What a difference a year makes!
Buyers brought their wallets to the Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong Monday, shelling out plenty of cash for pieces by Chinese masters. Sanyu's "Lotus et Poissons Rouge" fetched $4.7 million – beating the presale estimate soundly. But, the price was still considered low for Sanyu. In fact, the success of the auction is tainted by the fact that estimates aren't reflective of past sales levels. A painting by abstract artist Zao Wou-ki pulled in $2 million for the house.
Of course, there was plenty of optimism, fostered by both the performance relative to estimates and a burning desire to be out of the art market slump. Hua Yuzhou, who owns a gallery in Shanghai, says in Bloomberg News, "Give it a few months and these pieces may run beyond our reach again."