Grayson Perry's Walthamstow Tapestry acquired by prestigious Chinese gallery

Arts Correspondent

As the appetite for Western art grows among Chinese collectors, a prestigious institution has bought its first work by a living foreign artist; a work by a British national treasure and named after a district in east London.

The China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, which leads on questions of national cultural policy, has bought The Walthamstow Tapestry, a 2009 work by Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry.

One source said the Perry acquisition “is being interpreted as a green light for other national and municipal institutions to acquire work by international contemporary artists. The budget and interest is there, but it remains culturally and politically controversial."

This follows several weeks of auctions in New York that saw Chinese bidders shake up the market with a series of major acquisitions. Philip Hook, senior director of impressionist and modern art in London for Sotheby’s said: “We are seeing serious growth here and it will only increase.”

The news of the sale of Perry’s 15-metre tapestry – a satire on consumerism with the names of famous brand names woven into a journey of the seven ages of man – emerged from the Art Basel fair currently running in Hong Kong. The sale of the tapestry was arranged through the Victoria Miro gallery

The popularity of the 54-year-old crossdressing artist in Britain has risen over the past few years from fans of his art to those who saw his television programme In the Best Possible Taste and heard the Reith Lectures he delivered last year. Now that popularity is increasing in China as well.

'The Walthamstow Tapestry' by Grayson Perry on display inside the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, London 'The Walthamstow Tapestry' by Grayson Perry on display inside the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, London (Rex Features)
This comes in a week when Christie’s staged the most expensive auction in contemporary and post war art market history on Tuesday.

The total sales of $745 million (£444m) were driven by money from Asia with one US collector saying “they’re buying everything”. Money from the East also bolstered the sales at Sotheby’s the following day.

Until recently, Chinese collectors have concentrated on works by their countrymen, and only looked abroad to buy wine, jewellery and watches at auction.

Sotheby’s Mr Hook said in the past five years, buyers from mainland China, buying in areas outside Chinese art had risen by 54 per cent. “In our impressionist and modern sale last week it was very noticeable,” he added. A Matisse, Monet and Giacometti all went to Chinese buyers for prices ranging from $13 million and $19 million (£7.75m and £11.3m).

A report released by consultancy ArtPrice said the rise in millionaires in China had ensured buyers had “flocked to the art market to diversify their investments”.

The trend first sent domestic artist valuations soaring. Even two years ago, the contemporary art market, according to the report, saw Chinese buyers concentrate on works by their countrymen.

Yet it said at the time that the auction houses were “preparing the ground to open the Chinese market to European and American contemporary creations in the coming years”.

The appetite is already growing and Mr Hook said it had become particularly noticeable in the November auctions in New York and the February sales in London as well as those of the past fortnight.

Sotheby’s said in a recent report that while Asian buyers had been active in sales of Western contemporary art for some years “recently their activity has taken a huge leap forward: last year, they spent double what they spent on 2012”.

In November, Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, made a splash when he bought Picasso’s Claude and Paloma for $28 million (£16.7m), with Chinese buyers also securing works by Henry Moore and Vincent van Gogh.

Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette

film
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz