Christie’s to auction Sanyu masterpiece in Hong Kong sale

Sanyu, ‘Chrysanthèmes blanches dans un pot bleu et blanc’ (‘White Chrysanthemum in a Blue and White Jardinière’) © Image Courtesy of Christie’s

HONG KONG: Sanyu’s “White Chrysanthemum in a Blue and White Jardinière” will be offered during Christie’s Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, which will take place on July 10 in Hong Kong.

“White Chrysanthemum in a Blue and White Jardinière” belongs to a series of floral-themed “Jardinières Against Red Ground” paintings that Sanyu created towards the end of his artistic practice.

The French-Chinese artist completed over a hundred paintings featuring floral subjects during his decades-long career, most of which are the embodiment of his nostalgia according to Taiwanese aesthetics scholar Jiang Xun.

While chrysanthemums are depicted more often than any other flower in Sanyu’s oeuvre, “White Chrysanthemum in a Blue and White Jardinière” is one of the only four known large-scale paintings of chrysanthemums against a red background in his catalogue raisonné.

Two of them currently reside in the permanent collection of the National Museum of History in Taipei, while the work on offer at Christie’s is one of only two pieces currently located in private collections.

“‘White Chrysanthemum in a Blue and White Jardinière’ is one of the finest examples of Sanyu’s floral creations, exemplifying his innate ability to blend Chinese artistic traditions with Western modern aesthetics to create an ingenious work of art,” Evelyn Lin, Deputy Chairman, International Director and Head of Department, Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

“White Chrysanthemum in a Blue and White Jardinière” is now hitting the auction block for the first time in 15 years at Christie’s, where the colourful still life is expected to fetch between HK$60 million and HK$80 million.

Last time it appeared on the market, the masterpiece sold for a more modest price of HK$ 7.7 million at Christie’s Hong Kong.

A staple in the Asian art market, Sanyu’s oeuvre has caught the attention of international collectors in recent years, as testifies the record-breaking sale of “Five Nudes” in November 2019.

The oil-on-masonite piece went under the hammer for a staggering HK$303 million (around $38.7 million) during Christie’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in Hong Kong, where it set a new auction record for Sanyu.