Christie's held its highly anticipated inaugural auction in Shanghai yesterday (September 26), becoming the first auction house to sell a Picasso in mainland China, thanks to Homme Assis.
The auction was a major breakthrough in the collectibles market, with Christie's the first international auction house authorised to operate in mainland China without a local partner.
China did not fail to demonstrate its might as one of the world's largest art and antiques markets, with the 40 items presented in the auction realising an impressive $25m.
The Picasso sale was a major highlight, with the work realising $1.9m against a $1m high estimate - an 86.2% increase. Produced in 1969, it hails from one of the artist's most productive years.
With an eclectic mix offered to cater for every taste, the top lot of the sale was a stunning ruby and diamond butterfly necklace by Faidee, which sold for $3.4m.
Bringing the second highest bids was an artwork created especially for the auction by Chinese artist Cai Guoqiang (b.1957) in a public performance held on September 25. Entitled Home, the exclusive gunpowder drawing made $2.4m.
Proceeds from the sale are being donated by the artist to help fund the construction of the Quanzhou Museum of Contemporary Art.
As expected, Chinese and Asian art played a major role in the sale, with a group of plaster studies for Sui Jianguo's (b. 1956) Clothes Veins series selling for $1.9m, comfortably within its $1.6m-2.4m estimate.
A new world record was set for Singaporean art by Cheong Soo Pieng's By the River II, which realised $678,326.
As stated by Francois Curiel, president of Christie's Asia: "This is an extraordinary start for Christie's in mainland China and indicates there will be exciting times ahead for the industry as a whole and art enthusiasts everywhere."
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