The market for Impressionist and contemporary western art is no longer dominated by Europeans and Americans as the number of Asian buyers has grown substantially over the past decade, according to Sotheby's. Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby's Asia, said the presence of buyers from Hong Kong, the mainland, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore was increasingly being felt in bidding wars for top-end pieces. For example, when Water Lilies by Monet sold for #18.5 million (HK$290 million) in London in June, the buyer was an Asian Chinese, she said. 'Because there are more buyers and because of the rarity, it is very difficult to get hold of masterpieces. So, prices continue to go up,' said Ms Wong, who is in charge of an exhibition of 40 works at the Convention and Exhibition Centre this week. The works will be auctioned in New York next month. 'We sold a Cezanne watercolour last year for US$27 million, and it was the best of his watercolours. That piece was sold in 1989 for around US$4 million.' Matthew Weigman, worldwide director of sales publicity, said: 'Ten years ago, there would just be Europeans and Americans competing for these works. Now you have competitors from Russia, Asia, and every corner of the world.' Mr Weigman said a Van Gogh landscape similar to The Fields, another piece showcased in this week's exhibition, sold for about US$10 million in 1985. The piece now in Hong Kong is estimated to sell for US$28 million to US$35 million.