The Art Bubble Is Back - Chinese Bidders Break Christie's Auction Record

After a brief warning last week that all was not well in the world of the uber-wealthy as a couple of art auctions did not quite go as expected, The Wall Street Journal reports that there is no need to worry... the contemporary art market is on fire. Christie's in New York made auction history Tuesday when it sold $745 million worth of art - topping its $691.6 million landmark sale last November. The bid behind this record-breaking exuberance... All night long, auction regulars found themselves competing with Asian telephone bidders representing mainland Chinese collectors. Whether Tuesday's sale represents a new high point for the art market - or the next step in a developing cycle – remains to be seen... as one excited buyer noted - "The art market is hot across the board - Pop is selling, Ab-Ex is selling, New Wave is selling, it's all selling."

 

Via The Wall Street Journal,

The contemporary art market is on fire. Christie's in New York made auction history Tuesday when it sold $745 million worth of contemporary art in less time than it takes to watch a basketball game.

 

The auction house's total surpassed its $691.6 million landmark sale last November and reset records for artists like Alexander Calder and Barnett Newman, whose black-and-tan abstract, "Black Fire I," sold for $84.2 million.

 

 

Christie's total easily exceeded its own $500 million expectations, with collectors, fashion designers and dealers in chunky eyeglasses chasing nearly everything on offer—and whistling and shaking their heads in amazement on occasion.

 

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Among the usual roster of international collectors, mainland Chinese collectors bidding over the telephone stood out, taking home a gallery's worth of works.

 

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All night long, auction regulars like New York dealers Larry Gagosian and Dominique Levy found themselves competing with Asian telephone bidders for the sale's art trophies—with each taking spoils in turn.

 

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"You have to be disciplined and not reckless in this market," Mr. Cejas added, "but if you like something, you stretch for it. And this is the one I wanted."

 

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"The art market is hot across the board—Pop is selling, Ab-Ex is selling, New Wave is selling, it's all selling."

Nope, no irrational exuberance there at all... Whether Tuesday's sale represents a new high point for the art market—or the next step in a developing cycle – remains to be seen.

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