In 2011, China became the world’s largest auction market for art and antiques for the first time, surpassing both the Unites States and European markets. A year later, the United States regained its position as the world’s largest art market, while the Chinese market rapidly lost market share. The events leading up to this paradigm shift, and the subsequent reversal, have been scrutinized significantly over the past two years. Was the unprecedented success in 2011 due to an overall strengthening in the market? Or was it bolstered by sold lots that were never paid for? What exactly happened to the Chinese market the following year?
Many people have made efforts to break down this market, but few have been able to surpass the largest obstacle preventing such an analysis: the data itself. Recently, an increasing number of articles and reports in the press have raised a new wave of questions about forgeries and fraudulent transactions, as well as the growing number of buyers defaulting on payment. With this uncertainty, data analysis on the Chinese art market has also been called into question.
artnet, in collaboration with the China Association of Auctioneers (CAA), has released a new report, which uses data analyzed by researchers within both organizations in an attempt to provide more comprehensive and accurate analysis on the Chinese market. As the only national association of the auction industry in China, CAA is uniquely positioned within the market.
The first installment of this partnership is the Global Chinese Antiques and Art Auction Market Annual Statistical Report: 2012, which takes an in-depth look at the Chinese Art and Antiques market in 2012. In an effort to present the most accurate representation of the auction market in China, this report also looks at trends in 2011, when the market experienced a significant surge in volume and value sold.
The Global Chinese Antiques and Art Auction Market Annual Statistical Report is the first 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. For the first time, comprehensive data on the overseas Chinese Art and Antiques market will now be readily available to industry leaders on the mainland. Through this partnership between artnet and CAA, the market can be evaluated with a renewed emphasis on quality and accuracy, with the goal of creating a new standard of transparency.
Highlights of Key Findings:
• Sales of Chinese Art and Antiques decreased by 35% in terms of value sold worldwide in 2012 due to the rapidly contracting market in mainland China.
• In 2012, the market for art and antiques in mainland China was roughly half the size of the market in 2011.
• Even though the market contracted by value, the number of auction houses offering Chinese Art and Antiques grew by roughly 10% in 2012.
• In mainland China, the collecting category Chinese painting and calligraphy represented two-thirds of the market by value in 2012, with over 125,000 works sold. Overseas, the market was primarily dominated by Chinese porcelain, jade, and miscellaneous works of art, which accounted for 60% of the market by value.
• In 2012, the average price for works sold in mainland China dropped considerably, while prices remained relatively stable overseas.
• In 2012, 410 works sold for more than CN¥10 million at auction. This number decreased dramatically from the 831 lots sold in this price range the previous year.
Copies of the Global Chinese Antiques and Art Auction Market Annual Statistical Report: 2012 can be requested by contacting , lead market and strategy analyst at artnet. To find out more about upcoming artnet events and panels, please sign up for the artnet monthly newsletter.