Where Art (Market) Thou?


China, Chinese, Antique, Auction, Jade, Hong Kong, Beijing, Art, Contemporary, Furniture

Approaching the end of the year, where auction events pile up one after another globally,  antique collectors and investors will be interested in what’s going on in Hong Kong at least. Note that the following information focuses mainly on the Chinese Art market.

ARTINFO summarized 5 trends to note from the Fall season:

  1. Market is still slowing, but not as fast;
  2. Asian Contemporary Art Market is soft, but Southeast Asian Art is booming;
  3. Weakened Chinese Interest allowed Asian & Western Collectors to, well, buy something;
  4. Chinese Traditional Modern Painting are still highly sought after; and,
  5. Interest in Wine and Watches remains strong.

Unfortunately, nothing specific was mentioned about Chinese Jade. On my part, I have been monitoring auction results by major auction houses and it seems that buyers are becoming very selective. Approximately 50-70% of the jade lots were sold at each event. Sometimes, even the star of the event remains unsold at the end of the day despite a reasonable estimate.

So what should you buy or collect today as a Chinese Jade enthusiast?

Even before jumping the gun, I think it is vital to keep this in mind – “Most people in China are investors as opposed to collectors. It’s an investment above all else. They want to make on it fast. But the real winners are collectors. They buy and keep pieces for five to 10 years. By the time they put them up for auction the resale is five to 10 times higher,” said Huang, who racked up a decade’s worth of experience in Taiwanese auction houses before being hand-picked to run a Chinese firm’s Taipei office. [Global Post]

If you think that I am beating around the bush and not providing any concrete information in terms of building a collection, you probably should not even start. When I went to school, the teacher certainly did not give me the answers to the final exams, but I did well anyway. It all boils down to hard work and learning from the correct sources. I am willing to share if you are willing to ask. =)

Worried about the fakes out there? At the 2012 Beijing Culture and Creative Industry Development Forum in September, Guan Yu, the deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, announced that the government is considering establishing an art database and improving credit management in the art market. As reported by Legal Daily, the publication of Committee of China’s Political and Legislative Affairs, Beijing will crack down on what it calls the “three fakes” in the current art market: fake works, fake sales, and fake auctions, which have damaged investor value as well as Chinese art’s reputation on the international market.” [The Art Newspaper]

I love the deputy director’s name – Guan Yu. However, talk is cheap. If he does push for this initiative with concrete actions, like how Guan Yu fought fiercely during the late Eastern Han Dynasty, there may be a glimmer of hope.

Besides Chinese Jade and the already established mass repatriation of China’s cultural relics abroad, observers noticed growing interest in Antique English furniture, in particular 19th century European works. Sometimes, I wonder if such observations are indeed due to Asian interest or simply auction houses attempting to create that phenomenon.

Sources:

http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/833163/5-art-market-trends-revealed-by-the-recent-hong-kong-auctions

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120827/art-auction-economy-money-laundering

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/ART-%26-PHOTOGRAPHY/Discover-the-art-world%27s-next-boom-sector/12275.page

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/China+looks+to+clamp+down+on+forgeries+/27432

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