The Times of London discovers that Qi Baishi is Artprice’s artist with the third largest auction turnover for 2009. That puts his work right behind Picasso and Warhol:
Qi’s work, which is classical in feel but modern in execution, is particularly collectible because he explored so many genres in so many different artistic phases. Alongside painting landscapes, flowers and animals, Qi was also an expert calligrapher, who drew inspiration from the 18th- century master Zheng Banqiao.
True, Qi’s climb up the art charts should be put in perspective. The $70 million spent on Qi’s works in 2009 would not have made the top ten in 2007 or 2008. But his ascent is matched by China’s burgeoning share of the art market as a whole, which rose from 4 per cent in 2005 to more than 17 per cent today. Perhaps life reflects art rather than art reflecting life. If so, China is on the march and the West on the wane. For Qi Baishi — and for China — third place looks like being just the beginning.
Qi Who? (Times of London)