Domestic Auction House One Of World’s Largest
Though their bidding style is becoming more discerning as collections grow, clearly the enthusiasm with which a growing number of Chinese art buyers are entering the market remains strong. At the recent 30th China Guardian quarterly auctions in Beijing, thousands of bidders pushed particular lots up to 30 times their pre-sale estimates, helping the sale pull in a grand total of over US$33 million.
Packed with lots in segments highly sought after by Chinese collectors, such as Chinese Ink Painting, Calligraphy, Porcelain, Furniture and Chinese Oil Paintings, the auction included works by artists like Li Keran — whose work, despite being little-known outside of China, recently sold for a record-setting 293.25 million yuan (US$46 million) at the Beijing Poly spring auctions.
Works by Li Keran (1907-1989)…achieved high sales. Most of his pieces presented in this auction focused on traditional Chinese imagery, such as young shepherd and their herd. Boy and Cattle (lot 241), known for its skillful composition and simple lines, sold at 2.127 million yuan (334,789 US dollars); Boy and Cattle (lot 242) sold at 1.84 million yuan (289,616 US dollars); and Boy and Cattle (lot 62) sold at 1.55 million yuan (243,970 US dollars).
The outstanding Paintings by Masters session, which was first added to the auctions by China Guardian in 2011, has been recognized by bidders for offering important works from international overseas collections. This year, Camellia, a painting by Qi Baishi (1864-1957) topped the list and sold at 2.645 million yuan (416,323 US dollars).
The painting was presented to the Russian artist Victor Michailocich Oreshnikov when he was visiting China in 1953 and 1954. Landscape, a painting gifted by the artist Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) to Huang Zhongxiang, a military official in the Kuomintang, sold at 2.645 million yuan (416,323 US dollars).
Reflecting another trend we’ve seen growing among newer Chinese collectors, the auction’s furniture segment was hotly contested, with the classical furniture session totaling 2.8 million yuan (440,720 US dollars). Highlights of the section included a hongmu bed, hongmu kang table, and a pair of stands that sold for 368,000 yuan (57,923 US dollars), a set of hongmu furniture produced during the Republic of China period, which went for 253,000 yuan (39,822 US dollars).