Traditional Chinese art works of the past and present have become increasingly valuable “commodities” for investors of both the East and West. Each year, the Spring and Fall sales of the three auction houses – Sotheby’s and Christie’s and the China Guardian – are flooded with gallery owners, artists, buyers and sellers. They are never surprised by the soaring prices and total turnover. Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) and Qi Baishi (1864-1957) are the most frequently heard names in any auction houses. They are like Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso in western businessmen’s eyes, whose works sell for millions of dollars. For example, The painting “Lotus and Mandarin Ducks” by Zhang Daqian has just set the new record for Zhang at Southeby’s for 191 million Hong Kong dollars (over 24 million USD) this May.
Apart from appreciation and investment, it might be an alien concept for laymen outside the Chinese system that one of the most essential functions of art works is corruption. The concept of “elegant bribery”, or Yahui in Chinese, refers to the action and process of a systematic corruption that only involves cultural products and artefacts: antiques, rare plants, paintings and calligraphy as a medium of the crime. Art works, in particular, have become no more than tools of corruptions among officials, merchants, art dealers and sometimes even artists.
Read it, it’s fascinating. And then they arrest Ai WeiWei on tax fraud. Either he did not want to take part in this charades or the Chinese have the sickest sense of ‘irony’.
In about one year’s time, Autumn de Forest, who turns 9 this month, has become one of the art world’s youngest and biggest stars. Prolific and versatile, she has produced a range of work representing multiple styles: abstract impressionism, surrealism and pop art. Her paintings bring to mind the work of masters like Picasso, Warhol, Dali and Matisse.
And it sells.
This year, Autumn has sold dozens of her paintings at auction for a total of about $250,000. The highest price paid for her work is $25,000, for the painting “People Are Strange,” inspired by The Doors song of the same name. (via tfail)
Gah, her mannerisms make my skin crawl. Anyway, she seems to draft well enough. I can’t tell about paint handling from the video. There is no originality on display, but at age eight that’s not exactly her fault. The only reason these paintings sell is because of the novelty of her age, so the prices they fetch is a testament to the successful hucksterism of her promoter(s) rather than the quality of the works themselves. She may be truly talented (in which case, good for her), but this just reminds me of Alexandra Nechita and Marla Olmstead all over again.