(Credit: Sotheby’s)

Sanyu nude painting sells for record $21million at Sotheby’s

A piece of work by the Sanyu, the brilliant Chinese-French painter, is set to be sold at an auction by Sotheby’s Hong Kong Modern Art Evening Sale and experts are predicting a record-breaking evening.

The work, entitled Nu, was created more than a half a century ago and is one of the clearest examples of Sanyu’s distinctive and unique style, one which earned him the nickname as the “Chinese Matisse” in many circles. While a past auction saw extremely high profits, the sale of Nu is was estimated to reach $13million. However, it went past expectations and eventually sold for $21.7million and became one of Sotheby’s biggest ever results.

“At the height of his artistic maturity, Sanyu painted Nu, the artist’s last nude, final masterpiece and the definitive expression of his singular vision,” the auction house states in its item description. “Extensively illustrated in every catalogue of Sanyu’s oil paintings, Nu was the cover image of the invitation to the artist’s final solo exhibition in 1965.

“Now appearing on the market for the first time in more than half a century, this exceedingly rare work is set to cause tremendous excitement among collectors in Asia and beyond. Sotheby’s Hong Kong is proud to present Sanyu’s Nu, the ultimate masterpiece created by the Chinese émigré artist in France in the 1960s, at the Modern Art Evening Sale on 5 October.”

Speaking about the sale, Vinci Chang, Sotheby’s head of modern Asian art, said: “Following the success of our Modern Art sales series in July, this autumn we are thrilled to present, for the first time ever in our Evening Sale, four legendary masterpieces by Sanyu and Wu Guanzhong, the figureheads of two generations of Chinese émigré artists in France before and after World War II.

“Both transcended the boundaries between Asia and Europe in their impact and influence, and together they wrote an important chapter in the history of modern art.”

See the listing, here.

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