Artists from west to east

[24 Dec 2010]

Every fortnight Artprice posts a new or updated ranking in its Alternate-Friday Top Series. The theme of today’s TOP article is the 10 best auction results generated in China by Western artists during 2010.

While the crisis dampened the ardour of art auction markets in the US and UK, China’s auction market continued to grow unhindered, driven notably by the Hong Kong branches of Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
As the West marked a pause, China briefly became the world’s second largest art market. Hong Kong – capital of the Asian art market and fourth art marketplace after New York, London and Paris – posted prices comparable with New York prices.
Hong Kong’s success as a global art market hot point owes much to Christie’s and Sotheby’s presence on the island.

Top 10 : best auction results generated in China by Western artists during 2010

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 Walter SPIES $1867600 Balinesische legende (1929) 11/29/2010 (Christie’s HONG KONG)
2 Andy WARHOL $706199 Mao (1972) 05/29/2010 (Christie’s HONG KONG)
3 Romualdo Frederico LOCATELLI $641999 Young Balinese girl with hibiscus (1939) 05/30/2010 (Christie’s HONG KONG)
4 Adrien Jean LE MAYEUR DE MERPRES $541380 “Atelier de tissage (Weaving Atelier)” 10/04/2010 (Sotheby’s HONG KONG)
5 Adrien Jean LE MAYEUR DE MERPRES $322249 Ni Pollock Dancing 11/27/2010 (Larasati Hong Kong HONG KONG)
6 Adrien Jean LE MAYEUR DE MERPRES $219129 Resting under the Umbrella 10/04/2010 (Sotheby’s HONG KONG)
7 Willem Gerard HOFKER $116009 Ni Kenjoen, Bali (1945) 11/27/2010 (Larasati HONG KONG)
8 Auguste RODIN $113498 The eternal spring 06/27/2010 (Shanghai Hosane Auction Co…)
9 Käthe KOLLWITZ $96822 Portrait 06/02/2010 (Beijing Yonghe Jiacheng Auction Co…)
10 Auguste RODIN $83281 The age of bronze 06/27/2010 (Shanghai Hosane Auction Co…)

While the price indices of China’s Contemporary artists have rocketed on the back of national and international demand (in 2007, China had 36 artists in Artprice’s ranking of the world’s top 100 Contemporary artists by auction revenue), a number of Western artists have enjoyed considerable demand in China.

The best auction result in China for a work by a Western artist was generated in November 2010 by Walter SPIESBalinesische legende (1929) which fetched $1,867,600. The same work sold for $792,120 in 2001 at Sotheby’s in Singapore.

The second-best Western result of this year was Andy WARHOL’s Mao (1972) screenprint (1972) composed of 10 portraits of Mao in different colours (each 90 x 90cm). Warhol is the only Post-War artist in this ranking. Another work from the same print but from a different series fetched $1,467,360 (£720,000) in London in 2007.

The Italian Orientalist painter, Romualdo Frederico LOCATELLI, is in third place for his Young Balinese girl with hibiscus (1939) which fetched $641,999 on 30 May 2010.

The next three places in this top ten belong to Adrien Jean LE MAYEUR DE MERPRES who is one of the most appreciated Western artists in Asia with Hong Kong and Singapore accounting for 89% of his annual auction revenue. Not far from the 7-figure dollar results generated between 2004 and 2007, his works Atelier de tissage (Weaving Atelier), Ni Pollock Dancing, Resting under the Umbrella each sold for above $200,000 (cf. table) in 2007.

In 7th place, Willem Gerard HOFKER‘s Ni Kenjoen, Bali (1945) fetched $116,009 in Hong Kong in November 2010.

A drawing entitled Portrait by Käthe KOLLWITZ, who is generally less appreciated in Asia, saw sold for $96,822 on 2 June 2010 in Peking, taking 9th place behind Rodin’s The Eternal Spring.

The great 19th century sculptor Auguste RODIN is highly sought-after in China and two of his works sold this year in Shanghai: The eternal spring ($113,498) and The age of bronze $83,281 (10th place).

The fast-developing Asian art market has still not yet reached full maturity. The centre of gravity of the global art market is continuing its eastward migration.
Indeed, the fact that four of the Western artists in this Top 10 have essentially Asian markets tends to confirm this trend (Walter Spies, Romualdo Locatelli, Adrien Jean le Mayeur de Merpres, Willem Gerard Hofker).