A Painting by Chen Yifei sold for 6.1 million yuan (US$755,000) at auction yesterday, setting a record for the most ever paid for one of the late artist's work in China.
The painting, featuring a southern Chinese canal town bathed in the dawn light, was one of 300 paintings sold at an auction at the Hilton Hotel yesterday.
Chen, an artist turned tycoon, died from liver failure on April 10 of this year. He was 59. The price of his works has climbed sharply in recent months.
"One of Chen's portrait paintings sold for 5 million yuan at our auction this June," said Zhu Yun, a spokeswomen of Chongyuan Auction House. "Today's result is not a surprise. We believe there is still potential for the value of Chen's paintings to rise."
Zhu said the art market has become very attractive to investors who are bearish on the stock and property markets in the city.
With the sharp rise in prices of traditional ink-wash paintings, art investors are now focusing on Chinese oil paintings.
"I am here to see whether there is some investment opportunities," said a middle-aged woman who refused to be identified at yesterday's auction.
Lu Jieming, a guest professor at China's Central Academy of Fine Art, reminded investors to take heed.
"It's important to be familiar with the style of a particular artist," he said. "You need to do a systematic study instead of just looking at one or two paintings, then you are able to make a correct judgment."
(Shanghai Daily December 8, 2005)