Saturday

13th Apr 2024

Booming Chinese art market surpasses Europe

  • The world's greatest artists are getting used to seeing this currency when selling their art (Photo: EUobserver)

China has become the second largest art market in the world after the US, surpassing Europe, where high taxes are a turn off for high-end buyers and sellers.

If forty years ago it was illegal to own a piece of artwork in China, nowadays its art market is second only to the US, having for the first time surpassed the British one, a report published by the European Fine Art Foundation reveals.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The contemporary art market, for instance, rose from one million US dollars in 2002 to over 160 million in 2010 - and this only refers to public auctions, not private sales. Traditional sectors such as porcelain, Chinese painting and calligraphy also saw record auction prices, more than tripling year over year.

The explanation lies with the buyers. As revenues and economies are faltering in Europe, China has seen a steady rise in the number of rich people, with some 115 billionaires estimated to live in the country in 2011, double the number in 2010, according to a Forbes ranking.

Global auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's have already shifted their focus on Asian art, accounting for one fifth of the sales last year.

On the downside of the Chinese art market is the higher risk of fakes, as authenticity is not guaranteed at auctions and no legal recourse or warranty for fakes is offered.

As long as the trust issue is still relatively shaky, Europe can still benefit from highly-prized art auctions, despite its regulatory burdens and value-added tax system.

Feature

The European Parliament corridor where art goes to die

A corridor two floors below the Paul-Henri Spaak building in Brussels once led to the EU institutions. Today, it is used to store broken office furniture and sculptures celebrating the birth of the European Union by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us