The third biggest French auction house, Artcurial, which is backed by the arms and aeronautics group Dassault, is opening a saleroom in Shanghai.
Artcurial China is a joint initiative between the French firm and media entrepreneur Bruno Wu, who forms one of China's leading "power couples" with his wife Yang Lan, an influential TV personality.The Shanghai firm will follow the Paris model, with a bookshop and lecture programme as well as sales. Its first sale in China will be held in January 2008 and will include Chen Yifei's Artist with Beauties, 1999, (est E1.5m-E2m, $2.1m-$2.8m).
Artcurial had a stand at the September ShContemporary fair in Shanghai, where it also displayed works coming up for sale in its Parisian saleroom. "Mainland China could become the fourth biggest market for art in a few years' time, after New York, London and Paris. And beyond China itself, the whole of the surrounding region might start meeting in Shanghai twice a year," Nicolas Orlowski, chairman of the firm, told The Art Newspaper. Last year Artcurial reported a 29% increase in sales to E100.5m ($130.7m); it groups a number of French auctioneers.
A recent recruit is François Tajan, but the popular Rémi Le Fur left Artcurial earlier this year. Mr Le Fur is thought to be destined for Christie's but no announcement has yet been made.
By Georgina Adam