CHINESE ART PRICES
The current state of Chinese art prices was discussed before members of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China who had gathered at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) to hear a dialogue between UCCA director Jerome Sans and Cheung Kong GSB professor Mei Jianping.
Mei Jianping is founder of the Mei Moses art index. Using a database of over 15,000 art pieces drawn from publicly available Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction prices, the Mei-Moses index demonstrates that investments in quality art, in the long term, deliver higher returns than bonds and gold. The index has received criticisms from some quarters for survivor-biassed results – the index only tracks the prices of works which sell and ignores works which remain unsold. Supporters point out that stock market indices are similarly biassed and ignore companies which drop out of the index or go bankrupt. Despite these contrary views, the index remains one of the most widely referenced indices by press sources.
Professor Mei noted that
art prices frequently track the economic development of the artist’s home culture, citing how most American art from the 1950s has dramatically increased in value since. He then went on to describe prices at the peak of the Chinese art market last year as artificially high, buoyed by speculation.
Director Sans noted that
- any trend with 10 years of momentum behind it cannot be regarded as mere hype
- half of the top 20 selling artists in the world are Chinese
- no collection or retrospective of contemporary art today would be complete without one or two Chinese artists which is a dramatic change from a decade ago.
At the conclusion of the talk Mei Jan-Ping affirmed his belief that the “long-term prospects for Chinese art as an investment, in spite of the current economic climate, were great”. He is sufficiently optimistic about the long term interest of the Chinese people in the art market that according to Chinese Radio International he is now working on a Chinese version of his index.
Source: Cheung Kong GSB News
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