Hurun, China’s answer to Forbes, has released its 2015 list of top earning artists based on numbers from Artron. That’s important because we still don’t have solid numbers for the Chinese art market public and private. (Not that Artron’s numbers are necessarily worse than TEFAF’s which have a lot of guesswork included.)
Cui Ruzhuo, 71, tops Hurun Art List for the first time with sales at public auction last year of US$77m. A 2006 piece by Cui became the most expensive Chinese work of art sold at public auction last year, selling for US24 million. Zeng Fanzhi, last year’s Number One, dropped down one place to second place with sales of US$48m, followed by Fan Zeng with sales of US$44m.
Total sales of the Top 100 down 7% to US$1.1 billion. This is the third running running total sales are down, one third off the high water mark of 2012. Sales of 38 artists declined, 30 increased and there were 32 new faces.
74 Traditional Chinese ink painters, a record high, 5 more than last year and 17 more than as little as 3 years ago.
Overseas influence. Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said “The US has had the biggest outside influence, with an estimated 10% of the Hurun Art List having lived there.”
China has grown to become the largest art auction market in the world, making up 37.2% of the world’s art sales volume, followed by the US with 32.1% and UK with 18.9%, according to a report released by Artron in association with Artprice.
Average works sold 159. Chinese ink painters sold 7 times the number of oil painters.
32 new faces, of which 17 made the list for the first time. Jiang Guohua, 61, highest new entry with sales of US$9.9m, breaking straight into the Top 50.
Fastest riser. Huang Jiannan, 63, saw his sales rise 128% to US$26m, propelling him into the Top 10 from 33rd last year.
Youngest. 6 under the age of 50, 3 less than last year. Jia Aili is the youngest at 36 years, breaking into the Hurun Art List for the first time with sales of US$4.3m.
Female artists. Only 2 of the Top 100 are female, same as last year, led by Chen Peiqiu, 93, at Number 10 with sales of US24.6m and Xu Lele, 60, at Number 44 with salkes of US$7.7m.
Average age 65 years, down 1. Four above 90 years, led by Rao Zongyi aged 98.
Residences. Beijing is the absolute king, with 42 artists living there, followed by Guangdong and Jiangsu on 9.
Places of origin. Shandong artists shot up fastest this year, adding 4 new names to equal first with Jiangsu on 11 artists. Shanghai artists fell the most.
Schools. The China Central Academy of Fine Arts continues to lead with 21 artists graduating from there.
39 arstists made the Hurun Art List for 5 of the last 8 years. Rupert Hoogewerf said, “These 39 artists are the closest China has to blue-chip artists.”
Impact of list. Rupert Hoogewerf said, “China may have plenty of superrich, but often they don’t know where to start with collecting. This is where the Hurun Art List comes in.”