Global market for Chinese art recovering

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artnet CEO Jacob Pabst photographed by Todd Eberle

The global market for Chinese Art and Antiques showed signs of recovery in 2013, with an increase of 24.5% over the previous year in terms of value. That is a key finding of the second edition of the  Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report, created by art market resource artnet in collaboration with the China Association of Auctioneers (CAA).

In recent years, the Chinese Art and Antiques auction market has been under a great deal of scrutiny, as concerns have been raised about the various problems concurrent with its rapid growth. Amidst this uncertainty, data analysis on the Chinese art market has also been called into question. In a continued effort to present the most accurate representation of the auction market in China, artnet has again partnered with CAA to produce a definitive study of the market, which only these two trusted organizations can provide.

The Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2013 is the only report of its kind to publish auction results from mainland China that have been vetted by a third party organization with insider knowledge of the state of the market in China. The 2013 edition of the report continues to examine the global market, emphasizing quality and accuracy, with the goal of creating a new standard of transparency, thus helping underpin the global auction market for Chinese Art and Antiques.

After experiencing exceptional growth between 2008 and 2011, the Chinese market cooled over 2012, and rapidly lost market share to the United States, becoming the world’s second-largest art market. Recovery began in 2013, as China retained its global position, with growing sales in all sectors, more caution from buyers, and more moderate prices at auction, signaling a new phase of maturity in the Chinese art market.

Highlights of the report’s key findings:

The global market for Chinese Art and Antiques showed signs of recovery in 2013, with an increase of 24.5% over the previous year in terms of value. Sales topped US$8.5 billion, up 28.8% from 2012, with sales of artworks in mainland China and overseas both rising considerably.

The 2013 overseas market amounted to US$2.3 billion (CN¥15.0 billion), surpassing its 2011 total of US$2.1 billion (CN¥14.6 billion), and increasing over 42% in value since its 2012 slump.

In 2013, the number of lots offered surpassed 780,000, and the number of lots sold totaled over 406,000.

The number of auction houses offering Chinese Art and Antiques has increased by 12.7% in 2013.

Mainland China represented 72.5% of the global market in terms of value; the rest of Asia contributed 20.1%, and Europe, North America, and the rest of the world combined accounted for less than 10%.

Globally, Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy represented the largest market share in terms of value, at US$4.7 billion. In mainland China, Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy was also the largest category in terms of value, at US$4.0 billion. Overseas the largest category in terms in value was Chinese Antiques and Artworks, at US$1.0 billion.

In 2013, the average price for artworks sold at auction worldwide was US$20,934, where the average price topped US$50,400 overseas. The average price in the rest of Asia surpassed US$94,000.

In 2013, 429 lots were sold for more than CN¥10 million at auction, which remained relatively stable from the previous year. Out of those, 232 lots were sold in mainland China, and 197 were sold overseas. Beijing alone sold 187 lots at this price point.

The Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2013 can be downloaded here.