When I purchased early eighteenth century tea wares from a ship cargo seven years ago in Amsterdam, they cost much more than anyone would have predicted. As an absentee bidder, I didn’t know whom I was bidding against. When I enquired, I was told the individual was Russian.
More recently, I sold a late sixteenth/early seventeenth century Chinese lacquer box, not at the highest possible price that I hoped, but still a respectable one. The buyer, I believe, was Chinese. Other nationalities, too, are beginning to buy art in increasing numbers.
Some of what they are purchasing was originally their own and lost through colonization — the necessity to sell because of desperate times or due to being physically forced to give up their treasures. Other pieces currently being acquired by these individuals just entering the art market are newly made rather than old.
In an article in Spear’s Magazine last year by Ivan Lindsay, Steven Murphy, CEO of Christie’s International said, “Twenty-five per cent of our buyers last year were new to Christie’s…”
Who they may have been was clarified by the results of the Sotheby’s Old Masters Sale in London July 3, 2013. Top lots were purchased by Chinese, Russian and Indian nationals. All three countries are considered emerging economies compared to the United States.