Yuan to Buy Some Art: Zhang and Qi Top Picasso in 2011

Bullet Shih Jan, 2012 0
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Zhang Daqian

Zhang Daqian

According to Bloomberg via international art sales monitor artprice, Picasso is no longer the the most sought after artist in terms of  total auction sales, thus ending an amazing run where annual sales of Picasso’s works topped all other artists for a string of 14 years since 1997, with the exception of 2007 when he was edged out by Warhol.  As an indicator of the transfer of art purse string power from west to east, two contemporary Chinese artists came up big in the final auction results.   Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) surged to a total of $506.7 million while Qi Baishi (1864-1957) finished in second with $445.1 million.  Picasso ranked fourth at $311.6 million and as was the case in 2007, Warhol edged him out with a respectable$324.8 million .  While it appears likely that Picasso may overtake Warhol in 2012, a sudden paradigm shift in the upper echelons of the art auction world has been sprung with the emerging Chinese market surprising everyone involved, as even Bloomberg did not have the Chinese artists on their radar when they released their calculations for the 10 priciest artworks of 2011 two weeks ago.  According to the recent article, “Qi’s Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet in Seal Script fetched 425.5 million yuan ($65.5 million) at China Guardian Auctions Co. in Beijing in May 2011.” which would have placed it at the number 1 postion of the priciest artworks of 2011 above Clyfford Still’s $61.7 million realized at Sotheby’s in its November sale.

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