Chinese art sales surge among U.S. collectors

2024-04-29 10:35:32China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The popularity of Chinese art is surging among the United States' and Asian collectors who value modern and ancient paintings, drawings, artifacts and objects, Christie's New York auction house says.

Vicki Paloympis, head of Christie's Chinese Works of Art Department in Manhattan, travels globally in search of Chinese art for sale. She has been instrumental in obtaining and selling several landmark collections, including hundreds of ceramics from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"American buying had quieted for at least a decade, but it has increased in recent years," Paloympis said. "This past season almost a third of our buyers and bidders were in the Americas and Europe."

She attributed some of the rising interest to the digitization of Christie's marketing and catalogs, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic as an effort to reach buyers who could not travel, and which drew strong interest among collectors in both the East and the West.

While the number of collectors in the U.S. buying the art is growing, most buyers are in China.

A niche group from the country travels to New York each year to take part in auctions and specifically to collect pieces that are guaranteed to be authentic and cannot be found anywhere else, Christie's said.

The British auction house, founded in 1766 by James Christie, has a presence in 46 countries, including in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific.

International hubs

Its international sales hubs are located in New York, Geneva, Hong Kong, London and Paris, and conduct live and online-only auctions, as well as private sales.

Some of its most popular Chinese art and objects are huanghuali furniture, Song Dynasty (960-1279) ceramics and porcelain from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

Since the early 20th century, Chinese art has been popular with Western buyers, Christie's said, because of its immense quality.

Over the centuries most of the art produced coincided with the ruling dynasties of Chinese emperors.

Christie's suggests that early buyers and collectors in the West valued the artistic work when it was more difficult to travel often and saw the art as a window into an intriguingly interesting foreign world.

Going into this century, many early U.S. collectors donated large quantities of Chinese art to museums such as the Met.

"Americans were among the biggest buyers of Chinese art in the 1990s and early 2000s, until an increase in overseas buyers around 2010," Paloympis said.


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