Aspirational Chinese art collectors boost Sotheby's first half income


Strong art sales in China propelled Sotheby's to its best quarter on record, the auction house has revealed.

Sotheby's saw net income rise by 48% in the second quarter to $127.2m.

The first half of the year was strong as a whole, the company posting a 54% improvement in net income to $129.7m when compared with a year earlier.

Bill Ruprecht, president and chief executive officer at Sotheby's, attributes much of the success to the auction house's art department, with sales to Chinese collectors particularly strong.

A Qi Baishi made a record $65.5m
at a May auction in Beijing

"Record first half consolidated sales reflected the surge of activity from buyers and sellers across China as well as significant increases in auction sales in each of our four principal selling centres," he said.

The world's fastest growing economy is producing a generation of aspirational art collectors, suggesting it could be a good time for high-net worth individuals to sell their prized artworks.

"Great works of art are enormously desirable to collectors from every corner of the world right now," added Ruprecht.

The numbers follow similarly positive first-half results from Christie's art sales in Asia, which were up 48% on the same period in 2010 to £296m.

An artwork by Qi Baishi made $65.5m at a China Guardian auction in Beijing in May, a record for a contemporary Chinese artwork.

Sotheby's Chinese Works of Art auction will take place in New York on September 14th, featuring a $3m-valued 10th or 11th century food vessel. 

Paul Fraser Collectibles will bring you previews of this sale over the coming weeks, so make sure you check back here regularly.


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