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Yue Minjun Sails Past Estimates At Phillips Contemporary Auction

Contemporary Chinese Artist Assures Place Among Top Contemporary Artists, Selling For $685,694

Yue Minjun's "Untitled" (2005) brought in nearly $200,000 more than its top estimate. Image © Phillips de Pury & Company

Yue Minjun's "Untitled" (2005) brought in nearly $200,000 more than its top estimate. Image © Phillips de Pury & Company

Tentative signs of optimism are starting to show in the contemporary art world, which has not been spared by the economic downturn. Although recent auctions of Chinese and other Asian art have indicated that this region’s contemporary art remains popular among local collectors — who snapped up artwork at recent Ravenel auctions and festivals like HK09 — many predominantly Western art auctions have recently been met by restrained bidding. At last week’s Phillips de Pury & Company Contemporary Art auction in London, however, sometimes frenzied bidding has allowed major auction houses to breathe a slight sigh of relief. 30 of the auction’s 39 pieces sold, bringing in $8,451,540, just shy of the target of 8,692,240. Compared to some other recent sales, this is a huge success, and indicates that buyers are finally getting back into the game as prices have adjusted somewhat and created excellent buying opportunities.

Among the pieces by Koons, Warhol, Ruscha and others, one piece in particular surprised some observers — “Untitled” (2005) by contemporary Chinese artist Yue Minjun. The painting by Yue, who has become one of the world’s top 10-selling contemporary artists over the course of the last 10 years, brought in $196,959 more than its highest estimate, proving that even in tough economic times, historical artists and good quality art will always attract bidders. As Artinfo writes on the sale:

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