Jing Daily offers a reasoned response to recent press comments suggesting the Chinese art market is collapsing as quickly as it arose. The argument that provoked all this heat and light isn’t very compelling but this point is quite interesting in its own right:
Quite simply, many of the most historical and best-quality works — especially in the contemporary Chinese art segment — have been sold, and those buyers are hanging onto them rather than looking to quickly “flip” them at auction.
This is true in the (still-buoyant) modern segment as well. Following three auction seasons packed with artists like Qi Baishi,Sanyu and Zhang Daqian, scarcity is rearing its head. Already, we can see Chinese auction houses having a more difficult time procuring the works that Chinese collectors want — hence, China Guardian and Poly have been busy over the past nine months holding sourcing events in Australia and the United States to purchase rare art & antiques they can sell back in China. This also partly explains why Chinese bidders have turned in such a strong way to Li Keran — a known artist before this year, of course, but not one whose work regularly sold for US$46 million: blue-chip modern artists are becoming harder to find, and harder to get.