HONG KONG.- Tiancheng International Auctioneer Limited
held its inaugural auction in Hong Kong. The star lot of the sale, Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant by Auguste Rodin, fetched HK$ 64,900,000 (US$8,327,254). The bronze head sculpture in colossal form was sold to an Asian private collector over the phone after intense bidding, the sold price is over three times of the pre-sale low estimate of 20 million Hong Kong dollars.
We are happy with the sale result today, said Ingrid Lam, CEO of Tiancheng International. It is our honour to present this museum quality Western work of art to Asian collectors at our inaugural auction. Quality art works with such historical significance, provenance and condition are highly sought-after by collectors. This large head of Pierre de Wissant is an outstanding example of Rodins work which captures the fear, pathos and courage of Pierre de Wissant in an expressive way.
Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant is an enlarged cast of the head of one of the figures from Rodins famous Monument to the Burghers of Calais, one of the greatest works of public art of the nineteenth century. The latter, signifying patriotism and heroism, depicts six burghers from Calais, a town in the north of France, who volunteered to sacrifice their lives to save their homeland during Englands invasion in 1347. Pierre de Wissant was one of the burghers and Rodins rendition of him was considered as the most moving and popular.
Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant was recognized as a great piece of artwork when it was first exhibited in 1909 in Berlin. The 82 cm tall bronze head carries communicative emotion that vividly expresses the fear and courage of Pierre de Wissant when facing death. It has been exhibited in open air for years, and has acquired rich and variegated natural patinas.
This Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant is produced by Rodins most preferred maker the Alexis Rudier foundry. The piece has been in the Rudier familys private collection for decades. It is a rare work to be available in the market. The last time it was offered for auction was in 1979.