Shock Wave Through the Art Market…China now Ranks First, Ahead of the USA and the UK

Friday, March 18, 2011

PARIS, March 19, 2011 - According to Thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice, world leader
in art market information, "this unprecedented news represents a turning
point in the history of the global art market: China is now the number 1 in
terms of Fine art auction revenue." It took just three years for China to
jump from third place (previously occupied by France) in 2007 to first place
in 2010, ahead of the UK and the USA, the grand masters of the market since
the 1950s.

To reverse the polarity of the global art market from West to East, China
has done without artifices such as hypothetical figures from art galleries (
an opaque market compared to public auctions) or even that of furniture or
traditional Chinese art objects (the prices of which are shooting up
worldwide). Since the 1950s, the reference ranking for the art market has
been that of Fine Art at Public Auctions.

In 2010, China accounted for 33% of global Fine Art sales (paintings,
installations, sculptures, drawings, photography, prints), versus 30% in the
USA, 19 %in the UK and 5% in France.*

Moreover, there were 4 Chinese artists in the Top-10 ranking of global
artists by auction revenue for 2010 (vs. 1 in 2009), the lowest of whom
generated $112 million dollars during the year. Qi Baishi was in 2nd place
ahead Andy Warhol and ahead of his compatriot Zhang Daqian; Xu Beihong took
6th place with a total of $176m and Fu Baoshi was 9th. The younger generation
of Chinese artists is now imposing itself even more forcefully that their
older counterparts: More than half of the 2010 global Top 10 of Contemporary
artists are Chinese (Zeng Fanzhi, Chen Yifei, Wang Yidong, Zhang Xiaogang,
Liu Xiaodong and Liu Ye) compared with just three Americans (Basquiat, Koons,
and Prince).*

The heart of the market now beats in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, the
new driving hubs of the global art market. In 2010 Sotheby's Hong Kong
revenue amounted for 2%. At the same time, Christie's 2010 Hong Kong total
was 2,5% and China's big 4 annual revenues were: Poly International (7,4%),
China Guardian (5,32%), Beijing Council (2,07%), Hanhai Art Auction in
Beijing (2,74%).*

Not only has China's economic strength (second global power in 2010)
boosted its art market and projected its culture around the world, but
China's art sector has benefited from the support of its government and of
Chinese collectors who are as patriotic as they are prompt to invest. China
has understood the Power of Art in the history of nations. In addition, the
number of auction records for Chinese artworks is bound to increase as the
number of Chinese billionaires rises by 20% per year through 2014 vs. 5.6%
p.a. for the rest of the planet.

* Extracts from Artprice art market report 2010, freely downloadable
starting 5th April 2011 at in English, French,
Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian

Source: (c)1987-2011 thierry Ehrmann

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