Friday, 18 April 2014

Art market reports record high turnover in 2012

ČTK |
2 January 2013

Prague, Dec 31 (CTK) - The art market in the Czech Republic registered record high sales in 2012, Marcela Chmelarova, editor-in-chief of the Artplus.cz portal, has told CTK.

"We are still processing the overall statistics but it is clear that in 2012 collectors and investors spent more at auctions than in any other previous year," Chmelarova said.

In 2012, record high prices were paid at Czech auctions for works by Czech-born artists Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957) and Emil Filla (1882-1953) and for Chinese art.

Collectors spent a total of 200 million crowns for the ten most expensive works of art at Czech auctions in 2012, while the year before the sum was less than 100 million.

The most expensive painting was The Shape of Blue by Kupka from 1913. It was sold to a Russian-speaking collector for 55.75 million crowns in Prague in April, which is a record high auction price paid for a Czech work of art not only in the Czech Republic but also in the world. Including the auction surcharge, the painting cost 57.42 million crowns.

"The new owner gained the painting for an equivalent of almost 1.9 million pounds, which is 300,000 more than the previous record of a Kupka painting scored a year ago. Nevertheless, The Shape of Blue is a much more significant work of art," Art+Antiques magazine editor-in-chief Jan Skrivanek said.

Another two paintings by Kupka are in the top ten of the most expensive artifacts auctioned off in the past year: Apotheosis of Helene 1906 and O Smile from 1933-1951.

The former painting can be now seen at the exhibition showing his path to abstract painting at the beginning of the 20th century that is held on the National Gallery's premises in the reconstructed Classicist Salma Palace, near Prague Castle until March 3, 2013.

Another artist whose works are usually sold for high prices in the Czech Republic is Filla.

According to the Artplus.cz statistics, 14 artifacts by Filla were sold at auctions for over one million crowns each in 2012.

"Filla is considered a sure investment and it is interesting not only for traditional collectors but also for people who are buying art only within the diversification of their investment portfolio," Chmelarova said.

Besides, more and more collectors are interested in Chinese, and generally Asian, art at Czech auctions.

Two Chinese artifacts are also listed in the top ten at Czech auctions in 2012.

One of them was a painting by modern Chinese artist Qi Baishi sold for 7.5 million crowns. His work appeared among the ten most expensive artifacts sold at Czech auctions in 2011 as well.

In November, a statue from the Ming dynasty in China, probably from the mid-15th century, was auctioned off for 16.2 million crowns in Brno. A collector paid over 19 million crowns, including the commission for the auction house, for it, while the starting price was under one million crowns.

The prices of Chinese art have considerably increased in the past three years.

At an auction organised by the Arcimboldo gallery, Chinese artifacts were sold for over 65 million crowns in total in December.

Thanks to very intense relations between the then communist Czechoslovakia and the People's Republic of China in the 1950s, a number of high-quality Chinese artifacts have been preserved at Czech galleries.

The National Gallery was also buying Asian art. Experts consider its collection of modern Chinese ink drawings (NG) one of the most significant outside China.

($1=19.072 crowns)

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