Tag Archives: zeng fanzhi

Artprice: Zeng Fanzhi Is China’s New “#1 Artist”

Auction Sales From July 1, 2008 To June 30, 2009 Send Zeng To The Top Of The List, As Chinese Artists Make Up 16 Of The Top 50 In The World

Zeng Fanzhi is one of China's most interesting and top-grossing contemporary artists of the last 30 years

Zeng Fanzhi is one of the most interesting and top-grossing contemporary Chinese artists of the last 30 years

Artxun (Chinese) reports this week that Zeng Fanzhi — one of China’s top contemporary artists — has gained the title of “Number One” Chinese artist in terms of auction prices over the last year, leapfrogging longtime title-holder Zhang Xiaogang. While some of this may be down to the slower pace with which Zhang is producing new works, Zeng’s growing popularity within China and, ostensibly, among New Chinese Collectors, could have something to do with it. Zeng, who sprang to prominence in the 1990s mostly through his “Mask” series but has since begun experimenting with more abstract pieces, recently sold 5 of 6 pieces up for grabs at Sotheby’s autumn auction of contemporary Asian art in Hong Kong well above high estimates, indicating that his popularity among the primarily Mainland Chinese bidders remains strong.

The Artxun piece, rather than focusing only on Zeng’s auction prices, does an excellent job of looking into the artist himself and some of the personal projects he has undertaken, including the “Zeng Fanzhi Art Scholarship,” which awarded 10,000 yuan to a disabled university applicant in July of this year. From the article (translation by CLCB staff):

Compared to last year’s [Artprice] list, Chinese artists comprised 16 of the top 50 artists in the world, down from 18 the year before. Among Chinese artists, Zeng Fanzhi was the highest selling, surpassing Zhang Xiaogang by 1,010,000 yuan, becoming China’s most “expensive” artist of 2009. Zhang Xiaogang slipped from the top five this year down to #7. Chinese artists who made the top 50 list last year, namely Yin Chaoyang, Liu Wei, Fan Dehai, and Guo Hai weren’t strong enough to make the list this year, although Yan Peiming is expected to enter the top 50. Another interesting thing to look at is Chengdu’s growing power — aside from Zhang Xiaogang, Chengdu-based contemporary artist Zhou Chunya was ranked 17th in the world and #11 in China in 2008, and in 2009 rose 3 places in the world ranking to #14 while rising 6 places in China to #5 there. Another Chengdu artist, Luo Zhongli, ranked #38.

Continue reading

Sotheby’s Autumn Auction 2009: Top 10 Lots To Watch

Strong interest from Asian buyers expected to spark October sale in HK

As we reported recently, the Sotheby’s autumn auction of Asian art which highlights important contemporary Chinese pieces — will take place in Hong Kong on October 6. With combined estimates at over $12 Million US (HK $98 Million), this sale is expected to be one of the year’s biggest and most-watched auctions. As we have noticed in recent sales — both in Hong Kong and elsewhere — one thing we can expect in this auction is a high proportion of domestic Chinese buyers in the room, and we can expect them to be motivated to buy. Today, in preparation for the upcoming auction season, Forbes published an article on the market for Chinese art, noting that it is becoming gradually more difficult for western collectors to buy a range of Chinese art because of the growing collector base within the country. Describing the increasing numbers of Chinese bidders at antiquities auctions, Sallie Brady writes, “there’s a new dynamic afoot that promises to drive up prices: Mainland Chinese are entering the market in ever greater numbers.”

So for collectors who are interested in making bids on lots in the upcoming Sotheby’s auction, what should they know before they go head-to-head with Chinese buyers? Aside from doing their research to stay up-to-date on recent developments and informed about the past work and possible future longevity of the historical artworks that are up for grabs, it pays to know which lots are the “all stars.” I have looked through the catalog, and here is my list of the “Top 10” lots up for auction on October 6:

1.) Cai Guo-Qiang: Money Net No. 2 (2002)
Lot: 645
Estimate: US$ 605,000-705,000 (HK$ 4,700,000-5,500,000)

MoneyNet.jpg Cai Guo-Qiang (born 1957, Quanzhou, Fujian Province) was educated in stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute from 1981 to 1985. Gunpowder is his trademark medium, from drawings and paintings made by igniting carefully monitored explosions on paper and canvas to massive explosion events like Projects for Extraterrestrials. He is also known for sculptural installation works such as Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows (1998), a massive wooden boat riddled with arrows that recalls a legendary tactic of an ancient Chinese general. Cai has had many solo exhibitions, including Cai Guo-Qiang on the Roof: Transparent Monument at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2006) and Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2008). He was awarded the International Golden Lion prize at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), and curated the first China Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). He was the Chief Special Effects Designer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ creative team. Cai lives in Brooklyn.
Continue reading

Auction To Watch: Sotheby’s Contemporary Asian Art Autumn Sale 2009

Sale Features Works Over 190 Works By Chinese, Japanese and Korean Artists, With Estimates At Over $12 Million US (HK $98 Million)

Up for auction on October 6 in Hong Kong: Cai Guo-Qiang's "Money Net No. 2" (2002)

Up for auction on October 6 in Hong Kong: Cai Guo-Qiang's "Money Net No. 2" (2002)

We will write much more about this upcoming auction as details come in, but today Sotheby’s announced its upcoming autumn auction of contemporary Asian art — featuring top Chinese artists like Cai Guo-Qiang and Zeng Fanzhi as well as Japanese and Korean artists like Yoshitomo Nara and Bae Bien-U. According to the press release, this sale — to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 6 — will follow auctions of Wine and Fine Chinese paintings from October 3-5.

Although the auction includes many top East Asian artists, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the Chinese side. The success of recent Hong Kong auctions, where local buyers have become more numerous as well as more active, gives me a sense that this sale will be one of the year’s highlights. Depending on the turnout, we might be seeing a real turning point in terms of the buyer profile for contemporary Chinese art, and the beginning of the end of western and non-Chinese dominance in purchasing Chinese art.

As Evelyn Lin, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Asian Art, said, “Sotheby’s Hong Kong once again presents a carefully-curated auction of high-quality works by contemporary artists from across Asia. Highlighting this sale is a selection of seminal creations by some of the most prominent artists in the region including Cai Guo-Qiang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara. The kaleidoscopic array of works brings to the fore the diversity and dynamism of the contemporary Asian art scene, as well as the artists’ unrivalled creativity that is set to captivate our collectors.”

Look for more updates on this auction as we get more details — it’s going to be exciting.


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:

Continue reading

The Luxury Of Art In China

Blending Of Art And Luxury Becoming More Common As Commercial Tie-Ins Prove Lucrative For Luxury Brands And Artists Alike

Will the Hermes-obsessed Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi become the first in China to take part in a domestic luxury-art partnership?

Will the Hermes-obsessed Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi become the first in China to take part in a domestic luxury-art partnership?

Today, Art Market Monitor, by way of Newsweek magazine, looks into the phenomenon of art-luxury commercial tie-ins, which have existed in some form for decades but are becoming more common as well as more commercially viable. We have discussed the art-luxury tie-in before, in our profile of Hong Kong’s “A Passion For Creation” art/product exhibition, organized by Louis Vuitton. But the articles in AMM and Newsweek point out some interesting nuances about the art/luxury collaboration.

AMM summarizes the article very concisely as one in which the writer “wonders about Vacheron’s new line of $367,000 watches inspired by African and Oceanic masks, Ikepod’s Jeff Koons watches and Louis Vuitton’s association with just about everyone else. (Okay, just Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami.)” But building on some of the observations in our articles about the melding of art and luxury, and how much of these partnerships can be boiled down to market necessity (as many luxury and art buyers may continue scaling back amid the ongoing slow economy), Newsweek’s Nick Foulkes expertly breaks down how the separate spheres inhabited by the arts and luxury brands are, rather than being entirely separate, have a symbiotic, Venn diagrammatic relationship.

Continue reading

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.