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September 25, 2013

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Christie’s picks Shanghai for its first auction on Chinese mainland

Christie’s will hold its first auction in Shanghai tomorrow evening after it became the first international fine arts auction company to be granted a license to operate independently on the Chinese mainland.

The auction will be held at the Jing’an Shangri-La hotel.

The London auction house will put up 42 works from various fields — from paintings, jewelry, watches, wine and decorative arts — under the hammer, estimated to be worth 100 million yuan (US$16 million).

“I am so happy that this happened here in Shanghai. The city is the best platform for art market in China and I think the first sale is going to be a big success,” said Maximin Berko, a Belgian fine arts and antiques dealer and the co-founder of the Shanghai Fine Jewelry and Art Fair.

Christie’s allowed a three-day public preview, starting yesterday, before the auction officially kicks off at 6pm tomorrow.

It will also hold private sale exhibitions featuring masterpieces of foreign and Chinese artists, including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Zhang Daqian, Dong Qichang and others.

In addition, lectures and forums on Western and contemporary art and on the art market will be organized.

“Our events in Shanghai go far beyond a beautifully curated auction which lends a fascinating dialogue between arts and culture of the world. So in addition to offering the gala auction, we are hoping to convene anyone who wishes to engage in the wider world of art and culture,” said Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Christie’s.

Among the 42 works that will be up for auction, Eastern and Western contemporary arts are expected to be the major draw. They include Zeng Fanzhi’s Bicycle as well as Andy Warhol’s glittering Diamond Dust Shoes from 1980-81.

“I am not sure Chinese buyers will embrace contemporary or modern art works like Picasso and Warhol’s and buy them. For most of the collectors here, they still cherish Renaissance art pieces,” said Karen Cai, CEO of an art consultant company.

Though art and antiques, as well as jewelry, are normally the favorite of Chinese collectors, Cai Jinqing, Christie’s China managing director, believes “more diversified art genres will be appreciated by the Chinese market.”

“Christie’s is an international auction house and this is our advantage to introduce more Western fine contemporary art to Chinese collectors.

“Also, we will arrange for lectures to let them feel its charm,” she said yesterday.



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