Reuters declares Sotheby’s Hong Kong sales a qualified success:
Sotheby’s hammered off a total of HK$691 million ($88.6 million) worth of artwork in its spring Asian sales in Hong Kong, 11 percent higher than its pre-sale estimate in a steady showing for the fragile Chinese art market. Its biannual Asia sales in Hong Kong, often seen as a weather vane for the Chinese art market, was characterized this time round by a far smaller, more realistically priced selection. While demand was still weak for lesser objects, the appetite among buyers, especially wealthy Chinese, for top-flight items remained undiminished.
Our own numbers (excluding Wine and Jewelry) suggest a strong sale within the constraints of a collapsing global financial system:
Reuters thinks the Asian market has shifted away from Contemporary art and towards high value classical works of art:
For paintings, demand was firmer and more consistent in more traditional areas including 20th Century Chinese paintings and Fine Chinese paintings. They have proven far less volatile than the once white-hot Chinese contemporary art market that has cooled with the global downturn.
But a closer look at the numbers shows that Fine Chinese painting and Contemporary Asian art had almost exactly the same average price. The classical works had greater volume, that is true. But Contemporary art continues to correct and consolidate in a more orderly fashion than the press would have you believe.
Of course, the star of the week’s sales was not Contemporary art or even painting at all, it was the magnificent sale of ceramics:
Reuters has the final word:
“For that sale I think the prices were strong … and prices were totally on a par with what you’d expect from about a year ago,” said Nicolas Chow, the head of Chinese ceramics and works of art at Sotheby’s.