[Sotheby's CEO William] Ruprecht noted that the acquisition of art tends to rapidly follow the creation of wealth. Four years ago, the United States became a net seller of art for the first time in one hundred years. Europe has become the biggest seller in the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese market has exploded. Four years ago, only 4% of Sotheby's sales were in China. So far this year, that number is 35%; China has become the largest art market in the world. "This is the most dramatic shift in demographic consumption in the last 270 years," Ruprecht said. "It's bigger by far than the early 20th century, when the so-called robber barons in the United States began to wish to replicate what they saw on their grand tours of English country houses or grand European collections."
--Yale SOM News on shifting economic mass