Asian buying leads global sales for the first time, said auction house Christie's

Art sales at Christie's in the first half of 2017 was £2.35 billion (S$4.22 billion), with Asia-based buyers accounting for 35 per cent of sales.
Art sales at Christie's in the first half of 2017 was £2.35 billion (S$4.22 billion), with Asia-based buyers accounting for 35 per cent of sales.PHOTO: AFP/EUGENE DELACROIX

SINGAPORE - Asia-based art buyers led global sales for the first time in the first half of this year, said auction house Christie's on Tuesday (Oct 17), surpassing sales in other regions such as America and Europe.

Art sales at Christie's in the first half of 2017 was £2.35 billion (S$4.22 billion), with Asia-based buyers - from places such as Taipei and Hong Kong - accounting for 35 per cent of sales.

China continues to be the biggest source of new buyers in Asia, said Christie's.

Mr Ben Clark, deputy chairman of Christie's Asia said Asia-based collectors are putting their money into all categories of art from paintings to jewellery, with many focusing their collections on western art from the 20th century, which would include works such as those by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

"These are known quantities, there is a lot of accessible literature and authenticity is not a problem for many of these artists," he said.

When it comes to South-east Asian art, including works from Singapore, Mr Clark said collectors are predominantly based in the region, but he hopes to see more globalised demand in the next five years.

"I believe there is enough interest from key markets, the quality of the art is there and the price point is still relatively modest," he said.