This report on the Zao Wou-Ki market by Angelica Villa with data from Pi-eX is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
According to a new report, from London-based art market data analysis firm Pi-eX, that collates artists’ market data across Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips from 2007-2019, French-Chinese postwar painter Zao Wou-Ki's market is expanding. Zao Wou-ki’s total auction turnover (which exceeded $300 million in 2018, according to Artprice's annual market report) places him among the top selling artists in the entire art market. Zao Wou-ki’s growing international demand is also an indication of Asia’s swelling influence on the art market. The volume of lots sold across the market has increased by 183.1 percent from 189 lots in 2007 to 535 placed with buyers in 2019. But auction turnover that has grown by 529.3 percent since 2007 from an annual total of $37.8 million to $238 million grossed in 2019.
Top auction houses are the largest distributor of the artist's works and have driven his market peaks. The Chinese master who spent the bulk of his career living in France entered the highest echelon of market during the 2018 Sotheby’s Hong Kong modern art evening sale with the record setting sale of his monumental abstract triptych, Juin-Octobre (1985) for $65.2 million. The work was deaccessioned from New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum where it resided for several decades after being gifted by the original owner in 1964. Bloomberg reported the seller bought the triptych for $2.3 million in 2005, coming in at a staggering 2734.7% appreciation in value. 2018 also saw Et la terre était sans forme (1956-7) sell for $23 million in March, followed shortly thereafter by the sale of 14.12.59 (1959) for $22.5 million that May. Public auction results also show that six of Zao Wou-Ki’s top ten highest results came during this year. In 2013, the year of the artist's death, Zao had yearly sales of $139.5 million, seeing four auction highs between $7.9 million and $12.4 million.
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