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News: Who Are the Most Popular Living Chinese Artists?

Over the past decade, the Chinese art market has seen tremendous growth, expanding to a size where it has made a significant impact on the global art auction landscape.

In fact, the Chinese art market is the third largest in the world, making up 19 percent of global art sales, according to the 2016 TEFAF Art Market Report. And it’s not only Chinese domestic art sales that drive interest. The Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report, compiled by artnet and the China Association of Auctioneers (CAA), asserts that overseas sales of Chinese art has more than quadrupled since 2009.

Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi. Photo: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images.

At the heart of the surging interest in Chinese contemporary art is, of course, the artists themselves. The country’s artistic styles are as rich and varied as the culture from which they emerge; ranging from contemporary painting by the likes of star artists Zeng Fanzhi and Liu Wei to the traditional illustrations of the 92-year-old artist Huang Yongyu. There are also prominent absences, most notably artist and activist Ai Weiwei, whose notoriety and international popularity is not reflected in strong cumulative auction sales.

So who are the artists that are driving the Chinese art market? To find out, the artnet did a report on the Price Database to determine the top selling living Chinese artists, ranked by total auction sales volume.

Zeng Fanzhi, The Last Supper (2001) sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on October 5, 2013, for $23,269,070. Photo: artnet

Zeng Fanzhi

Total sales volume: $444,759,162

Cui Ruzhuo, The Grand Snowing Mountain (2013). Courtesy Poly Auction Company.

Cui Ruzhuo Total sales volume: $396,599,531

Zhang Xiaogang, Bloodline: Big Family No. 3 (1995) sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on April 5, 2014, for $12,144,809. Photo: artnet.

Zhou Chunya Total sales volume: $194,180,734

Zhou Chunya July. Photo: ChinaToday Gallery

Yue Minjun Total sales volume: $148,545,080

Yue Minjun Blue Sky and White Clouds (2013). Photo: Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris.

Liu Wei Total sales volume: $114,144,337

Liu Wei, The Revolutionary Family Series (triptych), 1994. The painting set an artist price record when it sold for $5 million at the Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Evening Sale in Hong Kong on April 3. Photo: courtesy Sotheby’s.

Liu Xiaodong Total sales volume: $111,698,788

Liu Xiaodong, Disobeying the Rules (1996) sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on Sunday, October 5, 2014, for $8,530,818. Photo: artnet.

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