Christie's opens Chinese flagship in Beijing

Updated: 2016-10-15 13:26

By Zheng Xin(

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Christie's has opened its new central Beijing flagship, together with an exhibition on Pablo Picasso and other Chinese artists, amid a continued expansion in China.

The flagship location, Christie's second venue in China after its Shanghai branch that opened in 2014, opened today and will serve as an auction house's offices, as well as a multifunctional and interactive venue for exhibitions, art forums, lectures and other activities, the company says.

"We are proud to have found Christie's a new home in Beijing, a city that is characterized by its tremendous cultural heritage and a profound collecting tradition," said Patricia Barbizet, Chief Executive of Christie's.

"Christie's continues to grow and invest in China and our new Beijing space marks an important milestone during our 250 year mission to connect art and collectors."

"We look forward to further exchanges with the art community and contributing to the diversified Chinese cultural landscape," Barbizet said.

According to Rebecca Wei, Christie's Asia president, Christie's scope of sales in China is being limited to post 1949 work, while the company is trying to bring more Western art into the country.

Operating in the Chinese capital is beneficial to the auction house because the city is the center of the auction industry in China, she said.

China's second tier cities, such as Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Fuzhou and Chengdu, are also attractive possibilities for further expansions in the coming years, according to Wei.

Jinqing Cai, chairman of Christie's China, said the company hoped the space would become an integral part of Beijing's rich cultural heritage and diverse art community.

In addition to the special exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso, the space also showcased works by other leading pioneers on Saturday, including Max Ernst, Fernando Botero, Sanyu, Chu Teh-Chun and Zeng Fanzhi.

The 800sqm, three-story flagship in the Chinese capital has replaced Christie's offices in the former CITIC Building, where it had operated since 1996.

Located at 82 Jinbao Jie, 1.8km east of the Beijing Palace Museum, and situated between the upscale Jinbao Mall and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Beijing, the new place is built in a classical style among the district with a history dating back 100 years.

Despite the fact that the value of China's domestic art market fell 23 percent in 2015 to around $11.8 billion, with art sales falling 7 percent worldwide, according to the 2016 TEFAF Art Market Report published by the Dublin-based research and consulting firm Arts Economics, the country has nonetheless experienced robust growth so far this year.

According to, through the first two quarters of the year, China has surpassed the United States in auction turnover, rising to the top of the art auction market, and this Chinese expansion demonstrates a commitment to the region's growing collector base.

The result is impressive particularly given the turbulent economic climate in China, and Christie's new base is a demonstration that the auction house is hoping to further cultivate the wealthy collector base present in the country, which is driving the art market's growth.