The Chinese restaurateur Zhang Lan, who was in Hong Kong this week, bought Andy Warhol’s Little Electric Chair, 1965, for $10.5m (est $7.5m-$9.5m) in a standalone sale at Christie’s New York on Monday. The founder of the nationwide South Beauty chain of restaurants also bought Martin Kippenberger’s 1988 portrait of Picasso in his underpants, for a record $18.6m (est $9m-$12m).
The purchases underline the enormous spending power of Asian collectors at the New York auctions this week. On Tuesday, Christie’s New York held its main post-war and contemporary art auction, which made a record-breaking $744.9m.
Xin Li, the head of Christie’s Asia department, was seen juggling three phone calls to clients at once. She bought half of Tuesday evening’s top ten lots for clients, including Alexander Calder’s mobile Poisson Volant (Flying Fish), 1958, for $25.9m (est $9m-$12m).