Chinese influence climbing the top of contemporary art market

Chinese influence climbing the top of contemporary art market

If Indian contemporary art market is the dark house in the investment world, Chinese contemporary art should be the biggest and strongest growing market. Chinese art market emerged from the mid-2000s and has showed a staggering growth on the worldwide over the last years. Its emergence has already fundamentally altered the international art trade markets. We are going to analyze the Chinese contemporary art market and introduce several influential artists.


Until 2013, Chinese Art Market Rebounds to $8.5 Billion through worldwide, and more than 252,000 Fine Art lots were sold in the first six months of 2016, generating a total turnover of $6.53 billion (including fees) which account for 35.5% of the Country Turnover (USD) Market Share. Additionally, China upped 18%, dominated the global Art Market in the first half of 2016 (Artprice)


Through the data provided from Artprice, China has knocked the U.S. off the top of the art auction market. By analyses on 3,500 auction sales globally through the first two quarters of 2016, art market data and analytics firm gave the current conclusion: China achieved the largest share of the auction market by $570 million increase in sales. The United States follows at 26.8% of the art auction market. 


After the years of turbulent economic climate, the huge growth of China art auction market makes bolstered the western auction houses. The combined auction totals (Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Poly Auction, and China Guardian) increased to $2.3 billion from $1.97 billion according to Artprice data.


Chinese contemporary artists:


The contemporary art in China came to the global stage from the 80s of 20th century. As the Chinese contemporary art attracted the worldwide attention especially during the 21th century with the huge amount of the international investment. Except dominant investment from China, investors around the world showed a great interest in the Chinese art market as they stand out by unique artistic expressions.


Realism artists:

Chinese modern and contemporary art is a fast-growing sector, especially in auction.Artist like Zhang Xiaogang, he is the top-selling Chinese artists at auction. His style is Socialist Realism and has a total of nearly $104 million in auction sales. Zhang Xiaogang’s family portraits firstly drew attention from the US in 2006. And his artwork: Bloodline Series Comrade No. 120.(1998) Exceeded the estimated price from Sotheby’s ($250,000–350,000) and achieved $979,200. Since then, his another work Bloodline: Big Family No. 3 (1995), set the current records of $12 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, this artwork is the 7th most expensive individual works among Chinese artists.


 Zhang Xiaogang



Another artist, Zeng Fanzhi, who has a total volume of $226 million at auction. He is the third most famous artist in China and have the similar style of Zhao Xiaogang. His artwork--Last Supper (2001) soared to $23.3 million at Sotheby’s. Tellingly, “The Last Supper” was inspired by the world famous painting by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. Zeng boldly encapsulates the characters and transforms to China in the 1990s. it perhaps the most representative work in the history of contemporary Chinese art.

the last supper

“The Last Supper” Zeng Fanzhi,  2001, Sotheby's



Abstract artists:

Artist like Zao Wou-Ki (1921-2013), who was a Chinese-French painter.His artworks have the style combined the western art theories and the techniques of oil painting. His art is deeply influenced by the Chinese traditional art style and show the dynamic colors, powerful strokes just like the music without lyrics. His auction record of RMB 89,680,000 (US$14,718,771) was set at Sotheby's, Beijing, on 1 December 2013. He had more than 160 exhibitions around the world. Former French President Jacques Chirac was offered a painting by Zao Wou-Ki by his ministers during their last meeting.

Wu Guanzhong 




Wu Guangzhong, with a total of $510 million, his work are accounted for the 10 highest lots. In 2011, at Beijing A&F Auction Co. Ltd. his work—“Landscape”(1973) which eclipsed the Zeng’s “The Last Supper”and sold for $23.5 million. His “zhouzhuang”in Polyauction HK 2016 spring for HKD236 million. The price raise almost 2000 times than 25 years before. Wu Guangzhong is the master of art in Chinese history. Wu’s artworks are more specific about the traditional Chinese art. He used much more imagery, calligraphy to reveal the paintings. From this point, his artworks look abstract and have a special feeling from Chinese Zen.

Zhou Zhuang 

《Zhou Zhuang》Wu Guanzhong  (1997)



Qiu Deshu, another artist whose art are “abstract compositions bear color schemes and shapes that suggest landscapes while evoking historical Chinese painting and Impressionism as well as digital art”(Artsy). His artwork “liebian”sold in 2015 for RMB:207 000.

 Qiu Deshu

  “Liebian” Qiu Deshu RMB:207 000 (2015)



Artiste plasticien

Cai Guo-Qiang is a contemporary artist who explors the properties of gunpowder in his drawings. He aimed to transcend the culture boundaries. He was prized by Golen Lion, 48th Vienna Biennale(1991), Alpert Awards in the Arts (2001), Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize (2009). His “Set of 14 drawings for Asia-Pacific economic co-operation” which sold for 6.02 million euros in 2007.





Cai Guo  

“Set of 14 drawings for Asia-Pacific economic co-operation” Cai Guoqiang. 2007

The contemporary art market(The contemporary art market report 2016, Artprice)


Tens of thousands of contemporary artworks sold though the world every year. "The last two decades have seen a considerable expansion in the global Contemporary art market with 55,000 works sold last year, i.e. 4.7 times more than the total for the year 2000. The expansion of the market has allowed a 1,370% increase in the volume of auction turnover over the same period (Artprice)."


“The demand for Contemporary art has essentially grown in response to major structural reforms of the art market triggered by globalisation and online buying, and the intensification of demand as more people become interested in acquiring artworks has pushed Contemporary art prices to new highs.”(Artprice)



Contemporary art as an investment in the workplace

Many companies begin to invest in contemporary art in the workplace, it is trendy but additionally, it is the strategy.

  • Improve the working environment

It is an investment both in the art and the staff. Artworks in the office places inspire and unlock creative potential of the staff. There is hard evidence that art can boost the efficiency and productivity.


·         Impressing clients

The art in the office place can express to the clients the corporate values, strong impressions, plus, the art paintings can communication with clients and visitors on an emotional level.


·         Investment on Contemporary art

Different from some other art styles, contemporary art is considered as kind of art which can have inspiring and stimulating influence on people.


If your company can’t decorate the office by Van Gogh or Picasso, we can recommend you to looking for emerging contemporary artists. We represent several whose works are currently affordable, but tipped to increase in value in the future. In Smartpis, you could discover some of the hottest contemporary names in the market today.


We provide advices and contemporary artworks not only for Chinese contemporary art. Indeed, Chinese contemporary have a glorify prospect and unexpected value in the auction and investment field. If you are interesting in the Chinese contemporary art market, or other countries such as India, Australia,Mongolia and so on, Smartpis can provide you the most professional advices and help in the investment field. We have the platforms of art market and have the deep analysis on the contemporary market. Smartpis can promise you a valuable experience in working with us on the contemporary art market.



Author: Sylvie Deng

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