Auction houses are the only ones, who could, can and always will laugh in the face of recession. Collectors will go to any length to get the item of their dreams and hence always make profits for the auction houses. This display of hunger for their favorite works was portrayed by various bidders at a recent auction held by Christie’s in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is Christie’s third-biggest market after New York and London and its hub for the sale of Chinese antiquities. Christie’s International’s four-day sale of 1,600 paintings, gems and antiques totaled HK$1.07 billion ($138 million), beating its presale estimate of HK$750 million ($96 million). This was also Christie’s first auction in China since the company’s Feb. 25 auction of looted Qing bronzes in Paris, which sparked outrage in Beijing. The auction proved that the slump in the art market was definitely over and that this is the best time for sellers to sell their treasures. Works by Chinese masters fetched the highest prices.
The four most expensive were paintings by China-born, Paris-based artist Zao (born in 1921) and Sanyu (1901-1966), whose 1950s work “Cat and Birds” fetched HK$42.1 million ($5.4 million), a record price at auction for a work by the painter. A complete extravaganza it was not just art works but authentic timepieces (a Patek Phillipe wristwatch fetched a whopping HK$28.4 million ($3.6 million)) and ceramics who also found enthusiastic bidders. This four day sale has proved that no matter where the economy stands, the auction houses will always stay strong.