Emergence Of “New Chinese Collector” On Global Auction Scene Marked Beginning Of Trend To Watch In 2010
2009 will, in coming years, likely be seen as a turning point for Chinese collectors, as they emerged as a formidable and contentious group on the world auction scene. This year has been marked by a marked shift in focus towards the East, as auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s put extra emphasis on their Hong Kong auctions — not only of contemporary art and antiques but also wine, watches and jewelry. As we wrote yesterday, wine in particular was a popular investment for Chinese collectors, both in Hong Kong and the mainland, and Chinese buyers took advantage of the post-global-financial-crisis adjustment of asset prices to snap up contemporary, modern, traditional and antique pieces — regularly going well above and beyond high estimates for many.
As we saw in this autumn’s auctions in Hong Kong, where frenzied bidding (often in Mandarin) set the tone, New Chinese Collectors are shaping up to be some of the most important, and most motivated, buyers in the world, and 2009 was definitely their year to emerge from behind the curtain.
As we wrote earlier this year, one of the interesting trends in 2009 was the sort of coagulation of prominent Chinese collectors of Chinese contemporary and revolutionary-era art into “groups,” a development we noticed in a Chinese-language article about the first-ever symposium of Chinese collectors held at the Songzhuang Art Festival in October. In 2010, we can expect to see more meetings like this, where Chinese critics and collectors discuss art not only as an investment, but also as a form of “cultural creation” (as identified by influential Chinese critic Li Xianting):
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