The Chinese are flexing their muscle in Sotheby’s Hong Kong sales, Bloomberg‘s Le-Min Lim reports. The Fine Chinese Painting sale saw a final tally that was nearly twice the estimate. The sale had a 93% sell-through rate:
All but 16 of the 253 classical Chinese paintings offered yesterday were sold for a combined HK$182.3 million, compared with Sotheby’s presale top target of HK$97 million. Estimates don’t include commission.
“The Chinese are out in force,” said Jerome Chen, 60, a Hong Kong-based collector who had offered HK$500,000 on Zhao Wangyun’s 1964 oil-and-color, “Forests in Shannan,” which made HK$650,000. “It’s hard to outbid them.”
Low-key and unassuming, the Chinese buyers at yesterday’s auction sat mostly clustered in the back rows, watching their rivals and whispering into mobile phones between bids. China’s accelerating growth and a 50 percent gain in the benchmark Shanghai stock index from the same time last year have generated wealth and stirred buyer confidence. […]
“It’s very clear the Chinese are holding up Asia’s art market,” said Eddie Leung, 51, an art collector and managing director of Paper Communication Exhibition Services, in an interview at the venue. “It’s great if you’re a seller, but awful if you’re bidding against them.”