Recent Acquisitions by Museums and More Interest From Local Collectors Running in Parallel
prices are going down (though [not as much] for the big names), and it could be a good time to invest.
The article mentions a quote from Sotheby’s, which takes a long-term view of investing in Chinese art (it makes no mention of investing in Chinese real estate or other equities):
“Unlike the former overheating phenomena, China’s contemporary art market is undergoing an adjustment phase and becoming more rational,” says Wang Jie, chief representative in Shanghai for Sotheby’s. “The economic downturn does have some effect on the market. However, an artwork’s price mainly depends on its own quality.”
Quality seems to be the lynchpin here. While works by major Chinese artists like Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, and others may not see significant drops in prices, there will be some “adjustment” across the spectrum, so for potential buyers who may find that Chinese art is starting to fall into their price range, the question becomes: Who is good, and whose work will appreciate in value?
As with all art, questions about who — aside from the “big names” — is “good” are pretty subjective, but a good place to look for relatively big name artists whose work should appreciate in time roughly in line with inflation and be less vulnerable to the big “bubble” ups-and-downs like we’ve seen recently is the artists who are being acquired by major museums. Since galleries tend to be among the first to “discover” artists and get the marketing machine going — often regardless of the inherent quality of the artist or artwork — if we look to institutions and who they’re buying, we can assume that these artists will have both legitimacy in the art world and career or artwork longevity.
This week, Art Daily reported that the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles just acquired nine works by contemporary Chinese photographers Hai Bo and Wang Qingsong for the museum’s permanent collection:
“The acquisition of these works affirms an important new direction for the Getty,” says noted photography dealer and collector Daniel Wolf, who helped establish the museum’s collection in the 1980s. “It reflects an interest in expanding the collection in this category. The Getty is a global institution, and this collecting strategy will help broaden the international scope of its contemporary holdings.”
Keep an eye out for our Monday post on the outcome of this sale. Although, if you’re one of the attendees, maybe you can leave us a comment about what you managed to get at the auction, just to make us jealous.