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

Nicola Foster


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.


Art Market, Collectors, Museums, M+

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