The Art Market and Politics: The Case of the Sigg Collection




Art Market, Collectors, Museums, M


On 13 June 2012 the Swiss collector Uli Sigg donated his collection of contemporary Chinese art to the new museum of visual art in Hong Kong: M+. In August 2012 Artprice published its report on contemporary art for July 2011 to June 2012 announcing that five out of the ten contemporary artists fetching highest prices at auction, were Chinese. On 29 November 2012 Xi Jinping delivered his first speech after taking office in which he set out his vision for China. This paper argues that in order to understand the Chinese art market and the political context in which it operates it helps to look at three events which took place in 2012 and their context. Art, the art market and politics are closely interconnected here. The case study of M+ and its foundational donation, the Sigg collection of “contemporary Chinese art”, helps to elucidate the relationships and the astonishing developments of the art market in China and Hong Kong during this time.

Author Biography

Nicola Foster, Solent University, Southampton

Nicola Foster is currently a Senior Research Fellow in visual art at Southampton Solent University where she is supervising PhD students. She has edited a book on Feminist Aesthetics, she was on the editorial board of Women's Philosophy Review and JAR. She published several book chapters and journal articles on contemporary art, aesthetics, and art institutions. She is currently working on a publications on Asian women artists, Chinese contemporary art and contemporary art institutions, including global Biennials. She is particularly interested in the exchanges between cultures and how such exchanges manifest themselves in the objects and artworks.


Oscar Ho Hing-Kay's, 'Government, Business, and the People: Museum Development in Asia'. In Belting, H. and Buddensieg, A. (eds.) (2009) The Global Art World: Audiences, Markets, and Museums, ZKM publications

Oscar Ho's chapter 'Under the Shadow: Problems in Museum Development in Asia', in Antoinette, M. and Turner, C (2014) Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions, ANU Press Canberra AUS.

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Richard Krauss (2004), The Party and the Arty in China, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing

Krauss, R. 'When Legitimacy Resides in Beautiful Objects' in Gries and Rosen (2004) State and Society in 21st Century China. Routledge




How to Cite

Foster, N. (2019). The Art Market and Politics: The Case of the Sigg Collection. Journal for Art Market Studies, 3(1).