Chinese Art : Brushstrokes of Brilliance – A Look into the Best Performers (2020-2022)

Chinese Art : Brushstrokes of Brilliance – A Look into the Best Performers (2020-2022)
ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983), Source - Christie's

The global art market has witnessed a transformative shift in the past decade. No longer is it the domain of European Old Masters alone; Chinese artists have carved a formidable niche, reshaping the dynamics of the art industry. Here's a closer examination of the significant players and moments from 2020 to 2022.

Modern Era Chinese Artists: The Game Changers

In the realm of modern art, Li Keran and Zhang Daqian stood out prominently. Collectively, these two titans were two of the five artists that constituted a whopping 43% of the art market by value. This stat underscores the dominant role that high-selling artists play in setting market trends.

Li Keran, renowned for his picturesque landscapes and ink paintings, has always exhibited a unique blend of traditional Chinese art techniques with innovative styles. On the other hand, Zhang Daqian, famed for his splashed-ink landscapes and forgery of traditional scripts, has become one of the most sought-after artists in auctions, often drawing staggering bids.

LI KERAN (1907-1989), Source - Christie's

The Antiques Segment: Where Tradition Meets Opulence

The art and antiques sector isn't just about paintings; it also celebrates intricacies in other forms. A testament to this was the sale of a Chinese Yangcai painted ceramic vase adorned with 'Imperial poems and landscapes'. This exquisite piece fetched an astounding $4.1 million in a Hong Kong auction, emphasizing the luxury and historical value such items hold.


Chinese Old Masters: The Torchbearers

Chinese Old Masters have not just made an entry into the wider sector but have also managed to dent the hegemony of European Old Masters. Key artists, including Yun Shouping, Shen Shichong, and Yao Yao Yunzai, have become the champions of this transition.

Yun Shouping, known for his fresh flower paintings, brought a new perspective to the age-old Chinese painting techniques. Meanwhile, artists like Shen Shichong and Yao Yao Yunzai have further strengthened the Chinese representation in the global art market with their distinctive styles and narratives.

Their rise, combined with a relatively slower market in Europe and the US in 2019 and 2020, meant that European Old Masters found themselves at an unprecedented minority, with their market share plunging to a mere 36% in 2020. But, by 2021, boosted by record prices achieved by them, their share rebounded to 57%.

YUN SHOUPING (1633-1690), Source - Christie's

In Conclusion

The years 2020 to 2022 were transformative for the global art market, with Chinese artists and antiques taking center stage. Whether you're an art aficionado, collector, or just a curious observer, there's no denying that the allure of Chinese art is on an impressive ascent. The blend of tradition and innovation, age-old techniques, and contemporary visions offers a rich tapestry that promises an exciting future for art enthusiasts worldwide.


Art Basel & UBS (2023), THE ART MARKET 2023 A report by Art Basel & UBS.

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