2013 Spring auction totals 2.57 billion yuan

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A total of 2.571 billion yuan was realized in the first of this year's Spring Auctions at China Guardian on May 14. About 40 items broke the 10 million yuan barrier, three of which were sold above 50 million yuan.

"As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of China Guardian, we have received generous support from the collectors. The spring auctions realized 2.571 billion yuan, and the figure is much stronger than we previously expected," said Wang Yannan, president and director of China Guardian, "The sales were greeted with a fervent response from the buyers and the market reacted positively. The market is becoming more rational, which we think may bring more confidence to the Chinese art market."

Chinese Calligraphy and Paintings

Zhang Daqian's Lady Red Whisk

Traditional Chinese calligraphy and paintings remained dominant. "The department brought in up to 1.73 billion yuan and we are satisfied with the stronger-than-expected result. It may provide impetus to the entire art market and bolster the collectors' confidence. Also, we have seen many new buyers entering the market which is more rational now. The collectors have perfect judgment of the items and prices, and top quality items remain well received," said Guo Tong, general manager of the Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy Department.

The top lots in the highly anticipated evening auction were Zhang Daqian's Lady Red Whisk, which sold for 73.1 million yuan, and Mountainscape, a painting by the Qing Dynasty painter Gong Xian (1618-1689), which sold for 37.37 million yuan, the highest price ever for his work.

Works from private collections also performed well. A total of 16 paintings collected by modern Chinese literati Laoshe (1899–1966) and his wife Hu Xieqing (1905-2001) were sold 100 percent by lots, achieving 167.6 million yuan. Perhaps the evening's biggest success was Flowers and Insects by Qi Baishi (1864-1957), which sold for 18.4 million yuan.

In addition, sales of other private collections saw heavy interest among the collectors, achieving more than 100 million yuan. Items from the Genghuatang Collection, specially offered in celebration of the 20th anniversary of China Guardian, were sold 100 percent by lots, bringing in another 108 million yuan.

The North American Private Collection sale featuring classical pieces gained 148 million yuan, and the modern Chinese calligraphy and paintings sale acquired more than 100 million yuan. Notable results included Shen Shichong's Landscape (36.225 million yuan) and Road (12.07 million yuan) by Jiang Baolin.

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