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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Archive for the ‘Market watch’ Category

Artnet chooses Hong Kong as debut venue for new venture – Art Radar scoop interview

Posted by artradar on October 10, 2010


ART PRICE DATABASE DEALER NEWS

Artnet group, the leading art price database and online art auction company has chosen the year 2010 to branch out into a brand new venture: art dealing. And it chose a surprising venue for its debut.

 

Artnet booth at Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair 2010

Artnet booth at Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair 2010.

 

In a brief chat with Max Wolf, Modern and Contemporary Specialist in the Artnet booth at Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair 2010, Art Radar learned more about the ambitious plans Artnet has to break into high-priced art dealing and what has surprised the Artnet representatives about the collectors they have met on their first visit to Hong Kong.

Most people know you from your Price Database but this is a new venture?

It has spawned from our online auctions. We found a need to extend from our private treaties with dealers and collectors and a lot of the galleries on our website who perhaps don’t want to sell the work on the website, perhaps because it is a more significant work.

Yes, so this is the first time that we are showing work which we are not necessarily putting online for sale.

This is the first time you are in a fair?

Exactly.

Why did you choose this fair?

It seemed to align itself with this collection we are offering … this complete set of Warhols.… Hong Kong seemed like an ideal venue and it just serendipitously worked out with the timing that it just made sense…

Right. So how has your experience been?

Great, we have had considerable interest from a handful of collectors. We shall see; today should be pretty revealing…. We took the less-is-more approach and I think this has worked out well for us. We have this Warhol portfolio, a Haring, another Warhol and two Ashers.

What do you propose to do with this new arm? What do you hope for your new venture?

Sales! Of course. (laughs)

And apart from that (laughs) do you plan to go to more fairs in the future?

Absolutely.

Which fairs would you like to try?

Well, depending on how this works out…. But with our online auctions and our private treaty sector of the business this seems like the natural progression for us.

What is your background in art?

I am one of a handful of auction specialists with Artnet.

So you didn’t come from the art world to Artnet?

Yes, I came with an auction background and was hired by Artnet to become an online auction specialist. There are six of us specialising in photography, unique painting works and prints.

How is that going?

Our online auctions are doing really really well. It seems that we are a panacea for the economy in a downturn. We are useful to collectors who don’t want to wait six months to consign a piece to a bricks and mortar auction house and then wonder whether it will be bought in. And then they have to pay for shipping and insurance even if it is bought in. With us they send us a .jpeg and within two weeks have money in [their] pocket.

That is great, great for the art world, great for collectors.

It is great. We have really enjoyed seeing the diversity of buyers. We sell to a lot of dealers but we also sell to private collectors, new buyers [and] new young collectors from all over the world…. From Australia, Kazakhstan, from all over. You would be surprised at the breadth.

You must have a great deal of information about where new collectors are coming from, the data…

Yes, the data that our technical team can gather, where and when is pretty impressive…

Have you been to Hong Kong before?

No.

What kind of collectors have you met over the last three days?

A wide variety but we have seen a considerable number of serious collectors from Taiwan. We were surprised…. We thought we would see more Mainlanders but we have seen Taiwanese and local Hong Kong collectors, some Koreans and Brits, but we were surprised by the size of the Taiwanese presence.

About Artnet services (source: Artnet website)

In the mid 1980s Artnet developed its first product, the Price Database. Today the Price Database has a broad base of customers dominated by major auction houses, art dealers, museums, and insurance companies. Representing auction results from over 500 international auction houses, the Price Database covers more than 4 million auction results by over 188,000 artists, ranging from Old Masters to Contemporary Art.In 1995 the company transitioned the Price Database to the Internet and introduced a second product, the online Gallery Network, building and hosting websites for art dealers and galleries on its platform. In 1999, the online auction business was launched and now has 60,000 collectors visiting the site each month.

KCE/KN

Related Topics: auctions, Market watch, collectors, Hong Kong

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Sotheby’s Hong Kong presents results of autumn sale of Southeast Asian paintings

Posted by artradar on October 7, 2010


ART AUCTION RESULTS SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG PRESS RELEASE

We present you with the latest press release from Sotheby’s Hong Kong on their autumn sale of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian paintings:

SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG

MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIAN PAINTINGS 2010 AUTUMN SALE

TOTALS HK$78 MILLION / US$10 MILLION

(high estimate: HK$45 million / US$5.7 million*)

THE HIGHEST TOTAL FOR A VARIOUS-OWNER SALE

IN THIS CATEGORY AT SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG

************

ACHIEVING NUMEROUS ARTIST RECORDS AT AUCTION

“FATHER OF INDONESIAN MODERNISM” –

S.SUDJOJONO’S A NEW DAWN SOLD FOR AN IMPRESSIVE

HK$10.7 MILLION / US$1.4 MILLION

OVER 4 TIMES THE HIGH ESTIMATE

FILIPINO ARTIST RONALD VENTURA ’S NATURAL-LIES FETCHED

HK$2.5 MILLION / US$326,000

9 TIMES THE HIGH ESTIMATE

Other artist records were set for works by Indonesian artists including

Gede Mahendra Yasa, Ay Tjoe Christine, Samsul Arifin, Hendra Gunawan and Filipino artist Andres Barrioquinto, among others

Following the tremendous success of the Spring sale, Sotheby’s Autumn sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings today commanded a stunning total of HK$78 million / US$10 million (high estimate: HK$45 million / US$5.7 million*), the highest sale total for a various owners sale in this category at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.  Today’s sale provoked active participation in the room and over the phone.  There was particularly strong interest in top-end Southeast Asian contemporary paintings, which led to two auction records set for two artists – S. Sudjojono , Father of Indonesian Modernism, and Filipino artist Ronald Ventura.

MOK Kim Chuan, Sotheby’s Head of Southeast Asian Paintings, commented: “Top end Contemporary works fetched strong prices today with many pieces bringing multiples of their pre-sale high estimates.  Among Modern works, the supreme highlight was the S. Sudjojono, a museum-quality example of the artist’s work which spurred a fierce bidding battle among nine bidders before selling for HK$10.7 million, a price which was four times the top estimate and set a record for the artist at auction.  These results confirm the strategy of using conservative estimates to attract competition and let the market set the price level.”

The sale of 20th Century Chinese Art and Contemporary Asian Art continue in the evening.

Attached please find the relevant press releases, top-ten list as well as an image of the saleroom for your use.  Should you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact Sotheby’s Hong Kong Press Office on +852 2868 6755 /Winnie.tang@sothebys.com.

* Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

Regards,

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Press

KN/KCE

Related Topics: Southeast Asian art, market watch – auctions, business of art, collectors

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Australian modern and contemporary arts gain momentum: top five auctioned works listed

Posted by artradar on September 6, 2010


AUSTRALIAN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART PRICES AND TRENDS

As the 17th Sydney Biennale drew to a close, a recent article published on artprice.com reported on the improvement of the Australian modern and contemporary art market since 2007, despite its confinement to Sydney and Melbourne. There is a strong preference among Australian collectors for paintings, oil, acrylic and figurative work.

The article provides a list of the top ten Australian works which have been sold at the highest price between 2000 and 2010. Here is the list of the top five:

  • First-Class Marksman (1946) by Sidney Robert Nolan (1917-1992): sold at USD4,103,100 by Menzies Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in March 2010

    'First-Class Marksman' depicts a square-helmeted Ned Kelly pointing his gun into the Australian bushes to protect himself from the police. Picture taken from deutschermenzies.com.au.

  • The Olgas for Ernest Giles (1985) by Brett Whiteley (1939-1992): sold at USD2,445,280 by Menzies Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in June 2007

    "It's a highly charged, erotic painting and the landscape itself is depicted as having the qualities of flesh," said Adrian Newstead, managing director of Deutscher-Menzies, talking to the 'Sydney Morning Post' in 2007 about 'The Olgas for Ernest Giles'. Picture taken from deutschermenzies.com.au."

  • The Old Time (1969) by John Cecil Brack (1920-1999): sold at USD2,301,320 by Sotheby’s in May 2007

    'The Old Time' is a painting of a ballroom dancing couple. Picture taken from Art News Blog.

  • Opera House (1971-1982) by Brett Whiteley (1939-1992): sold at USD1,972,560 by Sotheby’s in May 2007

    Taken From: http://www.artquotes.net/masters/whiteley/opera-house-painting.htm

    This painting of the Sydney Opera House was owned by Qantas Airline. It hung in the club travellers lounge in Sidney. Picture taken from artquotes.net.

  • The Bar (1954) by John Cecil Brack (1920-1999): sold at USD1,893,060 by Sotheby’s in April 2006

    Modelled on Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, this painting mocks the Six-o'clock swill - the last minute rush to buy drinks in bars due to their early closing. Picture taken from Brookston Beer Bulletin.

Sidney Robert Nolan’s First-Class Marksman, fetching over USD4,000,000 in 2010, tops the list. This is against the price trend of Nolan’s works, which has been downward since 2007.

Brett Whiteley, named the “most sought Australian artist during the decade” by the article, produced The Olgas for Ernest Giles which has fetched over USD 2,400,000. It has been reported that “100 euros invested in one of his works in 1998 were worth an average of 555 euros by February 2010”.

Among the best results of 2009 and 2010 are the sales of works by Norman Alfred Williams Linsay which went for between USD100,000 and 235,000.

In the affordable USD10,000-40,000 price range are the best works by Frederick Cress and large watercolors by John Henry Olsen and Frederick Ronald Williams. In the higher USD40,000-120,000 price range are the still-lifes by Grace Cossington SMITH and tranquil landscapes by Lloyd Frederic REES.

Representing the young generation of artists loyal to the Australian figurative tradition are Rick Amor, Lin Onus and Vincent Fantauzzo. Rick Amor broke the USD100,000 line with The Waiter which fetched USD100,300 at Menzies Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in May 2010. The value of Lin Onus’ Reflections, Barmah Forest leapt from USD100,600 less than seven years ago to USD200,600 in March 2010 at Deutscher & Menzies. Some of her oils on cardboard from the 1970s can be picked up at less than USD10,000. Vincent Fantauzzo’s portrait Brandon fetched USD 43,580 in June 2010 at Menzies Art Brands, Sydney.

While the purchase of contemporary art in Australia is picking up speed, the performance of Aboriginal art has been in serious decline since its peak in 2007. This may be because the buying spree of best works by Aboriginal art masters who have died in the last decade is gradually coming to an end.

CBKM/KN/HH

Related Topics: Australian artists, lists, trends

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First ever Moroccan art fair to launch in October

Posted by artradar on August 24, 2010


MARRAKECH MOROCCO ART FAIRS ARAB ART

In October this year, the tourist hotspot Marrakech, Morocco, will host the country’s first modern and contemporary art fair. The fair points towards a growing trend of interest and investment in art in the Middle East where Dubai, currently the top art city in the Middle East, is facing increasing competition from upcoming art ventures in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. (Read our report on this recent trend.)

Gjdn Neshat's 'Untitled96'. Neshat is a participant at this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Gjdn Neshat's 'Untitled96'. Neshat is a participant in this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Morocco, characteristically, is a country that culturally and geographically straddles the “east meets west” junction. That the Marrakech Art Fair shares some of these characteristics make it all the more special. Out of the thirty galleries exhibiting at the fair, half come from the Arab world, primarily North Africa while the other half come from Europe. For art lovers, this could provide an incredible opportunity to sample international contemporary art.

The city also plans to host simultaneous art events throughout the days of the fair. Some of these are special exhibitions at select museums and galleries in Marrakech. The idea behind engaging the city as a giant art fair in itself is to offer rare insights into Moroccan heritage and its contemporary art world.

The Marrakech Museum, for example, is hosting “Resonance: Contemporary Moroccan artists across the world”, which showcases fifteen artists of Moroccan origin who are based outside of Morocco. Inventing and re-thinking ideas of identity versus the global, these artists will work through various mediums such as painting, installation and video art to map new thoughts about the reality of art in Morocco. Another interesting intervention looks at the culmination of popular culture and art. Six graffiti artists will create spontaneous art to the music of Moroccan rapper BIGG over the period of one night.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah's 'Love'. Bouabdellah is a participant in this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah's 'Love'. Bouabdellah is a participant in this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Other events include talks such as the panel discussions led by Roxana Azimi, a specialist in the international art market, that will deal with the twin issues of “Art market in the Arab world” and “The role of patrons and collectors.” Pascel Amel, a writer and director, will lead a debate on “Art in Morocco at the dawn of globalization.” The talks seem to be marked with hope and enthusiasm for the place of Moroccan art in the world market as well as a belief in the possibility of internal development.

Fifteen of the galleries invited to the fair will respond to a set theme of “From Orientalism to nowadays.” The Jean Brolly gallery is one such participant that intends to showcase work by two artists of different origins – Mahjoud Ben Bella and Francois Morellet. Local galleries are active participants at the fair. The Tindouf Gallery and the Galerie 127 are based in Marrakech itself. Other galleries that are showing at the fair come from Tunisia, the UAE, France and Morocco. The fair will be held from 9 to 11 October this year. For more details, visit the fair’s website.

AM/KN

Related Topics: art fairs, Middle Eastern art, promoting art

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Globalisation of contemporary art market evident in growth of art fairs – The Economist

Posted by artradar on August 17, 2010


ART FAIRS ECONOMY

A recent article in the Economist comments on the globalisation of art and how art fairs accelerate the transnational exposure of artists, something that could become necessary for artists if they want to attract the attention of serious collectors and art investors. Importantly, it also identifies the current international art fair hot spots. Read on for our summary of this article.

Globalisation of the art market

Globalisation is one of the most important phenomenon in the history of recent art. Contemporary art needs the potential of a global market and thus enters the art fair. Biennials and landmark exhibitions help to initiate global change in the art scene. International art fairs spread belief in contemporary art through the help of banks and royalty, from Deutsche Bank to local rulers in the Middle East.

In addition, the article quotes Marc Spiegler and Annette Schönholzer, co-directors of Art Basel, as saying that private collections are becoming increasingly international. Collectors start by acquiring art from their own nation and eventually acquire internationally. In many countries contemporary art has become an economic project involving collectors, dealers and huge cultural districts with museums and art fairs.

Art Basel 2009.

Art Basel 2009.

For an art fair to be properly diverse, careful curation is essential. For good international fairs, this not only means that attending galleries show talented artists, but also that they show artists that live in the country the gallery is located in. As quoted in The Economist,

As Lucy Mitchell-Innes of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, a New York gallery, warns: ‘It’s a problem if four or five booths have the same artist’s work. A good international fair wants Chinese galleries to bring talented Chinese artists, not another Antony Gormley.’

International art fair hot spots

The locational hierarchy of art fairs differs from that in the auction market. For art auctions, the three most prominent cities are New York, London and Hong Kong, in that order. When talking about art fairs, Basel would come first, but what follows this lead is unclear: Miami or London, New York or Paris?

Even more notable are the art fairs currently sprouting up in Asian countries. These are creating alternate markets for art and challenging Western leadership. Adding to the hierarchical ladder are two newcomers: Hong Kong’s ART HK (Hong Kong International Art Fair) and Abu Dhabi Art, operating from the Middle East.

What art fairs mean for artists and their art

In general, art fairs can accelerate the transnational exposure of all artists represented. Art Basel is unrivalled in this category and it may be because it has always defined itself as international. The frenzied demand for new art peaked with the creation of smaller art fairs. Some of them work as satellites to the major European events, the biennials, art festivals and fairs such as Basel. These budding fairs cater to lesser known, emerging artists.

Within the art market, that an artist is “international” has become a selling point. Consequently, the local artist has become almost insignificant, while those called “national” are damned with faint praise.

Art fairs, with their aggregation of art dealers forming a one-stop shoppers’ marketplace for art, attract high-spending collectors, generate greater sales and have to some extent replaced galleries with their increasing drawing power. Still the globalisation of the art is not just about money. There are a growing number of non-profit biennials that are developing along with the market structures. As quoted in The Economist,

Massimiliano Gioni, a curator based in Milan and New York, who is overseeing the Gwangju Biennial, which opens in South Korea in September, recalls that the avant-garde was ‘built on a transnational community of kindred spirits,’ adding, ‘sometimes I long for that.’

This is an Art Radar summary of “Global frameworks – Art-fair musical chairs, first published in The Economist.

JAS/KN

Related Topics: art fairs, international artists, market watch – globalisation

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Sotheby’s to hold first ever international auction house sale of calligraphy in Doha

Posted by artradar on July 28, 2010


ART MARKET ART AUCTIONS CALLIGRAPHY DOHA

Sotheby’s London recently announced it will hold the first ever international auction house sale dedicated solely to calligraphy in Doha, Qatar, at The Ritz-Carlton Doha hotel, on 15 December. The groundbreaking calligraphy auction Hurouf: The Art of the World will showcase various works ranging from very early Islamic calligraphies to a mix of modern and contemporary Arabic, Farsi and Ottoman Turkish works.

Highlights of the forthcoming auction will travel through the Gulf Region prior to sale, one of which being Ali Omar Ermes’ The Fourth Ode which has an estimated price ranging from USD250,000 to USD350,000.

Ali Omar Ermes's 'The Fourth Ode' (acrylic and ink on paper).
Ali Omar Ermes’s ‘The Fourth Ode’ (acrylic and ink on paper).

Calligraphy is an art form that has influenced the Doha art scene for many years, and Sotheby’s believes this sale represents the region’s past and present talents. Says Roberta Louckx, Sotheby’s Executive Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s in Qatar, in a the press release announcing the sale:

We are delighted to return to Doha later this year with an inaugural auction devoted to ‘calligraphy’, a theme that has inspired and informed the art of this rich and diverse culture throughout the ages – from the production of the first Kufic Qur’ans to the modern and contemporary artworks of Farhad Moshiri. Sotheby’s is strongly committed to the region, and we are extremely excited to present for sale, in Qatar, the creative endeavours of some of the region’s most talented artists, past and present.

According to the press release, the forthcoming calligraphy sale is built on the success of last year’s Doha sales. After opening an office in Doha in 2008, Sotheby’s held maiden sales in March last year during which an Indian carpet made of pearls and gems fetched USD5.5 million, although the Bloomberg article which reported on this sale also mentioned that the prices of the auctions were disappointing in general. As Dalya Islam, Director of Sotheby’s Middle East Arab & Iranian Art Department, states in the press release,

Last year at our Doha sales Sotheby’s achieved solid success for works by highly sought-after Arab artists such as Chafic Abboud, Nabil Nahas, Ayman Baalbaki, Yousef Ahmad and Ali Hassan. In order to build on this, we have decided to devote a sale to works of significant interest to the region, focusing on calligraphy. The Arabic script has stimulated artists for more than a millennium, and is still a highly regarded and revered art form that reflects the rich history of the region. The auction will emphasise the enduring legacy of Islamic art by tracing the development of calligraphy, with a focus on its contemporary manifestation.

CBKM/KN

Related Topics:  market watch – auctions, calligraphy, Middle Eastern artists

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Indian art market hits peak 2008 figures – modern art favoured

Posted by artradar on July 27, 2010


ART MARKET INDIAN ART MODERN ART AUCTIONS

For some time now, the Indian art market has been reviving after the post-2008 buying slump. New Delhi-based journalist John Elliott, who runs the current affairs blog Riding the Elephant, reports in a recent post that now it may well be on the first step towards similar pre-2008 peak figures. However, the artists raking in money this time around are not contemporary but modern Indian artists.

In June this year, Sotheby’s raised USD7.9m in a mostly Indian art sales. In the same month, Saffronart sold art worth USD6.7m, and together with a Christie’s two day sale of USD18.1m, Indian art sales for the month of June totaled a substantial USD32.7m.

Rabindranath Tagore. Portrait of a woman.

Rabindranath Tagore's 'Portrait of a Woman' sold for over USD461,000 at Sotheby's.

Elliott reports that ArtTactic, a London based art market analysis firm believes that average auction prices and volumes for modern Indian art are now back to levels seen at the market’s peak in June 2008. Anders Peterson, who runs the firm, adds that,

The return in the confidence for the Indian art market is at the high end of the market.

A significant change from the trends of 2008 is the consistent sales of established veteran artists of Indian modern art rather than contemporary artists. However, given the overall push in the performance of the market, contemporary sales have also picked up. ArtTactic reports that previously popular contemporary artists such as Subodh Gupta and Jitish Kallat are still lagging far below 2007-2008 prices.

Saffronart founder and owner Dinesh Vazirani agrees with ArtTactic’s line on modern art. He says,

Auction prices are reasonably close to their 2008 peak. Serious collectors are there and this is backed with confidence in the Indian economy and with people investing as a hedge against inflation.

But how much do these results tell us about trends in buying Indian art? Anders Peterson from ArtTactic believes that,

Auctions are now a filtered version of the reality in the art market. Lots that are likely to sell are works of high quality, rarity and outstanding provenance. Works that do not demonstrate these qualities are still selling at lower prices or not at all. Therefore the return in confidence is at the high end of the market.

SH Raza. Rajasthan.

SH Raza's 'Rajasthan'.

The highlight of the Sotheby‘s sale were the works of Indian modernist painter, poet, philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, while Saffronart relied on modern art veterans like S.H. Raza, who was part of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group and now lives in Paris. His wife, Janine Mongillat, died in April 2002.

AM/KN/KCE

Related Topics: Indian art, Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, market watch- auctions

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Saffronart once again pioneers new technology within art industry

Posted by artradar on July 22, 2010


ART AUCTIONS NEW TECHNOLOGY MOBILE PHONES

Art Radar Asia has found a new tool available to collectors when bidding for artworks at auction – lots can now be won via mobile phone bids.

M. F. Husain, 'Kerala - V', serigraphy on paper. Taken from the Saffronart website.

M. F. Husain's 'Kerala - V'.

As reported on the Saffronart website, the online auctioneer concluded its most recent sale on 17 June, with ten lots won by the company’s new mobile application.

Ten lots were won via Saffronart’s new mobile application, which allows bidders to bid from Blackberrys and iPhones. Those lots totaled $934,272. M.F. Husain’s Untitled was the highest lot sold via mobile, making $235,750.

Saffronart, a specialist in Indian art, was founded in 2000 by art collectors Dinesh and Minal Vazirani. It is renowned for its innovative use of new technologies within the art industry; their online auction model was recently the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School. The company has galleries and offices in Mumbai, New York and London. This most recent online auction grossed $6.7 million.

KN

Related Topics: business of art, market watch – auctions, Indian artists

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Korean art hit and miss at Seoul Auction Hong Kong: New York Times

Posted by artradar on July 21, 2010


SEOUL AUCTION HOUSE RESULTS

A recent article by The New York Times explains the market trends of recent Hong Kong newcomer, Seoul Auction’s two highly successful auctions held in 2009:  Korean collectors continue to acquire Western contemporary artists, Chinese artists buy modern Chinese paintings and Korean art sales are a hit and miss affair. Read on for more…

Seoul Auction was established in 1998, and was for many years was the city’s only auction house. In 2008, it opened an office in Hong Kong, and since then has been gaining international credibility as a top-rate Asian auction house. Seoul Auction uses the auction platform as a way to introduce Western art to the Asian market, as well as introducing relatively new work from South Korea and other Asian countries to the international market.

Damien Hirst, The Importance of Elsewhere – The Kingdom of Heaven. 2006. Butterflies and Household paint on canvas. 292x243.9 cm

Damien Hirst, 'The Importance of Elsewhere – The Kingdom of Heaven,' 2006, butterflies and household paint on canvas, 292x243.9 cm.

Trends in Western art

Seoul Auction’s record-breaking 2.2 million dollar sale of Damien Hirsts The Importance of Elsewhere – The Kingdom of Heaven, arguably its most notable achievement, and similarly pricey sales of other Western artists have revealed a flourishing market for Western Art in Asia. Works from Damien Hirst’s “Butterfly” series have proven very sell-able, although Seoul Auction has avoided his brush paintings – a pair of silk screen prints failed to sell at their April sale.

Donald Judds linear block sculpture Untitled (Progression 87-26) and Robert Indiana’s Eight from his number series are among those that fetched the highest prices. Roy Lichtenstein has also been introduced and has had a healthy reception.

According to the chief executive of Seoul Auction, Jun Lee, “Korean collectors are very sophisticated.” He adds that they had been collecting Western contemporary art “for the past twenty years, even when the market was not that active, even in New York. They are very open-minded. It’s a survival strategy under these circumstances, in periods of recession. We’re trying to persuade our contacts with whom we’ve built relationships over the past ten years to sell.”

Popular Asian contemporary artists

The “Infinity Nets” mixed media sculptures by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama have been highly successful. Works by Anish Kapoor, introduced to Korea by Seoul Auction, have also been highlighted as having healthy sales.

A photographer takes a picture of Yayoi Kusama, Venus No.1, Statue of Venus, Obliterated by Infinity Nets, 1998, Oil on canvas and fiberglass, 227x145.5cm, 68 x 60 x 21cm, at Hong Kong International Art Fair. Taken from freep.com

A photographer takes a picture of Yayoi Kusama's 'Venus No.1, Statue of Venus, Obliterated by Infinity Nets' (1998) at the Hong Kong International Art Fair. Taken from freep.com.

Korean art hit and miss

Although Korean works account for forty percent of Seoul Auction’s offerings in Hong Kong, sales of Korean art have been hit and miss. Kim Whanki’s abstract geometry paintings have sold well, but video artist Nam Juin Paik’s work has failed to sell. The article accredits this to the relatively short history of South Korean art in the international market compared to that of Japanese and Chinese artists, although in recent years sales to Western collectors have increased.

Chinese collectors prefer traditional art

Chinese art has been undeniably popular among Chinese buyers. Sanyu’s Flowers in a White Vase, Wang Yi Dong’s Girl and Peaches and Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series no 21 3-1 sold for good prices, some even exceeding their estimates.

Also popular among Chinese buyers are traditional paintings, such as works by Impressionists Chagall, Renoir, and Picasso, but they are less interested in less familiar American pop artists. According to an article by the Hong Kong Trader, there is also a trend for crossover art.

With the growing trend for crossover art (Chinese buying Japanese art, Japanese buying Korean art, etc), Ms Shim expects more Asian auction houses will look to set up a base in Hong Kong. By moving early, she says, Seoul Auction will gain a strong foothold. ‘We are preparing now for the good times ahead.’

As expressed in The New York Times article, the buying power of China is told only too well through the popularity of traditional works when contemporary works are struggling to sell.

Read the full article here.

MM/KN/KCE

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Wu Guanzhong, influential and non-conformist Chinese painter, dies at 91

Posted by artradar on July 14, 2010


CHINESE PAINTING MODERN CHINESE ART

Modern Chinese master painter Wu Guanzhong passed away in late June this year, aged 91. Wu became known for using traditional Chinese ink brush techniques to produce an aesthetic that is distinctly influenced by western art, in both ink and oil mediums. In his last years, Wu donated many of his works to public museums.

Wu Guanzhong, 'The Call of the Gods', 2009, oil on canvas.

Wu Guanzhong, 'The Call of the Gods', 2009, oil on canvas.

According to The New York Times, Wu gave 113 works to the Singapore Art Museum in a donation valued at 73.7 million Singapore dollars, about $53 million in 2008. He also donated dozens of paintings to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, adding to a collection of previous gifts. Just before his death, he donated five more of his works to this museum.

The Guardian headlined that Wu “emerged from a cultural straitjacket as a modern master”. The article went on to state,

In the summer of 1950, soon after Mao Zedong had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic, Wu Guanzhong, happily studying painting in Paris, made the fateful decision to return to China. Appointed to teach in the Central Academy of Art in Beijing, his head full of Cézanne and Van Gogh, he soon found that he was forbidden to mention those names, and felt unable to face his radical students until he could talk about socialist realism in the Soviet Union, and its foreshadowing in the art of Ilya Repin. This was the beginning of almost three decades of harassment and victimization that, for him and countless others, ended only after the death of Mao in 1976.

About Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong was born in 1919 into a peasant farm family in a village near Yixing, in east China’s Jiangsu province. In his teens, he was studying to become an electrical engineer, but Wu changed his path after attending an art exhibition at the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou. He decided to transfer to this institution to study and it was here that his talent started to blossom.

After studying both Chinese and Western painting under Lin Fengmian and Pan Tianshou, Wu graduated from the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou in 1942. After teaching art in the architecture department of National Chongqing University, he won a scholarship to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He left China in in 1947. Here, Wu studied under Professor Jean Souverbie, whom according to Wu had affected him deeply. But by 1950, he began to feel cut off from his roots and decided then to go back to China.

The three-year study in France enabled Wu to capture the essence of modern art in the West. Growing up in withinChinese culture, he also had a deep understanding of Chinese painting style. After his return to China, Wu taught at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and other institutions. He introduced Western art to his students, but the Academy was dominated by Soviet social realism and he was branded as a fortress of bourgeois formalism.” Refusing to conform to political dogma, he was transferred from one academy to another, painting in his own style.

During the Cultural Revolution in August 1966, he was forbidden to teach, write or paint. Eventually he was sent to the country to work as a farm labourer. It was only after two years that he was permitted to paint again.

Gradually, things got better. In 1973 Wu was one of the leading artists brought back from the countryside, an initiative of Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China. He was painting again, travelling around China and writing articles. His rehabilitation was marked by an exhibition of his work in 1978 at the Central Academy. From that moment, he never looked back. Major exhibitions of his work were held in the British Museum in 1988, in the US in 1988-89, in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, and today he is recognised around the world as one of the masters of modern Chinese painting.

Mr. Wu had an impact on the way the Western art world viewed Chinese painting. In 1992, he was the first living Chinese artist to have a solo exhibition at the British Museum in London. In 1991, France made him an officer of l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2002, he was the first Chinese artist to be awarded the Médaille des Arts et Lettres by the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France. The New York Times

Wu’s importance within Chinese art

Unlike some other modern Chinese artists, he never found the choice of styles a problem. Asked whether he preferred the Chinese or the western style, he said: “When I take up a brush to paint, I paint a Chinese picture” The Guardian

Flower, 2000,  Ink on paper

Wu Guanzhong, 'Flower', 2000, ink on paper.

Like Van Gogh he painted not just the form, but “with his feelings”. He found inspirations in the beauty of nature. Wu’s style of painting has the colour sense and formal principles of Western paintings, but tonal variations of ink that are typically Chinese.

“Don’t be afraid of it,” he insisted, “because it is all around us in nature – in the design of the trellis in a garden pavilion, in the shadow of the bamboo leaves on a white wall… The line that connects the painted image to the real thing can never be broken.” The Guardian

In his work, natural scenery is reduced to its essentials – simple but powerful abstract forms. In rows of houses built along the contour of the hills, Wu discovered abstract patterns, the white houses with black roofs standing out against the soft grey tones of the mountains or water. In all his work, objective representation loses its importance, overtaken by the beauty of the abstract forms, lines, colours and subtle ink tones.

Wu’s works are unconventional and full of passion. In the eyes of the West, the images are very Chinese, but to Chinese viewers, the images appear modern and Western.

Read the obituaries and other related articles

JAS/KN

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