- Artmarket.com: According to Artprice data on global auctions, China's art market is gradually recovering its shape
PARIS, July 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chinese market, which quickly emerged as the top of the international art scene in 2010 with an annual art auction turnover that suddenly exceeded $3 billion, has gradually structured around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, but also increasingly around Hong Kong. In fact, since the Covid-19 health crisis, Hong Kong has become the main center of the art market in the entire Asia-Pacific region. This year, however, and for the first time in ten years, Hong Kong is experiencing a slight contraction in its art market activity. Meanwhile, mainland China is slowly returning to the path of growth.
Thierry Ehrmann, President of Artmarket.com and Founder of Artprice: "We have had a privileged association with the Chinese group Artron for more than a decade, and it is this long collaboration that allows our joint reports to identify and analyze the stabilization of the art market. art from China, with an effective reorganization of its market".
Two works exceeded 30 million dollars
At $33.1 million, on February 24, 2023 in Beijing, the Yongle auction garnered China's best first-half art result for Cui Ruzhuo's ink on paper, Rafting In Wind And Rain (2019). It was also the best result in mainland China in more than five years. But it was only the 18th best fine art auction result in mainland Chinese auction history, a far cry from the $140 million fetched in 2017 for the 12 drawings that make up Qi Baishi's Screens of Landscapes (1925).
In Hong Kong, on April 5, 2023, Zhang Daqian's gold-enhanced ink on paper, Pink Lotuses on Gold Screen (1973), was purchased for $32.1 million at Sotheby's. The island continues to encourage and promote exchanges between East and West, recording multi-million dollar results for works by Yoshitomo Nara and Yayoi Kusama and works by Pablo Picasso and Jean-Michel Basquiat. At the beginning of the year, canvases by Miró, Magritte, Zao-Wou-ki and Chagall mingled naturally with sculptures by Jeff Koons and ultra-contemporary works by Matthew Wong, Nicolas Party and Avery Singer in the best catalogs in Hong Kong.
In total, Artprice has detailed data on nearly 16,000 lots of artworks sold at auction across China between January 1 and June 30, 2023. Hong Kong retains the highest median fine art lot price in the world. (just under $230,000), with 2,600 works generating $595 million (including buyer fees). But the data from mainland China is also honorable, with more than 10,000 lots reaching an average price of $78,000.
180% growth in mainland China
While the art market is experiencing a sharp contraction in almost all Western countries, mainland China has posted relatively positive figures for the first half of 2023. Although still far from its exceptional results of ten years ago, the art auction market of art in the country generated almost three times more business volume than in the first half of 2022, which was hampered by the country's zero covid policy at the time. However, the recent buoyancy may have been fueled by sales that were simply carried over from last year, so it remains to be seen if the second half will post just as buoyant numbers.
Results from Chinese auction houses China Guardian, Poly, Yongle, Rombon and Xilling have returned to prominence since Western auction operators have stopped organizing sales in mainland China for the time being. Its sales have been completely focused on Hong Kong, consolidating a business volume that has not stopped growing in the last two decades.
There is no doubt that the international art market is eager to see key works by the superstars of contemporary Chinese art reappear on the market. The first half saw several 7-figure results for works by Chen Yifei, Liu Ye and Zhou Chunya, among others, and Bonhams sold Zeng Fanzhi's Mask 2000 No. 3 (2000) in Hong Kong for $3.1 million. This result is consistent with those recorded ten years ago for the same series, but the works of these big names in "New Chinese painting" have circulated much less intensively, and their masterpieces have been surprisingly understated in auction rooms for the last three years.
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