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Offbeat: Louise Bourgeois and Picasso featured in Hongkong

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Sotheby's proposera à la vente, le 27 avril, © Courtesy of Sothebys Sotheby's will offer for sale on April 27, "Dora Maar" by Picasso during his Hong Kong evening sale dedicated to modern art.

It has been a few years since the world of art makes it soft to Asian collectors. Auction houses no longer hesitate to offer exceptional lots during their sales in the region. The proof with "Spider IV" of Louise Bourgeois and "Dora Maar" of Picasso, soon auction in Hongkong.

A monumental bronze spider, perched on his legs over 2 meters high. Here is the flagship lot of the next evening sale dedicated to contemporary art that Sotheby's will organize on April 27 in Hongkong. This sculpture was conceived in 1996 by Louise Bourgeois. It is part of a series of six other specimens in which the French artist plays with the symbolism of the spider.

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If this arachnid may be threatening for some, it has always been a positive figure in the work of the sculptor. She described her as an "ode [her] mother", who was responsible for a tapestry restoration workshop. "Like the spiders, my mother was deliberate, intelligent, patient, soothing, reasonable, delicate, subtle, indispensable, neat and useful," she said a declared day.

"Spider IV" is estimated between 120 and 150 million Hong Kong dollars, or $ 15 million. It could thus become the most expensive sculpture ever sold in Asia. However, there is little chance that it replicates the feat of "Warrior" by Jean-Michel Basquiat in Christie's Hongkong. Last year, this semi-autobiography canvas from the New York painter was awarded 323.6 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 41.8 million), establishing a new record for a Western artist in the Asian market.

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Auctions could climb in view of the interest of collectors for the creations of Louise Bourgeois. One of them entitled "Spider", was sold for $ 28 million at Christie's New York in 2015. An amount that had established a new sales record for the French artist, who died in 2010 at 98 . Asian buyers are not, they either, spared by the "Louise Bourgeois Mania". Its sculpture "Quantina" was awarded at $ 67 million Hong Kong ($ 8.6 million) in 2018, on an auction organized in Seoul.

Eyes turned to Asia

according to Alex Branczik, responsible for modern and contemporary art at Sotheby's Asia, the fact that "Spider IV" passes under the hammer in Hongkong confirms the growing craze of Asian buyers for art Western. "The decision to propose this sculpture in Hong Kong has been carefully thoughtful," he told Artnet News. "As a sales center, Hong Kong has become an essential region for our activity. Since we started to propose Western art in the region in 2017, we find an ever greater appetite for this category across the continent - Not only for the works of the most renowned Western artists throughout history but, in particular, for all their best works ".

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To satisfy the appetite of Asians in the field of West Art, Sotheby's also propose for sale on April 27, "Dora Maar" of Picasso during his sale of the evening dedicated to modern art. This is the first time a portrait of the Spanish painter's muse is on sale in Hongkong. A calculated choice on the part of the house of Patrick Drahi: she had already put three works by Picasso, namely "bust of Matador", "bust of man" and "squatting woman", in the Asian city last year . They all had more than 100 million Hong Kong dollars (about 11.8 million euros). "[That] indicates a strong demand for the best works [of Picasso] among Asian collectors", according to Sotheby's.

Louise Bourgeois, Picasso ... Asian art buyers regularly heat the prices. They bid or bought 46% of the lots sold more than $ 5 million at Sotheby's in 2021. The house of Patrick Drahi is not the only one to have seen this phenomenon. Collectors from Asia were also at the origin of 31% of Christie's sales last year. This is why the latter announced its intention to move, in 2024, in a new four-storey seat in Hongkong. Its rival, Phillips, will leave, in the fall, the Marriott Hotel for the WKCDA Tower and its 4400 m2 of exhibition spaces and sales rooms spread over six levels. The ideal for continuing to penetrate the Asian market.

Caroline Drzewinski

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