Kelly Crow profiles Yang Bin, Chinese car dealership owner and aggressive art collector, who seems entirely comfortable re-capitulating the same role played in Europe and the US of collector, dealer and art market maker:
Dealers and artists say it’s unclear whether Mr. Yang is trying to build a museum-worthy collection or angling for the right moment to cash out. “China’s market is still so new—it’s hard for us to tell who’s a collector and who’s a speculator,” says artist Zhang Xiaogang.
Mr. Yang isn’t troubled by such ambiguity. “I can’t say if investing in art is good or bad,” he says, “but I know that without money, you can’t make a market grow.” […]
Mr. Yang has also started offloading a few older pieces by Chinese realist artists like Chen Yanning as demand for their works has climbed. Last month, Mr. Yang arrived at a Beijing luxury hotel and made his way into the packed salesroom of Poly, China’s biggest auction house. He stood in the back, his usual spot. Halfway through the sale, he pointed to a large painting of a boatful of people hanging on the far wall. “That’s mine,” he said. He had paid roughly $60,000 for the 1984 work, “New Wave,” by Chen Yanning seven years earlier, and was ready to sell. Poly priced the work to sell for at least $629,000. When the bidding began, at least five collectors took the bait and the winner paid $1 million, a new price record for the artist.
Art’s New Pecking Order (Wall Street Journal)