Christie’s put a toe in the Chinese waters on 3 November by assisting the newly created Forever International Auction Company to hold an inaugural sale of modern and contemporary Chinese paintings.
The sale was held at the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in the Chinese capital, and included 45 works of art by established modern artists, including Wu Guanzhong and Lin Fengmian.
Christie’s licensed use of its name, provided expertise and oversaw the auction process.
The sale, which was expected to raise $10 million, made a total of $12.1 million. The top price was achieved by Guanzhong’s White poplar woods, which sold for $832,722, and Fengmian’s Four beauties, sold for $582,906.
The auction house noted the strong presence of mainland Chinese buyers at the sale. The prices made at Forever were quickly topped by the longer established Guardian Auction House, which a few days later sold another ink painting by the 84-year-old Guanzhong, of 40 parrots on a tree, for a whopping $3.7 million, setting a record for any contemporary Chinese painting. According to figures published by China’s 10 leading auction houses, sales of art have risen from $100 million in 2000 to about $1 billion in 2005, and the number of wealthy collectors in China is growing as fortunes are being made in construction, technology, manufacturing, real estate and other industries.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Success in China'