Saturday 7th September saw Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions and Yourun International (UK) Art Investment Management Ltd make art market history. Held at the Mall Galleries in London this was the first auction in the UK to bring works of art directly from Chinese artists to buyers in the west. Pre-sale interest in the lots was high and translated in to some incredible prices for artwork across the board.
With the aim of raising awareness of emerging Chinese artists and showing the energy and vibrancy of the current Chinese art market, 144 works of art were submitted to a pre-sale exhibition and auction by professors and students from four prestigious art schools in China. None of these artists had exhibited outside of Asia before and Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions were delighted to be able to help facilitate their exposure to the west.
Over the past thirty years, the Chinese contemporary art world has been borne out of the profound political and social changes facing the nation. Finding a voice for self-expression and exploration of emotional responses to these changes is a key theme found in much of Chinas contemporary artwork. Whilst retaining a strong sense of Chinese cultural history many of the works exhibited, and sold, from this collection used a number of traditional western methods.
Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming commented at the opening of the exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in the week preceding the auction: "This exhibition joins a growing stream of artistic exchange between our two countries. More importantly, each of these cultural events is laying foundations to build many bridges of understanding and bonds of friendship between Chinese and British people.
The young painters are expressive of their thoughts over the fast transition of Chinese society.
"While learning western techniques, these artists bear distinctive Chinese characteristics in their painting."
The exhibition opened at the Mall Galleries on the 2nd September and received a fantastically high level of interest and praise from the western market before it was offered sale by public auction. Lewis McNaught, Director of the Mall Galleries, said that the collection was "closing the gap between Chinese and British art. These artists reinvigorated western painting with Chinese value and culture."
The range of works on offer provided both art collectors and investors with a stunning and diverse range of contemporary Chinese artwork. Bidding in the room, on the telephone and online was strong with high prices achieved across the board. Both Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions and Yourun International were delighted with the result.
Stephan Ludwig, Chairman of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions commented after the sale: Taking art directly from the easel to the collector has not traditionally been the preserve of auction houses. Less still, in the case of art by lesser known artists from an emerging market. The unprecedented feat of raising over US$600,000 for a group of Chinese up-and-coming artists is a credit to both the quality of their works and Youruns curatorial eye.
The catalogue and full results from this pioneering collection can be found online at http://www.dreweatts.com/cms/pages/lots/36070