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Young collectors paint rosy picture for art market

Updated: 2021-11-30 14:05 ( China Daily )
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Oranges in front of the San Gabriels by Hilary Pecis.[Photo provided to China Daily]


Visitors tested

Strict COVID-19 protocols failed to deter enthusiastic art lovers from lining up patiently for admission to Shanghai's two biggest art fairs of the year. Visitors had to take a nucleic acid test and present their medical record for the past 48 hours, together with green QR codes and travel documents before being allowed to enter.

Young and wealthy art lovers sporting designer clothing and accessories flocked to both events, undeterred by the pandemic.

Zhang Zikang, director of the Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, said, "New art buyers in China will now run to see an exhibition, and fight for their favorite artwork."

At ART021, a gallery representative said the numerous red dot stickers attached to tags on the artworks signified that more than one client had expressed a strong intention to buy the item.

"There is a waiting list for some popular paintings," said the representative, who declined to reveal his name or the institution he works for. "We usually promise to reserve a piece by the end of the day. If a potential buyer has not made up his or her mind by then, we contact the second and third names on the list."

Another art industry insider, who also asked to remain anonymous, said that 400 names were on the waiting list for the most popular artwork.

Zhang said the emergence of a new group of young art collectors in China is "an inevitable phenomenon".

He added that as society and the economy have developed in China, many young people-often the wealthy offspring of Chinese entrepreneurs-are studying overseas. Visiting museums has become a habit for them.

These young people have international vision and a deep understanding of contemporary art and culture, while their parents, even if they are interested in art, do not have such an incisive view of this market, Zhang said. This has given the younger generation great confidence in assessing the value of art, and they are "able to close a deal with rapid decision-making."

Bao Yifeng, co-founder of ART021 and a series of other fairs, such as JINGART in Beijing and DnA SHENZHEN in Guangdong province, said gallery operators are also starting at a younger age.

"I've met with such owners born after 1990, and they represent young artists who have just graduated from universities. Some of them also have other family members working in the art trade," Bao said.

Some young buyers visit art fairs with their father, whose job is to pay the bill, Bao added.

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