The late Matthew Wong, River at Dusk just sold at Phillips Hong Kong for $4.9 million, setting a new record for the artist.
It was just a bit above Wong’s previous record of $4.5 million set this October. (As if $400,000 is just a “bit”…)
Wong was a burgeoning artist early in his career. He died last October by suicide.
He had just three solo shows, but Wong was establishing himself as an emerging talent to watch. His work borrows ideas from painters like Matisse & Hockney. In 2018 he told Art of Choice that he’d been influenced by Munch, van Gogh, Alex Katz and even Kanye West.
He was a big Facebook user, participating in discussions on art critic Jerry Saltz‘s page. Saltz said Wong’s debut exhibit was
“one of the most impressive solo New York debuts I’ve seen in a while.”
That show was his breakout moment at NYC’s Karma gallery in 2018.
According to ArtNews, Wong was forever curious about art and artists.
“I am a bit of an omnivore for sights, sounds and ideas and am always on the lookout for perspectives,”
Wong said that he, like many, worked by instinct,
“Sometimes I could just be making marks almost haphazardly and at a certain point I step back and realize I have a finished, satisfactory image that I have no idea how I managed to pull that one off.”
He told Studio Critical when he was just getting started in 2013.
“I’m just going with my gut at the moment. But often times, my gut also cancels itself out and I keep painting over an image with a totally different image, and work like this can go on for months before a single surface is resolved.”
He said in 2014,
“Would I be able to go through life without painting? I guess we’ll never know.”
Matthew Wong was 35.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide you can contact the Trevor Project here or call 866-488-7386 24/7.
(Images, Karma, Matthew Wong; via ArtNews)