Christie’s Chinese client-relationship superstar, Xin Li, is the center of yet another profile as anticipation builds for a serious week of Contemporary art sales. But buried within Kelly Crow’s profile is an observation that deserves a bit more attention.
Although the very top of the art market is often lampooned as a product of overly competitive masculine egos, two of the highest prices ever paid for works of art in the last five years are rumored to have been paid by women. Lily Safra bought Giacometti’s Walking Man 1 and Elaine Wynn is said to have paid more than $140m for Francis Bacon’s triptych featuring Lucian Freud.
Here Crow says the majority of Xin’s most valuable clients are women:
Currently, Ms. Xin focuses most of her attention on about five major Asian collectors who can each spend $100 million in a season on art. Most are women working as entrepreneurs or self-made billionaires in the fields of technology and banking. One of them said Ms. Xin often encourages her to rifle through auction catalogs and earmark any pieces that intrigued her. Ms. Xin follows up with candid opinions.