• The most expensive art pieces in the world are auctioned at Christie's.

The most expensive art pieces in the world are auctioned at Christie's. (Photo : Getty Images)

Art lovers in China are the still the biggest buyers of art, but the global art market is falling sharply, according to Artprice, the biggest database for art.

Global auctions only sold half of the total quantity of high-value pieces which totaled to $12.5 billion last year. The rate decreased by 22 percent.

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Artprice CEO Thierry Ehrmann said, "On all continents, sellers are choosing a policy of wait-and-see.”

The most expensive pieces sold last year were the Impressionist painting of a haystack by Claude Monet, "Meule" that was bought for $81.4 million and Peter Paul Rubens masterpiece "Lot and his Daughters," which was sold for $58.1 million.

They were all auctioned at Christie’s.

Chinese art buyers were still the top clients and made the most purchases. They have been in the top spot for the past five years.

For Chinese art, the most sought after the classical calligraphy pieces. The scroll painting, "Five Drunken Kings Return on Horses," by early 14th-century Chinese artist Ren Renfa, was sold for $45.89 million.

A new generation of art buyers is emerging from China and they are aggressively on the watch.

One of them is Leo Xu, a dealer from Shanghai, who observed that there are people who are just a bit younger than him who are already investing in art.

“Some of the younger generation started with their family, immersed in art from a young age. Some started with Chinese ink painting. Some studied abroad and have seen modern art from all over the world,” he says.

Chong Zhou is only 25 but already has 100 pieces in his collection. His parents run a large pharmaceutical company and he has a degree in art history.

He prefers art by younger artists such as Qiu Xiaofei, Sun Xun, and Shi Zhiying, which he puts on rotating shows in his Shanghai restaurant.