Hurun Art List: Cui Ruzhuo Is the Most Expensive Living Chinese Artist at Auction

Cui Ruzhuo, Snowy Mountain. Photo: Poly Auction

Cui Ruzhuo, Zeng Fanzhi, and Fan Zeng are the best-selling contemporary Chinese artists according to the Hurun Art List 2015, released on March 18 in Beijing.

The annual “rich list” of 100 most expensive Chinese artists is based on sales of works at public auctions in 2014, and is compiled by publishing company Hurun Report in association with Artron.

Beijing-born ink painter Cui has toppled last year’s most expensive artist, oil painter Zeng, from the top of the list. His sales at auction reached $77 million in 2014, with Landscape in Snow (2006) fetching $23.7 million at a Poly Auction sale in April.

In the same auction event, Cui’s Snowy Mountain (2012) went missing after the hammer went down on it for $3.7 million. It was later discovered that the painting was accidentally thrown in the trash by cleaners at the Hong Kong auction venue.

Meanwhile, Zeng’s sales fell by 42 percent to $48 million, and Fan Zeng reach $44 million.

However, the Hurun report says total sales of Chinese contemporary artists at auction actually fell by 7 percent to $1.1 billion. Founder of Hurun, Rupert Hoogewerf, says it is a reflection of the double whammy of a government crackdown on corruption and ostentatious spending, as well as the maturing tastes of Chinese collectors who are showing an interest beyond the obvious big-ticket works.

Ink artists are also on the rise. This year’s list of 100 artists includes 74 ink artists, five more than last year and 17 more than three years ago.

China has become the largest art auction market in the world, making up 37.2% of the world’s art sales volume, followed by the US with 32.1% and UK with 18.9%, according to a report released by Artron and Artprice.

For more coverage on the Chinese art market see:

Chinese Art Market Rebounds to $8.5 Billion in 2013

Christie’s China President Jinqing Caroline Cai on the Country’s Maturing Market

Who Will Be the Star Artists of the Fall Auction Season in China?


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