Classical paintings shine at Christie's in Hong Kong

Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:44am EST
 
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HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - Sales of traditional Chinese paintings and old masters notched up firm results at Christie's autumn sales in Hong Kong, outshining Chinese contemporary art.

Christie's, hit by anemic spring sales due to the financial crisis, had been banking on the current autumn sales in Hong Kong, now the firm's third biggest arts hub after New York and London, for a reversal of fortunes.

In the fine Chinese modern paintings sale, 84 percent of lots were sold including a world auction record for Chinese artist Fu Baoshi, whose "Landscape inspired by Dufu Poetic Sentiment" was hammered off for HK$60 million ($7.7 million), a price market experts said was around four times higher than its 2006 price.

"The market has been quite good," said Hangzhou based Chinese dealer and collector Tao Xiaomin, who was bidding at the sales.

"In the first half of the year, (traditional) Chinese paintings have experienced a boom and records have fallen."

In recent sales in Beijing by leading Chinese auctioneers Poly International, several works exceeded or neared the 100 million yuan mark including Wu Bin's "18 Arhats" that sold for nearly $25 million, a world record for any Chinese artwork.

"The classical Chinese paintings market is dominated completely by Chinese buyers now," said Taiwan collector and dealer Michael Wang.

"The best works are now being sold in China, with the Chinese auction houses having overtaken Christie's and Sotheby's for traditional and classical works."

In Hong Kong, another highlight was "Vertige Neigeux" of a snowscape in the Swiss-Alps by Chinese 20th Century artist Chu Teh-Chun that made $5.8 million, an auction record for Chu.   Continued...