Top 10 in Taiwan


It’s Top 10 Friday! Every other Friday Artprice posts a theme-based auction ranking. This week we take a look at Taiwan’s Top 10 Fine Art auction results over the past year.

A one-hour flight from Hong Kong, the island of Taiwan enjoys a dynamic art market driven by strong sales companies, major local collectors and as well as Chinese buyers. The diversity of the works in this Top reflects both the high standards and the openness of Taiwanese collectors, known for their involvement and their knowledge of the arts.

Rank Artist Hammer Price ($) Artwork Sale
1 ZAO Wou-Ki (1921-2013) 6 776 200 « 5.11.62 » 03/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
2 ZAO Wou-Ki (1921-2013) 3 983 905 « 09.07.73 » 03/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
3 CHU Teh-Chun (1920-2014) 3 615 000 Emanations of Spring
03/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
4 LIN Richard (1933-2011) 3 615 000 12.Dec.59 10/06/2018 Zhong Cheng Auctions Co.Ltd Taipei
5 Yoshitomo NARA (1959) 2 535 000 Music box 10/06/2018 Zhong Cheng Auctions Co.Ltd Taipei
6 Yayoi KUSAMA (1929) 2 416 278 Pumpkin (南瓜) 03/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
7 ZHOU Chunya (1955) 2 415 000 Green Dog No.1 10/06/2018 Zhong Cheng Auctions Co.Ltd Taipei
8 Tony CRAGG (1949) 2 178 547 McCormack (麥可馬克) 02/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
9 Yoshitomo NARA (1959) 1 932 500 Monkey Baby Go-Go (小猴仔加油) 03/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
10 ZHOU Chunya (1955) 1 890 720 Taihu Stone (太湖石) 03/06/2018 Ravenel International Art Group Taipei
copyright © 2018

Taiwan’s share of the global art market

The Taiwanese art market is by no means insignificant in the auction world: generating over $25.5 million from 493 artworks sold in the first half of 2018, Taiwan is the 16th most dynamic city in the world behind Seoul and Berlin. Its market is driven by two local sales companies based in Taipei, Ravenel International and Zhong Cheng Auctions, both offering a majority of Asian works, but with a progressive introduction of Western artists into their catalogues. For example, the British sculptor, Tony Cragg, generated the island’s eighth best result at over $440,000. In Taiwan, as in the rest of China, art and investment go hand in hand. With outlets in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, the powerful auctioneer Ravenel International not only advises Asian private collectors, it also works with art foundations and art investment funds. In fact Ravenel has made art investment advice one of its primary specialty services… a key service for the development of the high-end art market.

Major Collectors

Several Taiwanese collectors are among the most active on the planet. Pierre Chen, the billionaire founder of the electronics company Yageo is probably the most famous. Very active at Taiwanese auctions, Pierre Chen owns a number of major works by Western Contemporary artists as essential as Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Peter Doig and Cy Twombly. However, unlike some of his compatriots, his acquisitions fuel the major international marketplaces like New York more than the Taiwanese domestic market. This is not the case for the others who are known as much for their professional success as for their art collections. They include Maggie Tsai, president of the Fubon Art Foundation of Taipei, and Barry Lam who has more than 2,000 works and regularly spends millions on Chinese artists like Zhang Daqian. There is also Chiu Tsai-hing, who has been building his vast collection with works by Chinese artists and has more than 500 works by Taiwanese Contemporary artists.

The trends

There are no Taiwanese artists in this ranking; in fact there are no Taiwanese artists at the high end of Taiwan’s market which is dominated by internationally famous Chinese Contemporary artists (Lin Richard and Zhou Chunya), Franco-Chinese artists (Zao Wou ki and Chu Teh Chun) and Japanese artists (Yoshitomo Nara and Yayoi Kusama). Indeed, the Taiwanese art market reflects exactly the same major trends observed in Hong Kong… but with additional vigour.

The Taiwanese art market is therefore by no means timid… and it is carving out a significant market share on these major signatures. Take Yoshimoto Nara for example: his performances recorded in Taipei over the past year and a half (since the beginning of 2017) are stronger in volume terms than those recorded in London. Taiwan now accounts for 8% of Nara’s auction turnover, compared with 6% in the UK and 11% in Japan. Likewise with Zao Wou Ki and Chu Teh Chun. Taiwan now accounts for 4.4% (since 2017) of the Wou Ki’s global auction turnover, the same proportion as mainland China, and 11% of Chu Teh Chun’s global turnover versus 8% in France.

Driven by the biggest collectors in Hong Kong and mainland China and by strong domestic demand, Taiwan has carved out a powerful spot on the high-end art market’s global stage.