Chinese Auction Scafflaws

We have all heard of some of the issues the major auction houses have been having collecting payments on major purchases by Chinese buyers.  The Financial Times has a very interesting, although short article on Chinese collectors who are not paying auction houses and are failing to live up to contractual agreements for the purchase of art.  Sotheby's has started to name the bidders who have failed to pay. The art community loves gossip and scandal, so releasing names of those who fail to pay for purchases could have an impact.

The FT reports
Several cases of non-payment in recent years have involved Chinese buyers. In 2009, the winning bidder refused to pay $40m for two antique bronze animal heads at the Yves Saint Laurent sale.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s have both tried to discourage non-payment in Hong Kong by requiring bidders to put down deposits of HK$1m (US$129,000) before making offers for the more expensive pieces.

Two people, who both paid deposits, are now being sued by Sotheby’s, which has decided to publicise the writs.

Ma Dong, a man from the Daxing district in Beijing, won three paintings by bidding just under HK$50m in total on October 4 – including one by Zhang Daqian, one of the most respected 20th century Chinese artists. He has yet to pay for any of them, according to the auction house.

On October 3, Ren Chunxia, a woman with an address in Jinan, eastern China, won two oil paintings by the Chinese master Wu Guanzhong with bids of HK$18.6m and HK$26.4m respectively. These were paid for within the standard 30-day limit. However, she has yet to pay for a painting by the abstract artist Zao Wou-ki, which she bid HK$69m for on the same day. That price was a new auction record for the artist and nearly double the high-end of Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate.

Source: Financial Times

No comments: