Auction houses welcome China's art collection market pilot reform

Xinhua
Major auction houses have welcomed China's move to allow more foreign investment into the art collection market in Shanghai, as part of a pilot reform.
Xinhua

Major auction houses have welcomed China's move to allow more foreign investment into the art collection market in Shanghai, as part of a pilot reform.

China on Tuesday launched comprehensive pilot reforms for the management of cultural relics owned by individuals in Shanghai, to encourage legal private collections and promote the development of the cultural relics market.

Guan Qiang, deputy head of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, said the country will explore pilot programs that allow foreign-invested auction houses in Shanghai to sell works by foreign artists who died after 1949 that were collected overseas, as part of a three-year pilot deal the administration signed with the municipal government.

These works were not permitted to be sold by foreign-invested auction houses under previous rules.

"For us, it is a zero-to-one breakthrough," said Julia Hu, General Manager of Christie's China, adding that the policy will allow works by masters such as Picasso, Chagall and Dali to be sold in Shanghai.

Rachel Shen, deputy chair of Sotheby's China, noted that the pilot policy has "increased Sotheby's confidence in investing in China, especially in Shanghai."

The moves are expected to make Shanghai a more open and culturally diverse international metropolis, she said.

Shanghai is one of China's major private collection markets. In 2019, the city held 171 auctions of art collections and cultural relics, with a total turnover of more than 5 billion yuan (US$736 million).

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