales to May and June, with details forthcoming.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction series in July will return to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and will include the Modern Art Day Sale, as well as showcases of Chinese antiques, fine Chinese paintings, modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art, jewelry, watches, and wine. 

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor

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