Reuters talks to Christie’s Asian head in advance of this weekend’s sales:
The upcoming spring sales in Hong Kong, often seen as a weather vane for the Chinese art market, are expected to fetch $97 million in total sales this year — roughly a third of the tally last spring when a record $310 million of artwork was sold. “What we’re looking for out of these sales … is that the market has found a new level of comfort with prices and activity,” Christie’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Foster told Reuters on the eve of the sales which kick off on Saturday.
“It’s not that we’re suddenly going to reach, in this season, the sales levels of spring 2008 at the peak of the market. But we believe that what we’re seeing is going to lead to a real feeling of confidence in the region that the market’s back on track.” Since the financial crisis deepened last October, broader demand for Asian art has shrivelled, and valuations have fallen, particularly for once red-hot Chinese contemporary art.