Christie’s targets the rising art market in Asia and Asian art collectors, seeking to expand its presence in the region.
Christie’s opened its first Asian gallery, the James Christie Room in Hong Kong, on 28 February 2014. The opening was hosted by Jonathan Stone (Chairman and International Head of Asian Art of Christie’s Asia), Rebecca Wei (President of Christie’s Asia) and Jinqing Cai (President of Christie’s China), among others.
The new gallery
The James Christie Room is located on the 22nd floor of Alexandra House in Hong Kong with over 250 square metres of viewing rooms. Named after Christie’s Founder James Christie, it will host curated exhibitions, charity events, art forums, and sales and auctions. The launch of the gallery comes thirty years after Christie’s opened a representational office in Hong Kong.
The James Christie Room follows in the footsteps of Christie’s other spaces in London, Paris and New York. François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Asia Pacific, was quoted in the press release as saying:
Our record results for Asia in 2013 demonstrate the growing demand and appreciation for art and culture in this region. This strong performance gives us confidence to invest further in our business in Hong Kong.
He added that the James Christie Room would “host frequent exhibitions with works from our international auctions,” and “a full educational programme with lectures and fine art courses” would be developed.
A special exhibition titled “Best of the Best” was organised to celebrate the opening. The show included works of Asian modern and contemporary art, Chinese paintings and ceramics, post-war and contemporary art as well as impressionist and modern art.
Asian artists featured in the exhibition include Chu Teh-Chun, Liu Kuo-Sung, Xu Beihong, and contemporary Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi, whose work broke sales records at Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale in 2013. The exhibition is on display until 15 March 2014.
The Asian art market
Christie’s has made significant inroads in the Chinese and East Asian art markets. In China, Christie’s is the first independent auction house that does not partner with any national companies, though still limited to selling post-1949 Chinese art and international art, as well as jewellery and wine.
Christie’s witnessed record results for Asia in 2013, with overall results raised by 16 percent from 2012, assisted by the strong Asian art market and the auciton house’s first sales in China and India in 2013. Jussi Pylkkanen, President of Christie’s Europe, told Reuters:
Over the next three years you’ll see even more significant growth from China, India, Russia and the Middle East as we engage more clients.
Auction results from Hong Kong increased by 30 percent, and 22 percent of global sales were represented by buyers from China.
These encouraging results have led Christie’s to further invest in the region, opening the Hong Kong gallery to provide collectors with access to the best works from all over the world. The auction house plans to open similar spaces in Shanghai and Beijing in the latter half of 2014.
- “Modest by international standards”: Sotheby’s inaugural China mainland sale receives measured reactions – December 2013 – Sotheby’s first auction in mainland China saw overall healthy bidding and some new records
- Christie’s “The Era of Asia” evening sale: Hong Kong gallerists predict trends – November 2013 – Christie’s Hong Kong evening sale set new records for Asian art
- Christie’s Hong Kong spring 2012 Asian art auctions: Modern sales outpace contemporary – May 2012 – Art Radar rounds up Christie’s Hong Kong Spring 2012 auctions
- Sotheby’s Hong Kong spring 2012 auctions: Modern Asian art still outselling contemporary – April 2012 – modern art outpaced contemporary in another major Hong Kong sale this year
- New records for Chinese auction houses despite market slowdown – January 2012 – the expansion of mainland Chinese auction houses is sure to influence the Hong Kong market
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