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Phillips announces highlights from the Hong Kong Spring Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design
Yoshitomo Nara, The Little Pilgrims (Night Walking), 1999. Fiberglass, cotton cloth and acrylic paint. Estimate: HKD 7,000,000 - 10,000,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

HONG KONG.- Phillips announced highlights from the upcoming Hong Kong spring sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design. The Evening Sale will encompass modern and contemporary works by an array of the world's most sought-after artists, with leading highlights by Zao Wou-Ki, Zhang Xiaogang, Yoshitomo Nara and Roy Lichtenstein. The Day Sale will comprise works by blue chip names George Condo, Yayoi Kusama, alongside celebrated and exciting contemporary artists KAWS, Banksy and Tomoo Gokita. Design highlights include works from the most prominent Danish and Italian designers such as Finn Juhl, Ole Wanscher, Paolo Buffa and Max Ingrand. In addition to offering tightly curated works, Phillips will also introduce a unique project “Pantone 561 by Alfred Lam” this season.

Jonathan Crockett, Deputy Chairman and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia: “Following Phillips’ most successful year in company history, this season we are proud to present an outstanding and diverse group of artworks in Asia, some of which have never been presented before in the region. We are particularly excited to offer a number of highlights from the extraordinary Miles & Shirley Fiterman Collection, which incorporates exceptional examples of Pop Art by Western artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Further, the auction will feature prominent master pieces by Chinese modern and contemporary artists Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun and Zhang Xiaogang, spanning over 50 years of Chinese art history. Additionally, we will present an array of rare South East Asian works, as well as an impressive showing of Japanese art, including important works by Yoshitomo Nara and seven works by Tomoo Gokita.”

The evening sale will feature a number of works from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection, one of the most seminal groups of Pop Art to be collected in the United States. As was previously announced, Phillips will offer Property from the Fiterman Collection worth an estimated US$60 million across Hong Kong, New York and London throughout the year.

The collection is led by a never-before-offered monumental work by Roy Lichtenstein. Head, represents the sum of a prodigious career dedicated to interrogating the history of painting whilst melding the aesthetic tendencies of popular culture and fine art. Another work by Lichtenstein is a definitive bronze, Brushstroke Sculpture (illustrated page one), which ultimately challenges our ideas of representation and the stylistic paradigms of 20th century visual culture. As the very first sculpture made by Lichtenstein on the brushstroke motif, the present work is testament to the prestige of the collection from which it originates.

Also being offered is a preeminent example from one of Andy Warhol’s most iconic series of paintings, Flowers. The present work is one of only two 14-inch Flowers that are signed with a dedication. Warhol dedicated this work to collectors Miles and Shirley Fiterman, in whose collection it has remained since they acquired it shortly after it was painted in 1964. Also from the Fiterman Collection, Alexander Calder’s Higgledy Piggledy demonstrates, on an intimate scale, the magic and lyricism of the artist’s celebrated ‘Mobiles.’

Around the mid-1950s, Zao’s artistic style underwent a tremendous transformation as he was seeking to invent a language that would no longer be confined by the choice of the subject. He began to renounce the representational in his works, instead returning to his cultural roots with the incorporation of ancient Chinese hieroglyphic scripts found on oracle bones into his works.

During his ‘oracle bone’ period, Zao was inspired by the spirituality of these ancient inscriptions. Rather than simply depicting these ideograms, Zao dissected, re-organised and created unique scripts and symbols of his own. By then, the artist had completely abandoned figurative painting, and now concentrated solely on abstraction. The present work, Ailleurs, was completed in 1955 – during that key moment when Zao’s style of painting underwent a crucial and decisive transformation.

Ailleurs was originally in the collection of the Brazilian Surrealist sculptor Maria Martins (1894-1973), who acquired the painting during her visit to Zao’s studio in the late 1950s. This work remained in the collection of Martins and her family for as long as sixty years.

In 1999 the prolific Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara created one of his most iconic figures and inaugurated his definitive sculptural series: The Little Pilgrims (Night Walking). As a comprehensive example of this seminal moment, the Complete Set of The Little Pilgrims (Night Walking) marks a crucial turning point in the artist’s prodigious career, signifying the diversification of his practice beyond its roots in the art of drawing, and thus solidifying the importance of sculpture and installation as a means of realising his idiosyncratic visions.

Coming from an important Private European collection, Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Family, No. 11 was exhibited in the first solo show, “Les Camarades”, dedicated to the artist in Europe in 1999 at Galerie de France. Having remained in Europe ever since, Phillips presents it for the first time in Asia this season. The painting hails from the artist’s most compelling body of works – the Bloodline (1993-1999) series. This iconic series borrows the language of photography to represent individual histories within the strict confines of formula and has come to embody the collective vision of socialist China and Zhang Xiaogang’s own dissonant voice.

DAY SALE – 26 May at 10am
Among the leading lots in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale is George Condo’s Jean Louis with one Ear & Jean Louis’ Wife's Sister (illustrated below, left). The present lots hail from George Condo’s seminal early portraiture series, Existential Portraits, a small handful of works that the artist created which investigated the human psyche. Having hosted two very successful Banksy exhibitions in Hong Kong and Taipei recently, the Hong Kong Day Sale will also see Banksy feature again with Ballerina CP/03. As part of the artist’s Better Out Than In residency in 2013, a month-long show that took place in New York’s Central Park where Banksy unveiled at least one work of art daily, this work was one of the authentic signed canvases sold at the stall.

Phillips will present 6 works from an Important Hong Kong Collection across the Evening and Day Sales. The works hail from a collection spanning nearly four decades, one which features a singular preoccupation on fine art created by the world’s most renowned Asian artists that resided and worked in postwar Europe. These pioneering artists, including Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun and T’ang Haywen, brought with them to Europe a multitude of Eastern traditions that were central to their thinking. The present work, Chu Teh-Chun’s Éclat passager, displays the artist’s meticulous artistry with its elaborate details filling the composition mapped across the entire canvas. With the artist’s dexterous mastery of the contrasts between light and dark, the work fully conveys the poetic essence of traditional Chinese ink painting. The unbridled, broad brushstrokes roam in the background, while the foreground is enriched with colours, embodying the height of pastoral beauty.

Coming from the personal collection of Singaporean modernist painter Liu Kang’s family, the present lot is an early, rare and striking work from 1933 by the artist, whose unrivalled influence in the establishment of the Nanyang style of painting in Singapore is uncontestable. Painted in the very same year that Liu Kang began his professorship for Western art at the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, the scene was most likely painted during one of the outdoor excursions that Liu led pupils to, at the famed West Lake in Hangzhou. West Lake represents what Liu laid down as the key principles of his artistic practice: “a sense of ethnicity,” “time,” “place,” and “character.”

In 1949 Finn Juhl designed the model ‘FJ 49 A’ armchair, which became primarily known as the ‘Chieftain,’ a title rarely used by the architect as he referred to it as the ‘Big Chair’. When first exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild, the ‘Chieftain’ was well received. Finn Juhl designed some of his finest cabinet-made furniture for the Cabinetmakers’ Guild and the ‘Chieftain’ must be considered one of his most accomplished designs.

This season Phillips will partner with Hong Kong-based interior designer Alfred Lam for a unique project “Pantone 561 by Alfred Lam”. Lam is the founder of Studio 1618, and is an award-winning interior designer behind some of the most sophisticated residential and retail spaces in the city. He will be given a dedicated area at Phillips’ Hong Kong preview at the JW Marriott, to curate a selection of furniture and art pieces from the Day Sale, matching the space painted in a pantone colour of his choice. The unique and visually stunning curated space will display Lam’s vision and show visitors how art and design can complement each other in an interior.

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