Tag Archives: hai bo

Rise Of New Chinese Collector Continues As Chinese Antiquities Remain “Recession Proof”

Astronomical Prices Paid For Historical And Quality Pieces In Recent Asian Auctions Defies Global Economic Woes As More Chinese Collectors Get In The Game

In October, Sotheby's will put on a large-scale sale of Asian art in Hong Kong. Will The New Chinese Collector continue to flex his (or her) muscles at that sale?

Since good works by historical artists like Yue Minjun are becoming more scarce, Chinese collectors are expected to continue to flex their muscles in upcoming auctions of Chinese contemporary art

Hardly any industry has escaped the global economic slowdown unscathed, and art is no exception, but recent auction results indicate that the art market — or at least pockets of the art market — are coming back to life. As the Wall Street Journal reports today, in some recent auctions some pieces have sold for exponentially more than their estimates, surprising collectors and market analysts alike. The common bond shared by most of these pieces? They were Chinese — or, if not Chinese, Asian:

Last week, the longest string of Asian art sales since the Zodiac clock dispute was held in the U.S.—and amid the most entrenched art-market recession in nearly two decades, the auction prices of many more than a handful of pieces went through the roof. At the Sotheby’s sale of works from the collection of Arthur M. Sackler, for example, the auctioneer sang out fast-rising numbers, first in English, then Chinese, as if he were rising in the elevator of some fantastically tall Hong Kong skyscraper.

The emergence of the New Chinese Collector is a subject we’ve followed pretty much since our inception, and is a subject that is endlessly fascinating simply because it’s such a new phenomenon. While, technically, Chinese people have collected art for a few thousand years — with the exception of a few Mao-era decades where the practice was virtually nonexistent but for a few elite art lovers here and there — the New Chinese Collector has only existed for around 20 years, and arguably even less than that. This collector base was out in full force in recent auctions of Chinese and other Asian art — in New York, London and Hong Kong — and the motivation, desire and intensity of the Chinese collector is becoming somewhat legendary right before our eyes.

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Chinese Art — The Scarcity And Valuation Connection

Parallel Between China’s Art Market And The Broader Economy

Zhang Dali, Forbidden City: 1998. MOMA Collection.

Zhang Dali, Forbidden City: 1998. MOMA Collection.

The New York Times published an interesting story yesterday about the connection between buyer trends and scarcity in recent art auctions. Technically, scarcity has always played a part in buyers’ habits, obviously, as dead artists usually sell for more than those with a pulse. But the reporter remarked that scarcity is being pushed along quite rapidly in some markets, more than in others. At a recent sale of antiquities, the popularity of Chinese works reflects the rising belief among many collectors that — from Shang Dynasty pottery to important historical contemporary artists from 1989-1999 — the Chinese market exhibits all of the hallmarks of a solid global art market: Scarcity (driven by increased domestic buying and slower output by living artists), outpacing inflation, and quality (established by more high profile acqusitions). So as the market for antiquities continues to roll along, the increased attention to contemporary pieces should ultimately benefit the whole Chinese art market.

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Chinese Art Coming To a Museum Near You

More Museums Expected to Follow the Lead of the Getty, MOMA, Tate, Pompidou etc.

Yesterday, we wrote about the Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquiring photos by Chinese artists Wang Qingsong and Hai Bo, and described how the leap from gallery or personal collection to museum solidifies an artists’ or a country’s artwork, giving it validation and ensuring longevity. Since then, we’ve been keeping an eye out for articles on this topic, and are finding that the story has been picked up pretty widely, with each outlet throwing in a little more detail.

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