A Modern History of China's Art Market  book cover
1st Edition

A Modern History of China's Art Market

  • Available for pre-order on April 14, 2023. Item will ship after May 5, 2023
ISBN 9781032287973
May 5, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages 15 Color & 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This is the first English-language account of the modern history of China’s art market that explains the radical transformations from the end of the Cultural Revolution, when a market for art and artifacts did not exist, to today.

The book is divided into three sections: Part I examines how the art market in China was suspended during the Cultural Revolution, restarted, grew, and expanded into its current scale. Part II analyzes the distinctive value system of the Chinese art market where the state-run art system including academies, artist associations and museums co-exist with an independent market-oriented system; and traverses the most significant policies that drive decision making and market structure. Part III explores the driving force of art creation by telling the stories of five contemporary artists across three generations.

Arts and culture professionals, scholars, and students interested in Chinese art, global art markets, Chinese government policy, and China will find this to be a valuable resource.

Table of Contents

Preface & Acknowledgements  Acronyms & Names  Part I: China’s Art Market: A Modern History  1. The Origin of China’s Art Market  2. Auction Houses, Galleries, Art Fairs and Private Museums  3. Expectations for the Market  Part II: The State and its Art System  4.The Paradox of Two Parallel Art Systems  5.The Role of Arts and Culture in Today’s China  6.The Infrastructure of the State Art System and the Party’s Strategic Plan  Part III: Independent Artists Finding Creative Space  7. Beijing, CAFA and Societal Energy  8.Shanghai, Buddhist Practice, and the Post-Apocalyptic Digital World  9. Hong Kong, Plants and Ten Thousand Things

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Kejia Wu is a columnist for the Financial Times Chinese Edition and a trustee of the New York Studio School. She authored The European Fine Art Foundation’s China Art Market Report and was awarded Art Market Observer of Year by ArtReview Asia, LEAP, and The Art Newspaper China Edition. Previously, she was a member of the faculty at Claremont Graduate University and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and oversaw Asia projects and strategy at Sotheby’s in the Office of the CEO. Kejia is a graduate of Yale University and Renmin University.


There is much to be learned from this fascinating volume on the history and economics of the art market in the People’s Republic, so radically affected by political events of the last seventy years. Readers interested in the restitution of looted works of art will discover a relatively unknown seam of material on the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, enriched by Kejia Wu’s inclusion of personal recollections and experiences of those involved.

---- Derek Gillman, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Executive Director, University Collections and Exhibitions, Drexel University, former Director of the Barnes Foundation


It is rare to find a book that embeds art into the broader political events and economic transformation of a nation. Kejia Wu’s perspective is unique – she was part of the re-emergence of contemporary art in China, and the re-integration of China into the global art world and market, and has remained an authoritative commentator and analyst about the art and markets of China. Her stories are fascinating, the writing is engaging and the tale she tells is an important, one about the role of art, and arts institutions in the modern world.

---- William N. Goetzmann, Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies Yale School of Management