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Rare auction of affordable art

By Wang Jie (Shanghai Daily)

08:49, March 13, 2013

Affordable, quality artwork, both traditional and contemporary, will go under the hammer this weekend at the Rongbaozhai auction.

To encourage more bidding, many items will not have a minimum, floor price.

Rongbaozhai, one of the oldest art dealers and auction houses in China, is targeting ordinary buyers who love art but can't afford big-ticket items.

Nearly 1,000 works will go on sale, including traditional ink-wash paintings, calligraphy, jade and other items from ancient, modern and contemporary periods.

"Not each art lover is a rich collector, but their love or art is equal to that of collectors. This is good news for visitors to our auctions," says Zhen Qixin, one of the organizers.

"We have met many visitors who say that the price of art work today is beyond their reach, so we decided on this special auction," Zhen adds.

A floor price in the tens of thousands is too much for ordinary buyers, she says.

This is the first time the century-old auction house has decided to target a wide range of buyers.

"But don't underestimate the quality offered here. We have recently identified some overlooked, veteran artists with considerable skill," she says, citing Ye Qianyu (1907-1995). His "Tibetan Dancing Girl" will be one of the highlights.

Ye was a famous art educator and his subjects were dancers and actors. He was once the vice chairman of the Chinese Artists' Association, but due to his low profile and exposure, his works have been undervalued, Zhen says.

Date: March 14-15, 9am-7pm (preview); March 16-17, 9:30am (auction)

Venue: Ocean Hotel Shanghai, 1171 Dongdaming Rd

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