One of the more interesting indicators of the Chinese economy’s relative state of health is the art market. And the recent Sotheby’s spring sales – held in Hong Kong – offered some welcome signs. In last autumn’s auction – when the world economy was less concerned about art than survival – more than a third of the exhibits went unsold. But on the latest occasion Lin Fengmian’s Fishing Harvest sold for $2.1 million, while a quartet of his Chinese opera figures fetched $3.1 million. Zhu Yuanzhi’s Last Supper also sold for a record $770,000. More than three quarters of the lots sold went for more than their pre-sale estimate (although some lesser works didn’t meet their reserve). “A lot of people were bidding like crazy,” says veteran dealer, Hugh Moss. “It goes against all recent trends.”
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