China Art Market Report – July 2015

  • Analyst: Anders Petterson, Yu Chen
  • Pages: 8
  • Access: Analyst

Overall Chinese art sales up first half of 2015, but Chinese contemporary sales drop 44%.

Slowing economic growth in China’s and an escalating anti-corruption campaign introduced by the government last year, put the break on the art market growth in the second half of 2014. However, the first half of 2015, recovered the losses from the previous season and the spring sales for the top four auction houses (Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Poly and China Guardian) raised a total of $1.6 billion, up 12% from autumn 2014. The total came in 2.5% lower than Spring 2014 season and is still 39% lower than the market peak in Spring 2011.

Although the overall Chinese art market did well first half of 2015, sales of Chinese contemporary art fell by 44% in the last 6 months. The decrease in contemporary sales was particularly noticeable for Sotheby’s and Christie’s, which saw their sales totals drop 60% and 58% respectively. One of the main reason for the decline in sales, was the overall reduction of Chinese contemporary lots in the Asian contemporary sales, down from 357 in November 2014 to 295 lots this spring. Increasing focus on Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese art could signal a shift in focus and strategy towards a more pan-Asian offering, away from the more volatile and speculative Chinese contemporary art market.