x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Qi Baishi and the Chinese art of big numbers

The $65m sale of a picture by Qi Baishi prompts recollections of five other pieces of evidence that Chinese art is rocketing in value.

A modern Chinese painting by the artist Qi Baishi sold at auction in Beijing this week for US$65 million (Dh239m). Here are five other wallet-busting pieces of Chinese art.

Take Five... Mask Series

In 2008, Zeng Fanzhi's large, colourful painting, Mask Series 1996 No 6, sold at Christie's in Hong Kong for $9.7m.

Take Four... Two People

The Chinese conceptual artist Geng Jianyi was at the forefront of the contemporary art movement in 1985 when his paintings of bold, laughing faces pioneered Cynical Realism. More recently, his piece Two People Under a Light fetched $2.4m in April.

Take Three... Series 'X?'

An anonymous buyer parted with $2.9m for Zhang Peili's Series "X?" No. 3 this year in Hong Kong. The piece by an artist recognised as a pioneer of Chinese video art, fetched more than nine times its top estimate.

Take Two... Pins Landais

Zao Wou-ki's painting Pins Landais, inspired by the pines of the Landes region of south-west France, fetched close to $3m earlier this year, nearly six times its highest pre-sale estimate.

Take One... Execution

In 2007, the Beijing artist Yue Minjun's work Execution was sold in London for a record-breaking $5.9m. The piece was billed by Sotheby's as being "among the most historically important paintings of the Chinese avant-garde ever to appear at auction".