Bloomberg is throwing a few sales totals at the wall of public opinion and hoping some sort of impression sticks. Frederik Balfour reports on this weekend’s sales at Christie’s. Focusing solely on the Saturday night sales, the financial news outlet sees a distinct downward trend. That didn’t stop the Sanyu painting “Vase of Chrysanthemums on a Yellow Table” (above) from making HK$46 million or three times the high estimate.:
The London-based auction house sold HK$507.9 million ($66 million) worth of art at its Asian 20th Century and Contemporary auction, compared with HK$636 million at a similar event a year ago, and HK$935 million in November 2013. Saturday’s sale is the marquee event of Christie’s six-day Hong Kong autumn auction marathon.
“It’s softer this season for sure,” said Hong Kong-based adviser Jehan Chu, who runs Vermillion Art Collections. “There is uncertainty, especially over the economic and political outlook in China, that has made people skittish.”
The slowdown could also reflect a shift in buying patterns by wealthy Chinese clients who are spending larger sums in New York and Europe as they embrace more western works.
Christie’s Hong Kong Art Auction Feels China’s Economic Chill (Bloomberg Business)