There’s a difference of opinion about the future of Chinese Contemporary Art. Some have projected a steep decline in prices and turnover. But there’s also been solid evidence from sales in Asia that Chinese Contemporary art is now finally gaining traction in China. The result may be a smaller market but a stable one. Into this quandary comes the Hurun Report on Chinese Contemporary art. Hurun has compiled a list of the top Chinese Contemporary artists. It’s important to recognize that Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi made up 41% of the top 100 works, up from 30% the year before:
The Hurun Art List demonstrates that in 2008, collection of Chinese art remained stable and the interest of Chinese collectors in art assets grew. “Despite a correction in the market for Chinese contemporary art, the overall market remained robust and even grew slightly,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, publisher of The Hurun Report, the leading luxury business magazine in China,
Last year’s list demonstrated that Chinese collectors had begun to take an interest in contemporary art, which was until then mostly of interest to foreigners. This year’s list shows that overall the demand for contemporary art softened in a year when, with the dramatic exception of Damian Hirst’s solo auction at Sotheby’s in September 2008, international sales were down across the board. [ . . . ]
This year’s list saw a slight decline in interest for the works of older artists. 90-year old Wu Guanzhong fell from first to fourth place, while 88-year old Zhao Wuji, who is based in Paris, dropped to fifth place, while 89-year old Zhu Dequn fell ten places to eighteenth.
Artists who moved up the list were mostly those who have been accorded strong domestic and international critical praise such as Liu Xiaodong (up 11 places), Yan Peiming (up 14 places) and Yang Shaobin (up 16 places). [ . . . ]
11 new artists joined the list, among them 54-year old Xu Bing (29th place) who returned from the United States to accept a senior position at the Central Academy of Fine Art.
● According to Artron, US$3.3 billion worth of Chinese art was sold at public auction world wide in 2007, a 29.1 percent rise on the previous year.
● On the 2009 Art List, the top 50 artists sold a total of US$410 million (2008: US$498 million) at public auction.
● The average age of artists on list is 57.5 years (2008: 57.4 years).
● Beijing is the unquestioned capital of art for China, with 23 artists currently basing themselves there, down from 31 last year, followed by eight overseas (Europe and US) and four in each of Shanghai and Sichuan.
● The international auction houses dominated sales of the most expensive pieces of contemporary art. Christies HK led with 20 of the 100 most expensive pieces, followed by Sothebys HK on 17 pieces, Taiwan’s Ravenel and Beijing Poly both with 11 pieces and Christies London on 7 pieces.
2009 List of Top Chinese Contemporary Artists (Hurun Report)