Asia art sales dispel some in face of Chinese economic

Asia art sales dispel some in face of Chinese economic

HONG KONG - Reuters
Asia art sales dispel some in face of Chinese economic

‘Pink Lotus’ by Chinese artist Yu Chang on display at Christie’s spring auction.

Christie’s, the global auction house, sold HK$2.7 billion ($351.7 million) worth of Asian and Chinese art, wine and jewelry in its Hong Kong spring sales, a steady showing despite a gathering pall of economic uncertainty in the euro zone and China. Sales of Chinese porcelain were mixed as Chinese buyers eased off with more selective bids, targeting works of rarity, quality and superior provenance.

Sales of modern Chinese paintings, however, along with classical brushstroke and Asian 20th century works, performed solidly, with sell out rates of over 90 percent.

In the auction room, bidding was patchy for Chinese objects d’art and ceramics. The top lot, a blue and white charger from the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), made $3.8 million, far less than a Song dynasty bowl sold by rival auction house Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in April for a whopping $26.7 million, a world auction record.

“There is a degree of price awareness and some of the speculative element that may have existed in the market two years ago is reduced ... I think it’s a very real market,” said Jonathan Stone, Christie’s international director of Asian art.

At a time when China’s economy is expected to ease to its slowest pace in 13 years, Christie’s said it was pleased with the results.

China’s wave of millionaire buyers and art investors have helped propel Hong Kong into the world’s third largest art auction hub after New York and London, though a clutch of Chinese auction houses in Beijing including Poly International, China Guardian and Council have broken Sotheby’s and Christie’s once dominant share of the China art market.