This look at Zao Wou-ki market over the past 12 years—based upon data from our friends at Pi-eX—is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions begin with the first month free. Feel free to subscribe and cancel before you are billed. **The original version of this post contained some charts with erroneous data. We have since had the data cleaned and corrected. The substance of the analysis has not changed.
In late May we published a brief post about the Zao Wou-ki market prompted by some claims on Instagram that the Chinese artist's market had been jump-started by a joint show of his work alongside the work of Willem de Kooning organized by Lévy Gorvy in January 2017 before it traveled to Hong Kong. This prompted a bit of angry email from some readers. They stated, rightly, that the Zao Wou-ki market was not the product of a show comparing the artist to one of the West's great abstract artists.
We promised, at the time, to offer a more detailed analysis of the Zao Wou-ki market that would continue to make clear that Asian buyers were not taking their cues from New York gallerists. Before we get to some charts, let's examine the boldest claim on Instagram. Brett Gorvy used the post hoc prompter hoc fallacy to suggest that his January 2017 show had provoked the successive sales of four works just below or above $20m. In his post, Gorvy described it in this way:
- This show was followed with a succession of record prices at auction, with Zao Wou-Ki consistently breaking the US$20 million mark over the past year especially
The word consistently is misused here. Used properly, consistently would mean that all of the Zao Wou-ki works sold in the year after the show would have achieved prices above $20m. What Gorvy means is that Zao's work has continually or regularly been able to break the $20m barrier.
Was that caused by Lévy Gorvy's masterly presentation of Zao as a peer of Willem de Kooning? There's no evidence to support such a claim.
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