A painting by modern Chinese artist Huang Zhou was sold on Monday night at a Beijing auction for 128.8 million yuan (21 million U.S. dollars).
Gaiety in the Grassland, an ink and color masterpiece measuring 360 cm by 142 cm, started the auction with a price of 13 million yuan at 7:45 p.m. on Monday at the Poly Auction House.
It increased to 112 million yuan with 35 rounds of bidding within eight minutes. Adding the commission, the knockdown price was 128.8 million yuan.
More than 60 buyers expressed intent to purchase the painting, and the high transaction price shows the Chinese art market is warming up, said Zhao Xu, executive director of the Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.
Gaiety in the Grassland, which depicts a horse wrestling in the far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was painted by Huang in 1981 when he was 56. He passed away in 1997.
Chinese modern and contemporary paintings have become new favorites for global art investors in recent years. Auctioned in October at Hong Kong Sotheby's, a painting by Chinese contemporary artist Zeng Fanzhi went for 23.2 million U.S. dollars.