Last month the prices for Chinese art skyrocketed to their highest levels yet, but comparisons to the Japanese art bubble prove that a crash is near, says Vikram Mansharamani.
New York’s Asian Art Week was spectacular. A delicate pear-shaped Chinese vase was the star of the week, skyrocketing past its pre-sale estimate of $800 to $1,200 to sell for more than $18 million. A carved celadon-glazed ceramic Qianlong vase sold for $7.9 million, double its high presale estimate. Combined, Sotheby’s and Christie’s International took in a record $202 million during the week, 56 per cent above the prior 2007 peak.
The electricity transferred over to Europe, where a Beijing collector paid a record $31 million for a Chinese scroll on March 26 at an auction in Toulouse, France. And this week has been equally exciting. Global art collectors descended upon the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for Sotheby’s 3,600 lot series of auctions. A painting by Zhang Xiaogang set a new record, selling for more than double pre-auction estimates. The most anticipated auction was Thursday evening’s sale of the Meiyintang collection of imperial Chinese porcelain.