Sotheby’s First Full Beijing Auction a Huge Success

Published on Author rhynem14

With all our discussion of the importance of Chinese culture, the arts should certainly play a role.

The late Chinese-French painter Zao Wuo-ki’s piece titled “Abstraction” went up for auction last Sunday through Sotheby’s. The work is from the artist’s “Oracle Bone” period. The final sale price, including the art house’s commission, was about $14.6 million, or 89 million renminbi. The proud new owner is Zhang Xiaojun from the Shanxi Province, an art collector. Wuo-ki passed away last April at the age of 92.


And here comes something else we’ve discussed this term: a joint-venture.

This work was a part of Sotheby’s first full action in Beijing since the formation of a joint venture with Chinese company Beijing, Gehua Cultural Development Group. Bidders from many different countries were participating in the auction, both in person and over the phone. Total sales for the auction at the China World Hotel were $37 million, making it a very successful first endeavor.

One reason there had been issues with successful art auctioning in China in the past was high import duties. In this instance, the international works were tagged with microchips so they could be tracked and released upon purchase. This way, the Chinese government didn’t have to pay for the import of the pieces before even being able to auction them.


Record Sotheby Prices

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2 Responses to Sotheby’s First Full Beijing Auction a Huge Success

  1. In the 1970’s and 80’s Asian demand for Zao’s work began to pick up. When in the early 2000’s newly rich Chinese collectors began to want to acquire Zao’s work in earnest and learned that most had already been purchased, prices soared. In 2011, an abstract painting from 1968 sold for $8.8 million.

  2. I wonder how Sotheby’s will impact consumerism trends in China. Sophia’s presentation on the luxury goods market indicated that Chinese certainly enjoy buying nice things, I wonder if art and other items auctioned off will be in the same vain as expensive bags. Clearly this is more of an investment than a bag, but I wonder how this will also effect the fake market.