Beijing Huachen Auctions, one of the largest art auction houses in China, canceled all its contemporary art sales at the fall auction on November 20. At its website the company’s general manager Gan Xuejun called it a “cautious but necessary” measure amid the economy turmoil.
Three weeks ago the China Guardian Art Auction Co Ltd, which is the oldest and arguably the largest art auction house in the Chinese mainland, suffered from a significant slump in its contemporary art sales. Only half of the lots were sold and the highest price among them was only 2.97 million yuan (for Wang Qidong’s A White Cloud), while at the spring auction it had been 57 million yuan (for Liu Xiaodong’s Hot Bed No.1).
In October, Sotheby’s fall auction in Hong Kong also proceeded only with half its contemporary art lots.
The slump at the major auction houses seems to mark the end of a four-year boom in Chinese contemporary art, a golden age for artists like Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi.
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