Look For Patriotic New Collectors To Loom Large At NY Asian Art Week

Christie’s Leads Asian Art Week With 1,200 Lots Spanning From India To Japan

This Shang Dynasty wine vessel is expected to sell for between $400,000 - $700,000 at Asian Art Week (Photo: Christie's)

This Shang Dynasty wine vessel is expected to sell for between $400,000 - $700,000 at Asian Art Week (Photo: Christie's)

Asian Art Week is soon to hit New York City, and with the increased activity seen in the auction world over the past 18 months among new collectors from emerging countries like China, India, Indonesia and elsewhere, these collectors — who are often motivated as much by patriotism as the smell of money — should loom large at some of the upcoming sales.

As Jing Daily has noted on numerous occasions, new Chinese collectors have burst onto the auction scene in recent years, mainly in mainland China and Hong Kong but also in London, New York and Paris on occasion, looking to snap up contemporary and traditional art, jade and jewelry, watches, wine and antiques — virtually all of it, with the exception of the wine and watches, originally from China.

Following the onset of the global financial crisis, when many western collectors held back at auctions of Chinese art and antiques, these new Chinese collectors were able to get their hands on top-quality pieces at once unimaginable prices. Even now that many western and Japanese collectors are back on the auction scene, paddles in hand, Chinese collectors have proven that they’re willing to spend outlandish amounts for lots from particular artists or particular historical eras. According to the AFP, at Asian Art Week — which kicks off in New York next week — we can expect to see Asian collectors who are “rediscovering their roots” play a major role.

From the AFP:

Christie’s leads Asian Art Week, which takes place in March and September, with 1,200 lots from India to Japan auctioning at an estimated collective price tag of between 46 and 65 million dollars.

Rival auction house Sotheby’s follows suit with pre-sale estimates of six to 8.8 million dollars for 112 lots, while more than a dozen city galleries are hosting exhibitions and sales of their own.

Indians — similar to the rich Chinese actively buying their nation’s treasures back from Western collectors — are expected to be a big force.

“We see increased interest in India now for the antiquities, which of course has happened in Chinese art,” Weihe said.

“Once any economy gets strong, literally you buy into your heritage,” Weihe told AFP. “China is doing that in a very strong way. We were very surprised, ‘why hasn’t India done that more?’ Well now we’re seeing very strong signs.”

The article goes on to mention the Trans-Realism exhibition currently being hosted by Christie’s, and which Jing Daily profiled earlier this week.

Parallel to the sales, Christie’s is hosting an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art co-organized by a branch of the Chinese culture ministry.

The “Trans-Realism” collection of 29 works by 17 artists offers a modern view of Chinese art far from the typical delicate, pre-communist ceramics or even socialist realism — although with nods to both, plus a twist of European influence.

“The range of (Chinese) art works represented in the international market is still very limited. We’d like to bring more Chinese art to the international audience,” said Pan Qing, a curator from the National Museum of China.


Art & Design, Market Analysis