The Financial Times explains how Chinese auction house figures—and, by extension, China’s place in the global art market—are not to be relied upon. The massive growth has been accompanied by massive acts of defalcation. Set aside:
Clare McAndrew’s annual art market report for TEFAF in Maastricht, the CAA has sounded a strong note of caution. After a countrywide survey of 250 auction houses, it found that of purchases above Rmb10m in the sales of autumn 2010, a full 40 per cent had not been paid for by April of the following year. In other words, close to half of the reported hammer prices turned out not to be real sales at all. The disparity in reporting of such aborted sales may account for the dramatic discrepancies in overall figures.