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HomeNewsThe Autumn Auction In October At Mainland China Has Ended, Price Index Keep Rising Against Trend

The Autumn Auction In October At Mainland China Has Ended, Price Index Keep Rising Against Trend

Under the pandemic in 2020, offline auctions around the world have been repeatedly postponed. After more than half a year of hardship, the art markets in Hong Kong, New York, and London have opened one after another. With the closing of the August and October auction season in Mainland China which has achieved scale of spring auctions. The turbulence of world economic environment has caused the art market to be reshaped in continuous adjustments. Now, please follow ArtPro to explore the auctions in Mainland China and its market dynamics.

Auction sites of Guardian, Yongle, Holly's International and Poly International

In the past ten years, the total annual turnover of Chinese painting & calligraphy and modern & contemporary art auction market has stabilized in the range of US$2-40 billion, except when reaching a peak point in 2011. After the auction season in October 2020, the total turnover of Chines paintings & calligraphy and Modern & Contemporary art in Mainland China has reached USD $770 million. The pandemic has had an obvious impact on the sales of art market.

Price index of Chines paintings & calligraphy and modern & contemporary art between 2010 and 2020 with the price index of the three major markets.

However, from 2012 to 2020, the price index of Chinese paintings & calligraphy and modern & contemporary art showed a linear increase. Except for the first half of 2015, its market price index continued to outperform the Shanghai Stock Exchange Index and the Hang Seng Index. Under the pandemic situation, in 2020, the price index of Chinese paintings & calligraphy and modern & contemporary art will continue to rise against the trend and maintaining a steady growth.

Note: ArtPro 100: Select the top 100 artists by global turnover and calculate their index;ArtPro of Mainland China: Select the top 100 artists by which turnover at Mainland China and calculate their index.

"Rising of New Force", the new patterns of auction houses in modern and contemporary art field

Focusing on the modern and contemporary art field that is popular in global-wide, there are 13 related auctions in Mainland China sold for a total more than USD $190 million, accounted for 25% of the total turnover of the art market on Chinese painting & calligraphy and modern & contemporary fields in 2020. The overall sold-by-lot rate of modern and contemporary art auctions is 85%, and 36% of the works that exceeded the estimate price, with 3 lots sold over 10 million dollars and 42 pieces over one million dollars.

Transaction status of various auction houses in the modern and contemporary art field

It is worth noting that the newly reorganized Yongle auction in 2020 is a blockbuster, contributed nearly 1/3 of the turnover and one global record of Chinese contemporary art for the modern & contemporary art section in Mainland China, now it is setting firmly at the top spot. The first shot of Holly's International in Beijing also performed well, with two "white glove sales" in the modern and contemporary art field. Thanks to the strong entry of new auction houses, the modern and contemporary section of Mainland China has now formed a pattern with the four main forces of Yongle, Poly, Holly's International and Guardian.

The way of localization of modern and contemporary art in Mainland China under the "Internal Recycling"

Transaction status of artists in different fields

Under the double resistance of international exchanges and the circulation of art, the modern and contemporary art market in Mainland China will continue to face the important task of digging into the value of local art for a long time. The Western art, which currently contributes 38.3% turnover at Hong Kong market, only accounts for 5.13% in the Chinese mainland. Japanese and South Korean art, which used to perform well on Chinese market, have only a share of less than 10%. Chinese artists accounted for 72.48% of the sales, and the four French-Chinese artists: Zao Wou-Ki, Wu Guanzhong, Chun Teh-Chun and San Yu contributed 18.8% of the sales. Now, please follow ArtPro to look at the top 10 artists in this season.

Top10 Artists Ranked By Totoal Turnover

After the two auction seasons in August and October, Zeng Fanzhi led with a total turnover of USD $26.53 million, followed by Zhou Chunya, Wu Guanzhong is at third place. These top three are a head of the others with a large proportion.

1964 -
1955 -
1919 - 2010

Veterans like Zao Wou-Ki, Lin Fengmian, and San Yu has presented their masterpieces in October, which made them to rank in Top 5, Top 6, and Top 8 respectively. Zao Wou-Ki has 7 works on auction, 6 of them were sold for a total of USD $6.77 million. Lin Fengmian had three works (Farewell My Concubine, Spring Mountain, Peking Opera Series and Landscape ) sold over one million dollars. San Yu's works were released on the market in October, and all of them have been sold.

1921 - 2013
1900 - 1991
1901 - 1966

In the Top 10 list, young artist Jia Aili had a strong performance. His oil painting Blue Mountain set his personal auction record in August, and his early large sized work February Story-forever (Sea) set as second place in October with a high price. He has won the Top4 throne with total turnover of USD $6.82 million. Wang Yancheng, Wang Xingwei and Chen Danqing all have high-priced works sold in auctions, and they have been listed in the Top 10 Modern and Contemporary Artists in Mainland China.

1979 -
1960 -
1969 -
1953 -

Key lots are emerging, Zeng Fanzhi's Mask Series received the crown of modern and contemporary art

Top20 Artworks

In the auction season at Mainland China 2020, high-priced works appeared one after another. Zeng Fanzhi's Mask Series 1996 No.6 broke his auction record in August, that received the crown of modern and contemporary art in Mainland China. Another work Mask Series No.6 from the mask series was sold for CNY ¥21.85 million(USD 3,228,643) in October. Zhou Chunya's Spring Is Coming and Wu Guanzhong's masterpiece The Former House Of Qiu Jin set as the Top 2 and Top 3 positions respectively in August. The work Spring Is Coming has broken the record of Zhou Chunya in 2018.

Among the high-priced modern and contemporary artworks list, 6 pieces were on the Top 10 in the October autumn auction. Wang Xingwei’s oil painting Standard Expression After 1985 and Mao Yan’s largest sized work from his early stage Su Tong/chang Jin/lu Yang/li Xiaoshan has received CNY ¥31.625 million (USD 4,673,036) and CNY ¥31.05 million (USD 4,588,072) respectively that achieved their new personal record and became the Top 1 and Top 2 lots of the October auction season. 16.12.2001 of Zao Wou-Ki occupied the third place with CNY ¥29.9 million (USD 4,418,143).

Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s rare large-scale painting on wood Girl In The Moon was sold at the Modern And Contemporary Art Evening Sale of Poly International on October 16th with price of CNY ¥24.725 million (USD 3,653,464) including a commission that is over the low-estimate, and sets a new sales record of Yoshitomo Nara in Mainland China. On October 15th at Huayi International, Zhou Chunya's large-scale work Light And Thin Peach Blossoms Follow The Water was sold for CNY ¥19.32 million (USD 2,854,800), setting the highest price for Zhou Chunya's "Peach Blossom" series; and San Yu's Nude Girl With Bent Legs received CNY ¥10.81 million (USD 1,597,328) after fierce competition of multiple buyers, created new auction record of San Yu's ink and watercolor works on paper.

Several modern and contemporary artists are gaining momentum and achieving new personal auction records

Record-breaking artist (in USD, the price higher than 100,000)

During the August auction season, many modern and contemporary artists created new personal auction records with high prices. Among them were Zeng Fanzhi and Zhou Chunya, two super star artists who have influenced Chinese contemporary art, and Jia Aili, an artist represented by Gagosian Gallery in 2017. Wang Xingwei, Mao Yan, and Wang Yancheng broke their personal records in October, their works recieved over one million dollar. In addition, artists such as Xu Xingzhi, Zhao Zhao, and Qin Qi have set new personal records.

List of modern and contemporary high-yield lots

The annualized rate of return of part of the works (the turnover in 2020 is higher than $100,000)

Zao Wou-Ki's watercolor painting Untitled was sold in Shanghai for CNY ¥575,000 (USD 83,496) in 2018 and was sold again for CNY ¥1.15 million (USD 169,928) in August 2020, with 49% annualized rate of return. Zhou Chunya's Light And Thin Peach Blossoms Follow The Water has 25% annualized rate of return for less than 3 years. Zeng Fanzhi's Mask Series 1996 No.6 from the mask series was auctioned in Hong Kong in 2008 and 2017, and in 2020 it appeared in Beijing, the annualized rate of return for three years is 17%. In addition, Liu Ye, Gu Dexin, Wu Zuoren and other artists with their works presented in auction, which annualized rate of return are impressive.

Although the world is under the turmoil of the pandemic and the pressure of the economic situation, the total volume of the art market in Mainland China has been affected to some extent, but the general price index is going upward against the trend. The emergence of record-breaking works and the high priced sales are surprising which they have also released some positive signals to the future art market. To see more market observation, ArtPro will continue to report, so please stay tuned.