Posted on in Editorial by Sonja




According to the Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report by artnet and the China Association of Auctioneers, in Mainland China, total sales value at auction increased by 7% in 2016, reaching $4.8 billion USD. The increase was lead by the high-end market (lots worth over 10 million RMB) with a 29% market share, which is double the value from two years ago. On the other end of the spectrum, total sales value overseas declined by 27%, at 1.9 billion RMB.

North America was the only region that has seen growth in volume and value of Chinese art and antiques sold in 2016, increasing by 9%. North America currently holds the spot as the largest market, by volume, for Chinese art and antiques.


In light of the price bubble in the Chinese art market, supply of 20th Century and Contemporary Chinese art has decreased both in Mainland China and overseas. Transaction volumes have also increased; majority of the lots were sold in the high end market. Mainland China achieved the highest volume of lots sold above 10 million RMB since the neconomic downturn in 2008, totalling at 25 lots. The market for 20th Century and Contemporary art above 50 million RMB also increased threefold between 2015 and 2016, up from 2 to 6 lots. As such, the average price of these artworks has increased globally. In 2016, the average price overseas reached 1.2 million, only 7% lower than the 2011 market peak. Majority of the transactions were in the middle (500k-10M RMB) to lower-end (below 500k RMB) markets.


The most expensive lot sold at auction in 2016 was Collection of Fine Works by Zhao Zhiqian, Ren Yi, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian at China Guardian Auctions, which was sold for 356 million RMB ($51.6 million USD). The second most expensive lot sold at auction was Eight Screens of Landscapes by Huang Binhong, which was sold for 322 million RMB (46.6 million USD) at Henan Auction House.