There was a time, starting in late 2010, when Chinese buyers were scouring Western auctions for Chinese works of art like classic porcelains, bronzes, and other scrolls and paintings. Eager to find objects validated by long-stand collectors or dealers, these buyers were bidding up works in regional auctions in the US and UK as well as in Sotheby’s and Christie’s sales in London and New York.
That acquisitive fever cooled some in the years that followed. The locus of the market for Chinese works of art also shifted to Hong Kong, the capital of the Asian ‘domestic’ market, in the subsequent years.
This week in New York is Asia Week and suddenly there’s signs of spirited bidding, at least at Sotheby’s there is. Over the course of three sales of Chinese works of art, there have been numerous lots that have sold at huge multiples of the estimates.
Two of the sales were single-owner collections. One came from a dealer whose collection had a harder time outrunning strong estimates. But all three sales were littered with runaway lots which suggests there is strong demand from China again.