In Demand: Artists to Watch

In Demand: Artists to Watch

Highlighting the hottest artists on the market today, including young and emerging names in the contemporary art world.

Highlighting the hottest artists on the market today, including young and emerging names in the contemporary art world.

Nicolas Party, Still Life, 2017
Estimate: HK$6,200,000 - 9,400,000 (US$795,000 - 1,210,000)
Lot 20, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30


Nicolas Party

Born in Lausanne, a Swiss city on the banks of Lake Geneva overlooking the Alps, Nicolas Party was inspired by the idyllic environment, which clearly figures in his acute fascination with the natural world.

The gemstone shapes in Still Life, for example, are recognizable as pears and gourds, but in a layered formation, their sloping poses also conjure a landscape of rolling hills foregrounding pointed mountain peaks. With a flair for the uncanny, Party pushes this effect into overdrive in works anthropomorphizing organic forms, such as the dancing flowers of early Disney, and intensifying a sense of mystery by “applying a personality to them.”

Javier Calleja, 30 works: Untitled, 2017
Estimate: HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 (US$385,000 - 641,000)
Lot 7, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30

Javier Calleja

Understood as a reflection of the artist himself, Javier Calleja’s characters have become beloved icons across the world, instantly recognizable for their endearing portrayals that are simultaneously sophisticated in technique and casually candid. Calleja masters this balance through expression, tonality and texture, most obvious in the contrast between his subjects’ watery, marble-like eyes and the more graphically simple elements that frame them.

Evoking the delicate moment when a child stops crying and is about to break out into a smile once again, Calleja has revealed: “That is the moment I paint — when experiencing something bad and you just had a breakthrough. I think when a child is crying and then stops to cry, they’re a hero, because he or she decided to overcome the pain.”

Liu Ye, Untitled, 1993
Estimate: HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 (US$385,000 - 641,000)
Lot 39, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30

Liu Ye

Contemporary Chinese painter Liu Ye is known for a singular body of work rich in aesthetic, historical and literary meaning, his dream-like imagery inspired by his childhood love of fairy tales and formative education in Europe.

Distinguished from his fellow Chinese painters by a prevailing love of wonder and mystery, Liu’s bold and meditative paintings challenge viewers to participate in a world liberated from the concrete and present.

Robert Nava, Angel Shark, 2020
Estimate: HK$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 (US$154,000 - 231,000)
Lot 49, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30

Robert Nava

Radiating an energy and delight almost infantile in its slick application of paint, Robert Nava’s works build on the gesturalism of artists such as Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Despite the slapdash appearance of the finished works — Nava has said his quickest piece took a mere 27 seconds to complete — they are a product of rigorous discipline. “I know what I’m doing,” he once said. “It’s carefully done wrong.”

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Blue Ancestor, 2019
Estimate: HK$400,000 - 600,000 (US$51,300 - 76,900)
Lot 55, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones

London-born, New York-based artist Tunji Adeniyi-Jones has rapidly gained art world recognition for his use of figurative painting to explore West African history, its associated mythology, and his own Yoruba heritage and diasporic experiences. His paintings dazzle as celebrations of his ancestors’ ceremonies and rituals, featuring contorting limbs that are slammed up to the very surface of the canvas with astounding authority, and masks with eyes aglow and gazes magnified.

“There are so many compelling cultural crossovers between European art and West African art, and my work is an exploration of this exchange, especially seeing as I can claim ownership over both sides of this transaction.”

Cinga Samson, Ivory V, 2018
Estimate: HK$250,000 - 350,000 (US$32,100 - 44,900)
Lot 1, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30

Cinga Samson

While South African-born Cinga Samson has cited the significant influence of Western artists, including Andrew Wyeth, Louise Bourgeois, Paul Gaugin, and Francis Bacon, what ultimately drives his creativity is celebrating his heritage and presenting a powerful depiction of his generation in Africa that defies Western expectations.

“In all my art books, African artists are in the last chapter, if at all…I want you to look at my work and think, ‘That’s exquisite, that’s incredible, I am blown away — and I know it is completely African,’ without feeling that it is lacking.”

Matthew Wong, Far Away Eyes, 2017
Estimate: HK$8,000,000 - 12,000,000 (US$1,030,000 - 1,540,000)
Lot 15, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 30

Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong’s rapid rise to stardom is widely considered one of the most remarkable in the past half century. His work has been honored with inclusion in notable public collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Aïshti Foundation in Beirut.

Painted within the final years of Wong’s prolific yet short-lived years, Nature’s Church is a superlative example from the artist’s limited oeuvre. “I do believe that there is an inherent loneliness or melancholy to much of contemporary life,” he once said, “and on a broader level I feel my work speaks to this quality in addition to being a reflection of my thoughts, fascinations and impulses.”


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