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Shanghai art market sees strong recovery

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-23 09:15

This year marked the 11th session of ART021, featuring more than 160 galleries and institutions from 16 countries and regions and more than 15,000 pieces of artwork valued at more than 3 billion yuan ($414 million). [Photo/shanghai.gov.cn]

The Fifth Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week, which took place from Nov 9 to Nov 13, saw strong recovery of the city's art market, with two flagship fairs achieving success, the latest data showed on Wednesday.

More than 100 art fair events and 30 auctions during the annual Artwork Trade Week showed the municipality is aiming at building Shanghai into a premier global trading venue for art.

This year, two flagship art fairs - West Bund Art & Design and ART021 - took place from Nov 9 to 12, with both mounted on a larger scale than in the previous years.

"We had hoped to see a steady recovery of the market for this year, but things turned out much better than we expected," said David Chau, co-founder of ART021.

This year marked the 11th session of ART021, featuring more than 160 galleries and institutions from 16 countries and regions and more than 15,000 pieces of artwork valued at more than 3 billion yuan ($414 million). The fair received more than 40,000 visitors every day and achieved record sales worth more than 1.2 billion yuan.

ART021 went through a constructive decade nurturing the market, and many potential collectors have become avid art buyers, he said. "Shanghai is actively growing into an important art center of the world, and I hope the city's art market would keep growing to reach 100 billion yuan in the next 10 years."

This year, Opera Gallery participated in ART021 for the second time, and presented creations of some iconic artists such as Marc Chagall, Fernando Botero and Chu Teh-Chun.

"We know that Chinese audiences are interested in the artwork we present. We already shipped a number of paintings from our galleries in New York, Paris and Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland," Gilles Dyan, founder and chairman of the gallery, told China Daily.

Founded in Paris and Singapore simultaneously more than 30 years ago, the international gallery has 16 locations globally, with the latest ones opening in Dubai and Madrid. "We have quite a big presence, and have become one of the leading galleries in the world," he said.

Representing 150 contemporary living artists from all over the world, the gallery also has an extensive collection of masterpieces from the Impressionism period to American pop art.

Encouraged by the enthusiasm of the Chinese market, Dyan said he hopes to open "maybe more than one new gallery in the Chinese mainland" in the near future.

The other major fair, West Bund, celebrated its 10th birthday this year. An unprecedented high number of 185 exhibitors were featured, 54 of whom were newcomers.

In the past 10 years, the West Bund area in Shanghai's Xuhui district has developed from a bunch of desolate industrial relic sites to one of the most dynamic art communities in Shanghai, home to a number of institutions such as Long Museum, Tank Shanghai, West Bund Museum and so on.

Swiss bank UBS shared key findings from its newly published the Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023 at West Bund. Fueled by substantial spending, especially from Chinese mainland collectors, Asia has seen a strong resurgence in art buying post-COVID, surpassing Europe and the United States in certain sectors, said Marina Lui, head of wealth management, China, UBS Global Wealth Management.

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