Art Market Weekly Digest

China’s lingering nonpayment issues

China is the world’s No.2 art market, but not the most on track with payments. In association with China Association of Auctioneers (CAA), Artnet published this month the Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2017. At first glance, the Chinese market is doing very well, with total sales of Chinese art and antiques at $7.19 billion (¥50.55 billion), a 7% increase from the previous year. However, the recurrent issue of buyer defaults on successful bids in Mainland China continues to tarnish the Chinese market’s reputation. Only 28% of the lots over ¥10 million, and only 2 out of the 18 lots sold above ¥100 million in 2017, had been paid  in full by May of this year. Likewise, only 49% of the total sales value for lots sold in 2017 had been paid as of May 2018, the lowest since 2011.


作为全球第二大艺术市场,中国亟待解决艺术品交易的欠款问题。本月Artnet与中国拍卖行业协会共同发布了《2017年中国文物艺术品全球拍卖统计年报》。中国文物艺术品在全球范围内拍卖总成交额为71.9亿美元(505.5亿元人民币),较上年增长7%,总体上表现可嘉。内地一再出现成功竞标后买方违约的问题,持续损害中国的市场声誉。截至2018年5月15日,2017所有在1000万元人民币以上成交的拍品中,仅有28%完成结算;而成交价过亿的18件拍品中仅有2件完成了结算。所有2017年成交的拍品中完成结算的部分仅为总成交额的 49%,降至2011年来最低。

Payment stuatus for lots sold above 10 million rmb.jpg

Source / 来源: Artnet

[ Art ] - ifficial Intelligence

Technology is progressively spreading in the art world from blockchains to paintings. This fall, Christie’s will debut the first auction for AI-made art by French collective, Obvious, at a New York sale on October 23-25. The work, Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, was created using algorithms induced by Generative Adversarial Network, which selected the features of the man in a dark coat from a dataset of 15,000 portraits done between the 14th and 20th centuries. The gold framed print is estimated at $7,000-10,000, and is currently on view in Christie’s London showroom.




Obvious, Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, 2018


China Tracks Stolen Cultural Relics Online

This week, the Chinese government officially launched - Stolen (Lost) Cultural Relics Information Publishing Platform - (, in both Mandarin and English. Henceforth, the public can report online any relevant clues about stolen or lost Chinese cultural relics. So far, around 2,230 items from 19 provinces have been reported. The government encourages its citizens to engage in the protection of China’s cultural heritage. Due to historical reasons, a significant amount of Chinese antiques were stolen and taken abroad. The launch of this website is a major step in China’s effort to research and restore its cultural heritage.




Shang Dynasty Bronze Li with Animal Patterns (1660 - 1046 B. C.) stolen from Anhui Province Museum in December 1988

商兽面纹鬲 (公元前1660 - 1046年)1988年12月从安徽省美术馆被盗

Berlin art scene faced with gender gap inequalities

Recently, a much less cool and progressive facet of the Berlin art scene emerged to the surface. A survey by the Institute for Strategy Development in cooperation with the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin, shed light on the impoverishment of Berlin artists, and the omnipresent gender pay gap. The average income for artists is €9,600 a year, with men earning on average €11,662, and women only €8,390. Another study showed that a third of women are victims of sexual harassment against 9% for men, and the lingering sexism in the industry is persistent with a higher 22% average of solo shows by men.




Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin


Pair to the ‘Bainbridge vase’ emerges at Sotheby’s

An identical pair to the famous ‘Bainbridge vase’ will go down the hammer this fall at Hong Kong Sotheby’s. The exquisite porcelain was conceived by ceramic artist, Tang Ying, at Jingdezhen for the Emperor Qianlong in the Qing dynasty. Now, the question is whether the nicknamed ‘Yamanaka vase’ after its first owner, will have the same fortune as its pair at the 2010 auction in Ruislip, UK. The 'Bainbridge’ vase had made headlines when the gavel fell at £43 million, the highest price ever recorded for a Chinese antiquity. However, the transaction was never completed, reportedly due to the bidder’s reluctance to pay the flat rate 20% fee of £8.6 million. The vase was later acquired in 2013 by an unidentified buyer from the Far East.




The Yamanaka Reticulated Vase. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s.


Uffizi artworks now online

It is now possible to view online one of the world’s most admired collections from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The world famous museum and Indiana University have worked together since 2016 to digitalize the collection in 3D. The project is set to be finished by 2020, but 300 digitalized sculptures and items from the collection are already on the museum’s website,




3D view of Uffizi, The Wrestlers, 1914


British Museum returns Iraqi artifacts looted during the war

Museums are regularly confronted with the issue of restitution of looted artworks. In 2003, the Scotland Yard police seized eight objects from an art dealer who failed to produce any proof of ownership, which were later transferred to the British Museum for identification. During the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, thousands of artworks were stolen from ancient sites and the National Museum in Baghdad. Earlier this month, the British Museum officially returned the objects to the Iraqi Embassy in London during a repatriation ceremony.




The British Museum.


Photo / 图片: © the Trustees of the British Museum

From Rodin to Monet with love

Les Bacchantes Enchantées (1896), a sculpture gifted by Auguste Rodin to Claude Monet, went down the hammer for €108,000 at the French Besch Cannes Auction on August 15, 2018. The new owner is none other than the Claude Monet Musée Marmottan in Paris, the world’s largest collection of the Impressionist painter. The sculpture is signed and dedicated “… to the grand master Claude Monet”, which highlights the close relationship in between the two artists. Aside from the unique piece of plaster, there were also nine drawings by the Impressionist painter, some of which exceeded €20 000, and one painting box that belonged to Monet, which sold for €8400.




Auguste Rodin, Les Bacchantes Enchantées, 1896