The trend is obvious. The Chinese are buying Chinese art and craft art for millions of kroner. This year we have a turnover of 24 mio. kr. in the Chinese market representing a growth of 500% from 2009 to 2010. In the department of Oriental art industry alone, the we have seen a 300% growth over the past year.
“Although Oriental art industry accounts for only a small part of Bruun Rasmussen’s business activities, we expect the trend for a significant increase in turnover to continue into 2011. We continue to see the Chinese market surging ahead. Chinese buyers are particularly interested in older Chinese collector’s objects, porcelain and textiles, as well as wine, watches and furniture. They are extremely keen bidders in our international auctions, with hammer prices reaching greater and greater heights,” according to Kasper Nielsen, director of sales and estimates for the Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers antiques department.
The auction market continues to be dominated by strong growth in China, which results in some very impressive hammer prices for Chinese art, furniture and craft art. The robust purchasing power of Chinese buyers has been a distinct feature of 2010, with the Bruun Rasmussen Oriental art industry department’s turnover reaching DKK 12 million in 2010 – an increase of 300% compared to 2009.
Many Chinese buyers with purchasing power lived through the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, when many art objects were lost, and accordingly they want to buy back Chinese cultural treasures on the auction market. At the same time, many regard art objects as a better investment than putting money in the bank. Art treasures have the added benefit of being associated with great prestige and pride.
Just as anywhere else in the world, luxury purchases such as wine, watches and branded goods are regarded as stylish status symbols. However, the Chinese are very focused and mainly pursue very specific producers. Thus, the Bruun Rasmussen wine department also sees strong demand from China for classic French wines from Château Lafite Rothschild, which are regarded as particularly prestigious collector’s items right now.
The strength of the Chinese economy has been especially evident in the latter half of 2010, when we saw particularly impressive hammer prices in the international auctions at Bredgade.
813/243: Rare Chinese rhinoceros libation cup, archaic Gu form, richly cut out with branches and dragons, stylised leaves and borders in the form of cloud formations. China, Qing. H. 12 cm. Hammer price: DKK 580,000
813/448: Freestanding Chinese cabinet, hardwood and black lacquer, Cloisonné handle and hinge in colours. Early twentieth century. H. 194. W. 94. D. 41. Hammer price: DKK 680,000
812/287: A pair of Chinese porcelain presentation dishes. Hammer price: DKK 165,000
817/3150: 5 bts. Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac. 1. Cru Classé 1982 A. Owc. Hammer price: DKK 122,000