Sotheby’s just held a huge sale of Chinese painting in the classical style with a 95% sell-through on HK$738,333,500 (US$94,831,555.) The high estimate for the sale was US$41m which means the sale doubled the high estimate. Nonetheless, Reuters’s editors want to play up their view that Chinese demand for art is faltering.
“What we can see is that in spite of the volatility in the stock market, there’s still very strong demand for quality works,” Patti Wong, Sotheby’s Asia Chairman told Reuters.
Whilst the Asian contemporary sales in Hong Kong saw around a fifth of works go unsold , the fine Chinese paintings sale only saw around 5 percent of lots failing to find buyers, in an auction hall dominated by mainland Chinese buyers.
During the 2008/09 financial crisis the once red-hot Chinese contemporary market corrected sharply, but more traditional collecting categories like Chinese imperial ceramics and classic paintings maintained their value far better, with top lots continuing to fetch record prices.
“Classical Chinese paintings aren’t affected by the economic situation,” said Tan Guobing, a Chinese dealer from Changsha in south-centralChina who bought a Huang Binhong ink landscape for HK$4.34 million amid stiff bidding. “The number of rich people in China keeps growing.”