Tag Archives: sale

Chinese Art Collectors Buying In NYC, Expect Trend To Continue In HK Auctions

New York Auction Of Ancient Chinese Antiquities Draws Fevered Bidding, High Proportion of Mainland Chinese Collectors

The rising influence and enthusiasm of mainland Chinese art collectors is a subject we revisit very often, because the long-term implications of a strong domestic collector class could be huge for owners (or potential buyers) of Chinese art of all classes — from antiquities to contemporary Chinese art. At this week’s auction of Chinese antiquities from the Sackler collection, which brought in $3,285,875 — triple the low estimate — and was 97% sold by lot (99% sold by value), all of the elements that we feel will completely reshape the Chinese art world over time — mainland collectors and intense competition for scarce pieces from historical artists or rare antiquities — came to the forefront. This chart from Art Market Monitor speaks for itself:


While the huge gap between the estimates and realized prices is noteworthy, as it indicates strong bidding, what I feel is most important about this chart (and, to be more specific, the results as a whole) is the overwhelming proportion of Asian buyers. While, as usual, this chart does not specify the buyers’ countries of origin, from other reports (and previous trends) we can be fairly confident that these buyers are primarily mainland Chinese. With 80% (or, at least, most of that 80%) being Chinese, and the highest bidder at the auction being a private buyer, these auctions give us a good sense of the possible future of Chinese arts auctions.

Up for auction in Hong Kong on October 6: Ai Weiwei's “A Gift from Beijing (set of three works)”

Up for auction in Hong Kong on October 6: Ai Weiwei's “A Gift from Beijing (set of three works)” -- Estimate: US$ 30,800-44,800 (HK$ 240,000-350,000)

With upcoming auctions like Sotheby’s Autumn auction in Hong Kong on October 6 expected to draw a similar high proportion of Chinese buyers, it appears the era of the Chinese art collector is ramping up. While they are still a relatively small group (based on population and compared to the number of western collectors), over the past few years Chinese buyers have indicated that they are often willing to spend whatever it takes to get a piece of art that means something to them — whether on a personal or patriotic level. A good example of this was yesterday’s sale of an imperial desk set, which belonged to the Qing Dynasty emperor Qianlong — who remains a popular figure in Chinese history. As Art Market Monitor reported today, this desk set brought in $1.4 million — over an estimate of only $30,000. I would have loved to be in that room when bidding was going on.

(Via Art Market Monitor)

(Via Art Market Monitor)

Another piece of good news in the Asian art world comes from Sotheby’s this week, as their vice chairman of Asian Art, Henry Howard-Sneyd, said ahead of today’s sales of Chinese and other Asian art, “We’re aiming as high as we can.” As Reuters notes, Sotheby’s is confident that the art market in Asia is in a good place right now, as evidenced by recent sales and trends that suggest a resistance to the global economic woes that are keeping many western art buyers indoors at the moment:

A rare mother-of pearl inlaid black lacquer wine table, dating to the Wanli Period (1573-1620) that once belonged to Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller, is expected to be among the top selling items in one of two Chinese works of art auctions on Wednesday. It could fetch up to $600,000.

Also included in the sale is a pale celadon jade carved brushpot, Bitong, dating to the 18th century that could sell for as much $400,000, and a large bronze figure of an 11-headed and multi-armed Avalokitesvara, one of the most important Buddhist deities, with an estimated price tag of $200,000.

“We see the price and interest in Asia art going higher and higher,” Howard-Sneyd added.

Forty lots of Chinese furniture from the collections of Dr Arthur M. Sackler, a psychiatrist, businessman and philanthropist, will also go under the hammer on Wednesday.

Upcoming Sotheby’s Sale To Offer Chinese Furniture And Art From The Sackler Collection

Fall Auction Season To Be Packed With Chinese Arts, From Antiquities To Contemporary Pieces

Arthur Sackler amassed an impressive collection of artwork in his lifetime, including rare Chinese furniture, ceramics, and paintings

Arthur Sackler amassed an impressive collection of artwork in his lifetime, including rare Chinese furniture, ceramics, and paintings

Carol Vogel writes today in the New York Times about the upcoming Sotheby’s auction of pieces (to be held September 16), which includes many pieces of Chinese furniture and artwork from the collection of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler — “the psychiatrist and philanthropist who became one of the leading art collectors in the United States.” Vogel points out that this sale will offer not only Chinese works but valuable works from Sackler’s extensive collection of European Impressionists and sculptures as well.

Of course, to us, it is the sale of some of Sackler’s enviable collection of Chinese art and furniture that is the most interesting. According to Art Daily, this Sackler auction includes many rare and exotic pieces dating back as far as the 17th century:

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Ravenel’s 10th Anniversary Spring Auction Of Asian Art Brings In $6.5 Million

Chinese Buyers Fill The Room At Taiwanese Auction House’s Spring Asian Art Sale

Chinese artist Wang Huaiqing's 'Flying Apsaras' brought in more than $1.3 million at this weekend's Ravenel auction in Taipei

Chinese artist Wang Huaiqing's 'Flying Apsaras' brought in more than $1.3 million at this weekend's Ravenel auction in Taipei

While the auction market has been somewhat sluggish this year — despite good showings in western markets over the last few months — the recent buzz building in Hong Kong, the mainland, and Taiwan recently is starting to get more attention. After last month’s hugely successful HK09 Festival in Hong Kong, where western and Asian artists were exhibited and sold briskly, there have been a rash of sales from home-grown auction houses like the mainland’s Poly and Guardian and Taiwan’s Ravenel, and the surprising sales at these auctions to mainland and Greater China collectors have stunned some onlookers, who had underestimated the motivation of these New Collectors. Going with this trend, Ravenel’s weekend sale of modern and contemporary Asian art in Taipei was both the company’s biggest sale to date and a huge success for Asian art auctions in general.

The sale, which all told brought in $6.5 million in sales, with the top lot going for $1.3 million, has positioned the 10-year-old Ravenel as one of the top Asian auction houses. With prices having become somewhat more affordable as a result of the global economic slowdown, we have seen Chinese and Asian art collectors step up to take their place among major global art buyers, and the buying demographic of the Taipei sale — which was predominantly populated by local and mainland collectors — goes to show that this emerging group of collectors will become increasingly influential in coming auctions, both in the region and globally.

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