Rupert Hoogewerf
Rupert Hoogewerf

Sales of living Chinese artists at auctions dropped to almost half in 2015, reports the Hurun Art List 2016 this week. Causes: a slowing economy and the anti-corruption drive, tells Hurun chairman Rupert Hoogewerf to AFP.


By far the most valuable artist was ink painter Cui Ruzhuo, 72, who is known for his large-scale traditional landscapes, said wealth publisher the Hurun Report, which collated auction results for the 100 most lucrative Chinese artists.

Cui’s works fetched US$120.4 million, the report said, far ahead of second-placed oil painter Zeng Fanzhi, who saw his sales value crash by 62 percent.

“A heady mix of the continued anti-corruption campaign, which has put a stop to gifting art to government officers, and a slowdown in the economy have combined to see both sales and the number of top works at auction pretty much halve,” said Hurun Report Chairman Rupert Hoogewerf…

The 100 artists’ auction sales totaled US$56.5 billion.

Cui was one of just eight artists who saw an increase in sales, with his revenues up 69 percent from 2014.

He made headlines last April when an eight-paneled snowy mountainscape of his sold for US$30 million at Poly Auction in Hong Kong — the highest ever by a living Asian artist.

At that same auction, another of his landscapes that sold for US$3.7 million was mistaken for rubbish and thrown out by cleaners, with Cui telling the Wall Street Journal: “I believe it was an accident.”

Only three artists on the list were women. They included Chen Peiqiu, age 94, at No. 16.

More at AFP.

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