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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.

Posts Tagged ‘Chinese auction houses’

Chinese auction houses dominate top 10 list of global auction houses for contemporary art – Artprice

Posted by artradar on February 1, 2009



According to Artprice, in the global ranking (in terms of revenue) of the 10 biggest auction houses for contemporary art over the last 12 months, 6 are Chinese.




1. Sotheby’s 14.5m

2. Christie’s 14.4m

3. Phillips de Pury 8.7m

4. Poly International 7.1

5. China Guardian 6.8m

6. Borododur Chinese 5.7m

7. Ravanel 5.7m

8. Zhong Cheng 5.5m

9. Shanghai Hosane 5.2m

10. Beijing Council 4.7m

Top 10 auction houses by contemporary art sales July 1 2007 to 30 June 2008 compiled by Artprice, the French auction price database company.

According to Artprice

The irruption in 2003-2004 of a new generation of Chinese collectors on the international scene initially triggered a sharp inflation of prices in the Anglo-American auction rooms before spreading in very amplified waves to Chinese auctions over the last two years. Today the growth of the contemporary Chinese art market, is self-sustaining and appears to have emancipated itself from the hegemony of the two “Anglo-Saxon” houses (Sotheby’s and Christie’s).

Artprice, the French auction price database company has produced a report Contemporary Art Market 2007/2008 in which Alain Quemin, Professor of Art Sociology at Paris University analyses 51 Art Fairs selected by Artprice and their 4658 gallery participations to produce this list.

Artprice report Contemporary Art Market 2007/2008 This 99 page report is free to download and contains information about auction, fair and geographical trends and artist prices for the year to June 30 2008.


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Domestic demand in freefall at Chinese art auctions – China Daily

Posted by artradar on November 21, 2008

No bids for many Chinese art lots

“Half and Half” from contemporary artist Wang Huaiqing. Base price, 4 million yuan ($585,700). Who will start me off?”Not a single bid was forthcoming, a scenario repeated many times at China Guardian’s Grand Fall Auction, a key event in the art world.

The global recession has clearly cooled the Chinese art market and Guardian’s fall auction, known as a barometer of domestic market sentiment, was its latest victim. It ended last Thursday with final takings of 360 million yuan ($52.78 million), only one third of the 993 million yuan ($145.6 million) from the company’s spring auction.

Contemporary art suffered the greatest plunge. Only half the lots were sold and the highest price among them was only 2.97 million yuan (for Wang Qidong’s A White Cloud), while at the spring auction it had been 57 million yuan (for Liu Xiaodong’s Hot Bed No.1).

Nor were buyers tempted by the greatly reduced prices indicated by organizers. Wang Huaiqing’s Half and Half, for example, failed to attract a bid at 4 million yuan, while at the spring auction Wang made a record 28 million yuan for the painting Homeless Furniture.

Cancellation of sales

Things are so bad that Beijing Huachen Auctions, another big group in China, canceled all its contemporary art sales at its fall auction last week. General manager Gan Xuejun called it a “cautious but necessary” measure amid the economy turmoil.

Three weeks ago, Sotheby’s fall auction in Hong Kong only proceeded with half its contemporary art lots.

The end of a four year Chinese art boom

The slump at the major auction houses seems to mark the end of a four-year boom in Chinese contemporary art, a golden age for artists like Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi.

Chinese art website also showed a 14 percent fall in its Chinese contemporary art index this fall, compared with the spring, while its benchmark index of 400 top Chinese artists showed a 28 percent decline for the same period.

Fine Art index founder predicts 50% fall for contemporary art

Mei Jianping, an academic who created the Fine Art index, a widely cited measure of performance in art markets, estimated contemporary art could plunge by 50 percent.

Although the whole industry is beset by pessimism, many professionals insist the end of the good times for Chinese contemporary art could be a blessing in disguise.

“Many Chinese contemporary artworks are overpriced,” says Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University. “Now it is time to squeeze out the bubbles.”

Dong Mengyang, curator of the annual Art Beijing Expo, shares Zhang’s opinion: “Like shares and real estate, Chinese contemporary art has been regarded as newly profitable and most people buy them just for investment, not for art appreciation. The astounding prices of some contemporary artworks have no relation to their art value.”

He believes the global downturn and withdrawal of speculators will ease the Chinese contemporary art market into an adjustment phase that will last for at least a year.

Art critic Gao Minglu is forecasting that as much as 80 percent of contemporary artworks will eventually be eliminated and that the prices of those left standing will also fall to rational figures.

Dong agrees: “Chinese contemporary art will benefit from such a cleaning up. Buyers and collectors will resume their intense scrutiny on the artistic value of works.”

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Wang Huaiqing Half and Half


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New Chinese art auction intelligence report in English free to download – Artron

Posted by artradar on September 25, 2008


In July 2008, Chinese art portal Artron published its first 50 plus page industry report Artworks Auction Market of China: Spring 2008. The report is available in English and will be updated quarterly. Analysis is based on statistics drawn from the Artron Chinese Art Database which has data on 60,000 artists, 212 auction companies and 8,000 exhibtions to date with back data from 1970 to be added.

Artron likens itself to a boat moving constantly on the waves of the Chinese art market ocean and refers to four of China’s top contemporary artists -Yue Min Jun, Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, Wang Guangyi – as ‘The Four Heavenly Kings’ but between the picturesque metaphors there are some useful snippets of data and analysis:

  • there are approximately 250 known auction houses operating in China in an increasingly competitive environment in which consolidation is expected
  • Yue Min Jun’s art is the most expensive based on Artron’s price per sq metre index
  • China’s top five auction houses account for approximately 50% of auction sales
  • 15 year old Guardian is dominant amongst local auction houses but 2 year old Beijing Poly is now second and growing fast
  • a list of top 20 local auction houses
  • trends by auction category

The report is available for download

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