Tag Archives: chen yifei

Ullens Successfully Sells $22.2 Million Worth Of Chinese Art In Beijing

Chinese Buyers Buy 18 Works From Collector, Founder Of Beijing’s Largest Private Art Museum, Who Holds One Of the World’s Largest Active Collections Of Chinese Artwork

The Ullens Center, in Beijing, houses one of the world's top collections of Chinese art

The Ullens Center, in Beijing, houses one of the world's top collections of Chinese art

Big news coming out of the Chinese art world today. Bloomberg reports that Guy Ullens, the Belgian industrialist and collector of Chinese art since the mid-1980s, has sold 18 works from his collection for over $20 million (151.7 yuan). Ullens, whose collection is made up of hundreds of pieces spanning centuries of China’s long artistic history, put these works, many of them duplicates or triplicates, up for auction to add to efforts by his popular Beijing museum of contemporary Chinese art to reach out to China’s burgeoning collector base and art enthusiasts.

According to Bloomberg, the huge returns on Ullens’s sale indicates two important developments in the Chinese art world — for one, the quality of the Ullens collection, and two, the motivation of Mainland Chinese collectors to buy Chinese art now. While the Ullens collection has long been considered one of the top collections of traditional and contemporary Chinese art, until recently the local Chinese collector base has stayed out of the picture, mainly sticking to purchasing the occasional western master or ancient Chinese antique. Now, however, as the Chinese New Collector becomes increasingly influential in art auctions around the world, sales like that of Ullens’s artwork are, as we’ve seen in the last year or so, becoming more heavily populated by Mainland buyers.

Bloomberg points out that the success of this sale reflects the trend that we have been observing since before the global downturn struck, of Chinese buyers (and Chinese auction houses) growing in number and influence. This extends not only to the sale of Ullens’s artwork, but to every corner of the auction market, from contemporary and traditiional Chinese art to wines and jewelry. As the article points out as well, the breadth of Ullens’s sale — which included contemporary artists like Zhang Xiaogang, who sold for 15 million yuan to a Chinese buyer — shows that the Chinese collector has truly arrived.

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Update: Christie’s HK Evening Auction of Contemporary Chinese And Asian Art A Success

Evening Sale of Chinese and Asian Contemporary and 20th Century Art Brings In $23.4 million – 89% Sold By Lot, 98% Sold By Value, Zao Wou-Ki Takes In $4,585,704 For One Painting

Sold for $858,037: Contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang's "Big Family Series No. 21" (1999)

Sold for $858,037: Contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang's "Big Family Series No. 21" (1999)

A quick update about Christie’s first out of three Asian and Chinese contemporary and 20th century art auctions currently taking place in Hong Kong. As of the first sale — the evening sale — bidding was strong and prices healthy, with historical and top artists selling well and for good prices. Some artists, such as Chinese artist Sanyu — who was sold for $5.4 million — set artist records, as the artist (who died in 1966) far exceeded the previous record set for his work in 2006.

Although I don’t have much detail yet about the buyer demographics — I’ll post an update once I do — here are some of the figures from the first night of auctions:

Zao Wou-Ki $7,660,122 (Total, for three works)
Cai Guo-Qiang $1,091,341
Zhang Xiaogang $858,037
Zeng Fanzhi $780,270
Liu Ye $624,734
Fang Lijun $593,627
Yoshitomo Nara (Japanese) $562,520
Chen Yifei $267,003

You can see the final results of all lots for the evening sale here. Updates will follow on the following auctions.