After Sotheby's and Christie's, Bonhams is opening an office in Hong Kong this year. Christie's organised its first sale in Dubai in May 2006 and it was a major success, generating more than USD 8.5 million. In China, at the two art sales of 22 and 23 November last year, China Guardian posted the equivalent of EUR 31.5 million in Fine art revenue, a totally unprecedented sum for a Chinese auction house.
Not only have the major Anglo-American auction houses been quick to set up shop there in order to organise thematic sales and develop relations with a new clientele, but they have also taken full advantage of their international footprint to organise sales of Asian, Chinese and Russian art in London and New York. And the new Asian millionaires are not the only ones attracted to this market. Many Western collectors are also very interested in Asian Art and are swelling the ranks of the buyers. For example, Charles Saatchi acquired at Christie's in London a major work by Zhang Xiaogang for GBP 680,000. In 2006, a work by the artist Francis Newton Souza was acquired for USD 1.2 million by Rajiv Chaudhri at Christie's in New York. This was the first time a contemporary Indian work of art has ever gone past the million-dollar threshold; in total, the sale "Modern & Contemporary Indian Art" at Christie's in New York generated 17.8 million dollars. The first of its kind, six years earlier (2000), generated only USD 600,000. Already in 2005 Tyeb Mehta's, Mahisasura sold for 1.4 million dollars at Christie's, setting a new record for a modern Indian painter.
The figures speak for themselves: over 5 years, the prices of contemporary Chinese art works have progressed 440%! An exceptional performance with an immediate impact in the TOP 100 artists ranking compiled by Artprice. Over the same period, the number of Chinese to have entered the TOP 100 contemporary artists, ranked by sales revenue, has grown from 1 to 25. In 2001, only CAI GUO-QIANG held 59th position with an annual sales revenue of USD 207,000. In 2006, ZHANG XIAOGANG made it to the second position, ahead of Jeff Koons, with a total sales revenue of 23.7 million dollars! For the time being, the only two Indian artists in our TOP 100 by sales ranking are Anish KAPOOR and Subodh GUPTA. American artists usually dominate the ranking, but in 2006 there were only 23. Indeed, now that China and India are contributing so strongly to the global art market, the entry ticket to the TOP 100 has gone up from USD 94,000 dollars to USD 720,000 !
Extra ball (even a new one) Download the TOP 100 artists for contemporary art