China’s best auction results in 2010



Every fortnight Artprice posts a theme-based auction ranking. This week’s theme is China’s best Fine Art auction results during 2010.

With China’s Fine Art auction revenue amounting to 33% of global auction revenue from Fine Art, China is now the world leader for art auction revenue from public sales ahead of the United States (30%) and the UK (19%).
Nowadays the pulse of the market is measured in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where Sotheby’s (2% of revenue generated in Hong Kong), Christie’s (2.5% in Hong Kong), Poly International (7.4%), China Guardian (5.32%), Beijing Council (2.07%), Hanhai Art Auction in Beijing (2.74%).

Top 10 : China’s best Fine Art auction results

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 XU Beihong $23 026 500 landscape and figure (1938) 12/10/10 (Beijing Hanhai Art Auction Co.)
2 ZHU Da $22 500 000 Landscape 12/21/10 (Beijing Jiuge International Auctions Co.)
3 SHEN Zhou $20 400 000 Landscape and figure 12/21/10 (Beijing Jiuge International Auctions Co.)
4 WANG Meng $17 885 200 Landscape 06/03/10 (Poly International Auction Co.)
5 QIAN Weicheng $17 005 600 Yandang Mountain 06/03/10 (Poly International Auction Co.)
6 ZHU Da $15 931 800 Manedarin ducks and bamboo 12/13/10 (Xiling Yinshe Auction HANGZHOU)
7 LI Keran $14 486 400 The Long march (1959) 11/22/10 (China Guardian Auctions Co.)
8 LI Keran $13 226 400 The Long March (1978) 12/03/10 (Poly International Auction Co.)
9 ZHANG Daqian $13 203 000 Aachensee (1968) 05/17/10 (China Guardian Auctions Co.)
10 ZHOU Zhimian $12 174 300 Flowers 12/04/10 (Poly International Auction Co.)

The Old Masters

In tenth place of this ranking is ZHU Da who posted 9 million-plus results and a new record of $22.5m (Landscape – 21 December 2010 – Beijing Jiuge International Auctions). He also takes sixth place for his Manedarin ducks and Bamboo that fetched the equivalent of $15.9m (13 December 2010 – Xiling Yinshe Auction – Hangzhou). If 10% of his adjudications take place on US soil, where his works never fetch more than $400,000, this Chinese Old Master is extremely sought after in China where already 16 of his works have gone beyond the million-dollar threshold.
SHEN Zhou is in third position with a superb landscape measuring 3.36 metres high by 1 metre wide that sold for $20.4m at Beijing Jiuge Art Auction. Of his 41 auction results recorded during 2010, five fetched over $2m.
The oldest artist in the ranking, WANG Meng, is just behind Zhou SHEN with $17.8m for his Landscape that generated a new personal record for the artist at Poly International on 3 June 2010. Another star of the same Poly International sale was QIAN Weicheng who also set a new record with Yandang Mountain, $17m, a result that gave the artist fifth place in this Top 10 ranking.
The last Old Master in this Top 10 was ZHOU Zhimian who achieved tenth place after his enormous Flowers fetched the equivalent of $12.17m on 4 December 2010 at Poly International. This monumental work, measuring 17 metres in length, set an astonishing new record for the artist. In fact, it was nearly $12.1m higher than his previous record (Spring Swallows, Christie’s – Hong Kong – 26 May 2008).

The Modern masters
XU Beihong is in first place on this podium with a result of more than $23m on 10 December 2010 at Beijing Hanhai Art Auction for his Landscape and figure. This represents a new record for the artist that was no less than $13.5m better than his previous record. On the back of that score, Beihong Xu took sixth place in Artprice’s Top 10 ranking by annual auction revenue in 2010 (with a total of $176.2m). 98% of his market was fairly evenly spread between Hong Kong and Beijing (43% and 55% respectively).
In the 8th and 9th places of this ranking we find LI Keran with two results above $13m. The work The Long March (1959) presented at the sale The Long March: Important Works by Modern Masters organised by China’s number 2 auction house, China Guardian Auctions, fetched close to $14.5m on 22 November 2010 at triple its high estimate.
Twelve days later the artist posted a second superb result for a work with the same title – The Long March, 1978 which fetched $13.2m at the rival auctioneer Poly International.
The Modern artist ZHANG Daqian posted an extremely dense market during 2010 with close to 800 works sold including a new personal record equivalent to $13.2m for a delicate ink-on-silk work, Aachensee, measuring 76.2cm x 264.2cm at China Guardian on 17 May 2010.
The works of the most sought-after Chinese master after QI Baishi are mainly fought over in Hong Kong, Hangzhou and Beijing where Zhang generates 90% of his action revenue. In 2010, auction sales of his works generated $304.3m vs. only $40m in 2009, taking him from just outside the Top 10 artists by annual auction revenue (11th place) to just below the podium (4th place).