In the latest sign that money is continuing to flow rapidly into the Chinese contemporary art market, a financial corporation has gone public with China's first openly traded art portfolio, on the Shenzhen Cultural Assets and Equity Exchange (SZCAEE).
Issued by the Shenzhen Artvip Cultural Corporation, the art portfolio comprises 12 paintings by contemporary artistYangPeijiang in the form of 1,000 shares, which sold out on the first day of trading, netting $354,480. As the artworks are traded by Artvip, which is managing the 12 works, profits are dispersed to shareholders.
Established in 2009 by the Chinese government, SZCAEE functions as an alternative platform for the trading of a wide range of cultural assets — including artworks, luxury goods, and films — as part of the Chinese government's attempt to commercialize, diversify, and regulate the public exchange of such cultural properties. SZCAEE plans to offer a second 1000-share portfolio, featuring 40 works by Yang Peijiang, sometime in the future.
Companies packaging art as an alternative-investment vehicle have struggled over the past year. In December 2009, Artistic Investment Advisers, a London-based group established in 2007 that billed itself as the world's first "art hedge fund," closed. At the time, the consulting group Fine Art Wealth Management estimated that the number of global art funds had declined by 40 percent since the September 2009 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.