How to Sell Your Chinese Painting with Sotheby's

Chinese Paintings Consigned with Sotheby's

Get Started with an Estimate

Get Started with an Estimate

Wonder how much your classical or modern Chinese painting might be worth and how to sell it? Simply follow the steps below and Sotheby's will recommend the best approach for selling your item.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much is my Chinese painting worth?
    Chinese paintings from the 12th century to the 20th century can range in value based on the provenance, condition, rarity and artist. As the market leader for fine and rare Chinese paintings and calligraphy, Sotheby's specialists are highly qualified to help you determine the market value of your artwork. Simply submit your painting details online and our specialists can provide you with a complimentary estimate. Please note that we cannot provide auction estimates for items valued at less than 5,000 USD, 3,000 GBP, or 40,000 HKD.
  • When do Sotheby's auctions of Chinese art occur?
    Sotheby's hosts auctions of Chinese art in New York during March and September, as well as in Hong Kong during April and October. Occasional sales also take place at Sotheby's Paris. Regardless of the time of year, Sotheby's specialists are always ready to help you determine the value of your Chinese art and recommend the best strategy to sell artwork or consign an art collection. Find out more about upcoming auctions here .
  • What do classical Chinese paintings represent?
    In traditional Chinese painting, the elements of nature play a leading role. For example, the orchid is a symbol of loyalty and virtue; fiercely brushed dragons signify power and prosperity; and gnarled pine trees are indicative of the indomitable spirit of survival and longevity. Other recurring motifs in Chinese paintings are mountains. China has a time-honored pictorial tradition of depicting the immortal world. Sacred mountains, inspired by Daoist lore, often lie at the center of such artistic expressions. Many scholars believe that the Chinese character for immortals, xian, in its different variations, is etymologically related to mountains. With their imposing peaks, mysterious caves and winding pilgrimage roads, mountains were the focal point of cult worships even before the formation of religious Daoism. As a space inhabited by the revered immortals and shrouded by mystical clouds, mountains remain the most important sacred home to Daoist temples and retreats, as well as the home to magical herbs and fungi that provide for healing and longevity.
  • Who are the top-selling modern Chinese painters?
    In the 20th century, the Chinese artistic milieu entered a new epoch. At the watershed between preeminence of traditional painting and influx of western culture, artists were divided into preserving convention and propelling the transformation of traditional ink painting. Modern Chinese painting is therefore characterized by an unprecedented diversity of style and substance. Many of the best-selling modern Chinese artists embraced this change, propelling their works to new heights. A few of these artists include Zhang Daqian, Fu Baoshi, Jiang Zhaohe, Yu Fei'an, Xu Beihong, Wu Guanzhong, Li Keran, Lu Yanshao, Zhu Qizhan, and Lin Fengmian.
  • Will Sotheby's buy my Chinese painting directly?
    Sellers can consign their paintings to be sold at auction or privately with Sotheby's, but we do not purchase art directly from clients. While our primary auctions occur four times a year in New York and Hong Kong, we have live and online sales happening throughout the year. Once you submit your painting details online, our specialists can discuss the best selling options with you.

More information on how to sell with Sotheby's

Sotheby’s is your best resource to sell Chinese Paintings from the 12th to the 20th centuries, including a calligraphy couplet, poetry, poem, song or letter on fine paper, scroll or fan. In particular demand are the works by top artists such as Su Shi, Zhang Wenjing, Zhang Yu, Zhang Bi, Zhu Yunming, Tang Yin, Wen Zhengming, Chen Chun, Sun Kehong, Dong Qichang, Zhang Ruitu, Wang Duo, Wang Shimin, Chen Hongshou, Zhu Da (Bada Shanren), Wang Hui, Yung Shouping, Shitao (Yuanji), Zheng Xie, Qian Weicheng, Lu Zhi, Yuan Yao, Yi Bingshou, and Weng Tonghe, Huang Binhong, Qi Baishi, Yu Fei'an, Zhu Qizhan, Wu Hufan, Xu Beihong, Pan Tianshou, Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-chien), Lin Fengmian, Jiang Zhaohe, Li Keran, Lu Yanshao, Xie Zhiliu, Wu Guanzhong, and Chen Peiqui.