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Qi Baishi's Eagle Standing on Pine Tree recorded as the most expensive artwork sold at any auction in 2011
Zitan throne chair with lotus and longevity decoration, Qianlong Period.

BEIJING.- China Guardian Auctions, Co., Ltd. recently announced an overview of the company's 2011 performance. The leading auction house achieved significant sales and record highs in categories including Chinese paintings, calligraphy, oil paintings, sculptures, rare books, rubbings, manuscripts, stamps, coins, bronze mirrors, jadeite, jewelry and watches.

The six auctions for the year –spring, autumn and four quarterly auctions – yielded over 29,700 sold lots, with annual sales in excess of RMB 11.2 billion (USD 1.77 billion). Four of the lots each fetched over RMB 1 billion (USD 158.5 million) and 144 lots sold for over RMB 10 million (USD 1.58 million), which marked the highest record of sales since the company was established in 1993. Sales in 2010 were recorded at RMB 7.55 billion (USD 1.2 billion), indicating a forty-nine percent increase in 2011.

China Guardian maintains a leading position in the Chinese painting auction market, both domestically and internationally. China Guardian's total sales, deal rate, client acceptance and global influence have increased dramatically, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that “Picasso and Warhol are being outsold by Chinese painters as a new wave of wealthy buyers reshapes the global market.” Several notable sales records were set by China Guardian, including Qi Baishi's Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet in Seal Script, which sold for RMB 425.5 million (USD 67.4 million), classifying it as both the highest price paid for a piece of Chinese art in 2011 and the highest work sold at any auction for the year.

"After eighteen years of development, China Guardian's annual turnover crossed the RMB 10 billion (USD 1.58 billion), which reflects the rapid development of the art auction market in the past two decades," said by Ms. Wang Yannan, Director and President of China Guardian. "This year, the art market in China became more rational and collectors purchased with greater maturity. We believe the art market will continue to move forward and become more stable in the future."

In China Guardian’s 2011 auctions, excellent performance was achieved across all categories, with the closing price of four pieces exceeding RMB 100 million (USD 15.85 million). In the spring auction, a Qi Baishi masterpiece entitled Eagle Standing on Pine Tree; Four-Character Couplet in Seal Script created a milestone for the modern and contemporary Chinese paintings and calligraphies category, which became the leading category, with an overall sales price of RMB 425.5 million (USD 67.4 million).

The results of the autumn auction were also significant, including Landscape Painting Album created by Qi Baishi and Wang Hui’s Landscape Inspired by Tang Poems collected by Shi Qu Bao Ji sold for RMB 194 million (USD 30.75 million) and RMB 126.5 million (USD 20 million) respectively. Additional 2011 auction highlights include a Qin music instrument from the Tang Dynasty, which sold for RMB 115 million (USD 18.2 million).

Many new records, across various auction categories, were achieved at China Guardian auctions including Chen Yifei’s representative work entitled Mountain, Earth and Wind, which broke the record high sales price for paintings with RMB 81.65 million (USD 12.9 million) during the spring auction, and renewed the world record of Chinese oil paintings at that time. “Liang Han Ce Yao”(Digest of the Governing Disciplines at the Han Dynasty), a sixteen-volume hand-copied book from the Yuan Dynasty, edited by Tao Shuxian also set a new world record for Chinese rare books at auction, selling at a price of RMB 48.3 million (USD 7.65 million). In the category of Stamps, Coins, Banknotes and Bronze Mirrors, a bronze mirror created a record high for a work of its kind with a price of RMB 8.97 million (USD 1.42 million). In the autumn auction, Traveling Red Cliff at Night made of Tianhuang stone from Shoushan by Shi Qing set a record high for the precious material, selling for RMB 20.12 million (USD 3.19 million).

China Guardian Auctions Co. Ltd. has strongly focused on the exploration and maintenance of the overseas market to expand its client base, enhance international exchange and increase its global presence.

This has been a consistent theme for China Guardian since its inception, and one that has strengthened its expertise, consignment network and provision of top quality service. In order to improve its services in North America, China Guardian will officially open its office in the US in the early 2012. Meanwhile, China Guardian is strengthening relationships with heralded international art institutions and museums, including the Asia Society, New York; and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, to establish sustainable long-term cooperative partnerships.

With the increased worldwide focus on the China auction industry in 2011, China Guardian has played an active role in providing information about market activities, trends and scholarship to international media. The company’s high-level leaders have been interviewed by a number of important media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, NPR, Reuters, Art in America, Asahi Shimbun, RIA Novosti, Le Monde, Handelsblatt, German Broadcasting Corporation, Austria TV, Korean ARTPRICE Research Center, South China Morning Post, Malaysia South Asia Post, and more.

In February 2011, China Guardian debuted consignment activities in Canada with tremendous success. Additional consignment events were held in the United States and Japan, in July and August respectively, both of which were warmly welcomed by local collectors.

China Guardian sponsored a series of exhibitions and lectures in 2011, actively involving itself in academic and philanthropic activities. China Guardian held three exhibitions last spring, including the popular exhibition Chinese Classic Furniture. In addition, China Guardian supported Lingering Admiration of Classic Beauty: An Exhibition of Ming Furniture from Lv Ming Shi Collection, an important feature of this event, which was held in Jiale Hall of Prince Gong’s Mansion from March 30 - April 17, 2011. Seventy pieces of Ming style furniture were exhibited, including tables, chairs, beds, cabinets and antiques. Assembled by a Belgian collector, these items enjoyed global fame after being exhibited in Musée Guimet, Paris; the Forbidden City, Beijing; and Nanjing Museum. The exhibition was hailed by academics, specialists and collectors as one of the most important classical furniture exhibitions of the year. On April 7, 2011, the second Western Intangible Cultural Heritage Performance was opened in the West Market in Xi’an where China Guardian held a private exhibition of auction preview items for its 2011 Spring Auction in its Art Gallery.

Additionally, an Academic Summit and Seminar hosted by the Administration Office of the Summer Palace, and co-sponsored by China Guardian Auction Co., Ltd. and the Administration Office of Prince Gong’s Mansion, Ministry of Culture, was launched on March 29, 2011. China Guardian was also invited to hold a special exhibition in the 2011 China (Shanghai) International Yacht Show, the largest comprehensive yacht show and conference in Asia, which was held in Shanghai Exhibition Center on April 14, 2011. The auction house displayed precious watches and Ming Huanghuali furniture, while additionally hosting lectures on the topic of appraising and collecting watches.

In the fall, China Guardian held three exhibitions including Ren Xiong and Ni Tian’s Drawings: Poetic Beauty of Yao Damei, which was launched in Ledao Hall of Prince Gong’s Mansion on September 16, 2011. Included in the exhibition were Poetic Beauty of Yao Damei by Ren Xiong, a painter of the Qing Dynasty and a representative of Hai School, as well as a replica of the work by Ni Tian, an artist of the late Qing Dynasty.

The first China International Watches Exhibition debuted at the China World Trade Center from September 21-25, 2011, which displayed approximately twenty pieces of supreme level collectable watches.

Choice Items: Chinese Classic Furniture Exhibition, an exhibition of the highest caliber on the theme of classical furniture, was held from September 23 – October 13, 2011, with over 120 pieces made of Yellow Pear wood and red sandalwood.
China Guardian awarded its annual China Guardian Xu Bangda Art Education Scholarship to Wang Shengyu, Xie Yuhao and eighteen additional college students from across China. The scholarship was founded in 2010, and was the first of its kind to be established amongst the Chinese cultural relics community. The 2011 awards totaled RMB 200,000 (USD 31,700).

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