The three-floor building on Jinbao Street, in the historical Dongchen District of the capital, comprises 8600 square foot of exhibition and office space.
It was unveiled on October 15 and opened with an exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
Christie’s first established a representative office in China in 1994 and the firm has since opened premises in Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2014 Christie’s became the first international fine art auction company to win a licence to operate independently in mainland China when it began auctions in Shanghai.
The opening followed the Pinault family, owners of Christie’s, handing back two Qianlong bronzes to China that had caused upset when offered for sale in Paris four years earlier. The two animal heads, a rat and a rabbit, from the Haiyantang Zodiac water clock at the Old Summer Palace, were returned to Beijing.
The major auction houses are keen to grow their presence in China in the face of local competition from Poly International Auction and China Guardian Auctions.
Patricia Barbizet, chief executive of Christie’s said: “Christie’s continues to grow and invest in China. We look forward to further exchanges with the art community and contributing to the diversified Chinese cultural landscape.”
The first exhibition at Christie’s new Beijing premises is designed to explore the influence of Picasso on Chinese artists. They will also be showing works by the likes of Max Ernst, Fernando Botero, Sanyu, Chu Teh- Chun and Zeng Fanzhi.
Earlier this year the largest shareholder in China Guardian Auctions became the largest single shareholder in Sotheby’s. Cheng Dongshen, chairman and chief executive of Taikang Life Insurance, purchased $230m or 8m Sotheby’s shares in June and July, taking him to a 13.5% stake.