Asia Week Re-Cap

The WSJ offers an explanation for the strong Asia weeks sales in the face of a worldwide recession. Here’s Alexandra Peers’s take. Let’s begin with her convesation with Christie’s expert:

Tina Zonars, director of the firm’s Chinese artworks division, said that the market was “surprisingly strong,” with 70% of the buying done by Asian bidders, versus 50% a year ago. “We haven’t seen a noticeable impact of the recession.”

Peers explains that shift by consulting Chinese art market sage, Larry Warsh:

The star sector of so-called Asia Week, however, was classic Chinese art. “You have two things going on,” says Larry Warsh, head of New York’s AW Asia and a collector and trader in Chinese, Indian and U.S. contemporary art. “The Chinese, as a people, stopped collecting during the Cultural Revolution and have begun again; meanwhile, wealth and luxury spending there has grown to a degree we’ve never seen before.”

But the strong numbers for works of great quality or provenance masks a shift in the Asian art market that parallels the broader art market as a whole:

“The market certainly has changed,” said Erik Thomson, a New York dealer in Japanese art. “There are fewer people coming and there are fewer sales—but the sales we’re seeing are at the very top end. There is no middle market.”

What’s Still Recession Proof (Wall Strett Journal)