Chinese artists set new records at Paris auction

In this file photo taken on November 26, 2003, French-Chinese painter Zao Wou-Ki gestures during his induction ceremony in the painting section of the Academy of Fine Arts (Academie des Beaux-Arts), part of the five academies of the Institut de France in Paris. — AFP pic
In this file photo taken on November 26, 2003, French-Chinese painter Zao Wou-Ki gestures during his induction ceremony in the painting section of the Academy of Fine Arts (Academie des Beaux-Arts), part of the five academies of the Institut de France in Paris. — AFP pic

PARIS, June 7 — Paintings by two of the “Three Musketeers” of Chinese art, Chu Teh-Chun and Zao Wou-Ki, have set new records, going for nearly €10 million (RM46.9 million) at a Paris auction.

The abstract work “Synthese hivernale C” by Chu went for more than €5.17 million — five times its estimate in an Artcurial sale late Wednesday.

The Chinese-born painter, who like his fellow modernist master Zao spent most of his life in France, was the first ethnic Chinese member of the French academy of fine arts.

He died in Paris aged 93 in 2014. With Wu Guanzhong, the pair are known as the “Three Musketeers” of Chinese art.

Zao’s work “24.1.61/62” went under the hammer for more than €4.6 million in the same Artcurial auction — four times what it was expected to sell for.

Both paintings went for record prices for the artists outside Asia.

A triptych by Zao — “Juin-Octobre 1985” — went for US$65 million (RM270 million) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in September.

The other headliners at the Paris sale were 15 watercolours by the Spanish surrealist master Salvador Dali, which went for €1.2 million.

They are valued individually between €20,000 and €100,000.

The works, created between 1959 and 1976 for the Spanish pharmaceutical company Hoechst Iberica, were for New Year’s greeting cards sent out to clients.

In addition to painting the cards, Dali penned exuberant holiday wishes and put his signature to them.

The works were displayed for two decades at the Dali Foundation in Figueras in his native Catalonia. — AFP

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