• 5 Feb 2018

Last week, Art-Trope talked about the influence of Chinese investors in the global Fine Arts market. Today, we analyze one of the 2017 records. Indeed, Chinese painter Qi Baishi sold an ink Artworks series for 931,5 million Yuan which is approximately 140 million dollars. What can we learn from this historic record?

This picture taken by SCHENG ahIM represents a Poly Auction that took place on October 2017 in China.

Poly Auction Oct 2017 © SCHENG ahIM

A Chinese legend unknown for the rest of the world

Even though the name of Qi Baishi remains mostly unknown both in Europe and in the United States of America, his Artworks value broke records in auction sales close to Pablo Picasso. Qi Baishi was in 1864, in an underprivileged family. When he reached 40 year-old, he became a carpenter and traveled around China. He passed away at the age of 93 in 1957. This legendary self-taught Artist was “highly sought after both for his huge contributions to brush painting and calligraphy as well as great seal carving technique”, like Chinese Art Expert Leon Wender said. The 20th century Artist’s most celebrated Artworks are landscapes, trees and small animals.

A series of sales records for over a decade

In 2011, the Chinese Artist already hit the Fine Arts market headlines. Indeed, his triptych entitled Eagles on Pine Tree (1946), was sold for 65 million dollars at China Guardian auction house. Nonetheless, it was a mere financial transaction to solve China’s widespread nonpayment problem. As a result, the sale was not referenced in Artnet Price‘s database. Before the December 2017 auction, the Artist’s personal record was 28 million dollars reached in December 2016 at the Poly International auction house. The Artist’s last Artwork sold is now among the 15 masterpieces which sale value went higher than 100 million dollars worldwide. As a result, he is now in the inner circle of Artists like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh.

This Artwork was made by Chinese Artist Qi Baishi and represents a cikada on a branch.

© Qi Baishi

China reclaims its artistic history

The growing number of Chinese Artists’ important auctions is a phenomenon that is part of a unique course of actions. Indeed, China’s goal is to rebuild its artistic history by buying Artworks from its great master Artists. The Chinese Cultural Revolution emptied the country from its collections, particularly those of 20th century Artists. Since the Chinese elite grew significantly wealthier, it is now possible for them to buy Artworks from their compatriots. As a result, Expert Leon Wender told the Guardian that Chinese painting and calligraphy “represented more than 80 percent of the domestic [Art] market last year.” This is the reason why these Artists recognized in their own country remain relatively unnoticed in the global Fine Arts market.

This Artwork by Chinese Artist Qi Baishi represents an eagle on a branch.

© Qi Baishi


Read our article about Barbara Jatta, the first woman to be the head of the Vatican’s Museums here.

Sources : The Guardian and Artprice