Poly International had a very strong sale of Chinese classical art, including the top price paid for a classical work of nearly $25m above an estimate of $3m. The entire auction cycle just competed in Beijing brought in about $232m in sales. The lead lot and another calligraphy work were consigned by Guy and Myriam Ullens, important European collectors of Chinese art. But the auction house couldn’t resist a little jingoism in the general manager of Poly International Li Da’s comments to Reuters:
“Only the Chinese can truly appreciate the spirit, the philosophy and historical importance of such classical Chinese paintings,” said Li.
“I feel classic Chinese art is still undervalued compared with the prices paid for Western Impressionist and contemporary paintings by artists like Picasso or Renoir,” she added. […] “The (classical) Chinese art market has now reached the 100 million yuan level, and given China’s economic strength I find this to be a natural development.”
The top works found very enthusiastic bidders:
The painting, “Eighteen Arhats” by 16th century Ming dynasty painter Wu Bin, was sold to Shanghai private collector Liu Yiqian for 169.1 million yuan including commissions, almost eight times its pre-sale estimate of 20 million yuan, said auctioneers Poly International. […] The scroll was one of three blockbuster works that exceeded or hovered near the 100 million yuan mark during the autumn sales season in Beijing by Poly International, in a strong year-end showing for the Chinese art market.