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Posts Tagged ‘art prices’

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

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Posted in Artist Nationality, Auctions, Australian, Business of art, Collectors, Individual, Lists, Market watch, Medium, Painting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Performance of Asia tops West for first timers at auction in 2008/09

Posted by artradar on November 17, 2009


AUCTION PERFORMANCE

It may be of some surprise that Asian artists have outperformed their Western counterparts in “first time auction results” during the height of the art market boom. According to ArtPrice’s 2008/2009 contemporary art market report, buyers are giving Asian artists new to the auction market stronger backing than new Western artists.

This support is evident in the high proportion of Asian artists achieving the top hammer prices:  64% of the “top 50 best hammer price for new auctioned artists in 2008” were given to Asian artists predominantly from China, Japan and Korea.

Of the top 10 best first-timer hammer prices, half were given to Chinese artists born between 1949 and the early 1960s. The top price of Euro 347,510 was given for a work by the artist You Jindong (b 1949)  known for his works created with gunpowder.

 

 

top 50

© ArtPrice, TOP 50 Best hammer price for new auctioned artists in 2008

Out of the three main Asian countries (China-24, Korea-4, Japan-3) represented in the list, Chinese artists’ prices have had the most dramatic reduction from the high point in 2008. Although times are different now, the price correction within the contemporary Chinese art market has significantly lowered the price barriers for collectors. It is considerably more economical to purchase “new auction artists” in 2009.

So Hing Keung

So Hing Keung's photograph titled "Central, Hong Kong, 1998" sold for USD 4,515 at Sothebys in Hong Kong on October 6th, 2009

In recent Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong on October 6th, the average price for a Chinese “new auction artists” was drastically lower at USD 12,000 compared to USD 130,000 during the previous year. In addition to Chinese contemporary art, the price barriers for contemporary Japanese and Korean art remains accessible in the current market.

Lee Kyoung Mi

Korean artist Lee Kyoung Mi's painting titled "San Francisco on the Table" sold for USD 12,255 at Sothebys in Hong Kong on October 6th, 2009

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Contemporary art market in Asia now bigger than US for first time says Artprice

Posted by artradar on November 11, 2009


ASIAN ART MARKET

Visitors enter a Sotheby's auction room in Hong Kong on October 6, 2008 of modern and contemporary art. MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

Visitors enter a Sotheby's auction room in Hong Kong for a sale of modern and contemporary art on October 6, 2008.

For the first time ever, the total auction revenue from “contemporary art in Asia” is greater than the total of the United States artprice reports. The statistics are collected from a 12-month period spanning from July 2008 to June 2009. Asia generated €130 million versus the United States’ €123 million. China is the highest gainer out of this trend, having generated €95 million from contemporary art during the same period.  According to the report, this means China is continuing to “hold on to its third place global geographical art auction revenue ranking.”

The establishment of foreign auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams in Hong Kong, in combination with the financial strength of Hong Kong and Shanghai are to be accredited for China’s position. For those who are looking to begin collecting Asian art, this does not mean that the price of contemporary Chinese art is back up to its sky-high prices of a couple of years ago. Artprice’s report tell us that in the first half of 2008 the average price of contemporary works sold in China was $65,500, however, in the first half of 2009, this average dropped to $26,800.

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Posted in Asia expands, Auctions, Business of art, China, Chinese, Hong Kong, Market watch, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Art in storage, at fairs and sales – is it getting harder to insure?

Posted by artradar on October 28, 2009


ART FAIR INSURANCE

Last week, The Art Newspaper posted an interesting report that claimed that art is getting harder to insure. According to their source, Richard Northcott, executive director of the art, jewellery and private client division at Heath Lambert Group (London), firms that protect specialist fine art insurers are becoming cautious of insuring a large amount of art kept in one place at the same time, such as in storage warehouses and exhibitions. The article explains why:

“For a long time nobody in the insurance world was monitoring the cumulative value of art shown at fairs or kept in storage,” explains Northcott. “But in the last two or three years the industry has become a lot more sophisticated and a lot more aware of the issue.”

This is partly owing to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which made insurers aware that a single catastrophe could wipe out an entire art fair or storage facility, and partly owing to recent developments in software that have made it much easier for re-insurers and specialist fine art insurers to track the location of the thousands of policies they have underwritten at any one time.

At Art 40 Basel in June, “there were already murmurs of a problem”, Northcott says.
At Art 40 Basel in June, “there were already murmurs of a problem,” Northcott says.

“There is a limit to the insurance market’s capacity for the cumulative value of policies for a single event like an art fair,” says Northcott. This stands at around $2bn; the insurance value of art at Frieze this year is much lower as the downturn in the contemporary market has led to declining prices, and the many younger galleries exhibiting for the first time are offering less expensive, emerging artists. But he believes that as the art market recovers, “all major art fairs will come under scrutiny by the industry”.

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New auction houses with new strategies open in Singapore art market

Posted by artradar on October 28, 2009


ASIAN ART MARKET TRENDS

Usually, to be a part of the bubbling Asian art market scene, buyers need to associate themselves with industry leaders Christie’s and Sotheby’s for lack of other options. In South East Asia, however, there’s a new way for collectors to discover their contemporary art. According to a recent article by the New York Times, a host of new and smaller auction houses—such as Borobudur, 33 Auction, and Larasati in Singapore—have successfully emerged to “fill in the gaps” of the market, which means they are opening their doors to a broader range of the market, from high-end collectors to first time buyers. So far, sales suggest this may be the right strategy to entice new buyers:

“Last week, sales by two auction houses in Singapore, Borobudur and 33 Auction, brought in a combined $10 million, with the larger sale, by Borobudur, easily beating its pre-sale estimate. Later this month another Singapore auctioneer, Larasati, will offer 160 lots of Asian modern and contemporary art with an estimated value of 2 million Singapore dollars, or $1.4 million.”

A.C. Andre Tananma, "Run Away" 2008. Part of Larasati's Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction in Singapore on October 25th, 2009.

A.C. Andre Tananma, "Run Away" 2008. Part of Larasati's Asian Modern and Contemporary Art Auction, Singapore, 25 October 2009.

Many of the new auctions houses have developed as off springs from established galleries, such as 33 Auction (Singapore), Maestro Auction House (Jakarta, Singapore) and Kingsley Art Auction (Beijing), as a way of broadening their offerings to current clients, while also becoming accessible to new ones:

“Like everything else, the art market is not immune from the global recession and consequently sales at most galleries have been down for the past 12 months,” said Valentine Willie of Valentine Willie Fine Art, which has galleries in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and has in the past helped Borobudur curate its auctions. “Auctions may seem a good way of clearing gallery stock and they offer the possibility for collectors of bargain hunting, especially after the boom of two years ago.”New and smaller auction houses would naturally try to fill in the gaps with more adventurous offerings and lower entry price points because, “the industry leaders, Christie’s and Sotheby’s have a somewhat limited and conservative offering of Southeast Asian art,” Mr. Willie added.”

Some auction houses are targeting the middle class crowd in particular, a demographic rarely cornered by larger and more established auction houses like Christie’s or Sotheby’s. To entice the middle class market, Singapore’s Ziani Fine Art Auction House tactic was to award cash prizes, serve wine, and even offer whiskey tastings at their September 20 debut auction:

“‘When you launch a new business you need to attract new people,” said Frank Veyder, a banker and partner in Ziani, before the auction. “We are very conscious there is a risk that people might think it’s just a fly-by-night, gimmicky house, but we’re holding this auction in a five-star location and we’re offering quality art.

“The pieces are not of the level you would see at Christie’s or Sotheby’s, but we’re not trying to play in that space,” Mr. Veyder added. “Our marketing is targeting to a wider, middle-class crowd.”‘

Though it can be said that the competition between auction houses is good for business, there are some auctioneers that are concerned that the market may have a hard time absorbing everything on offer.  Daniel Komala, chief executive of Larasati Auctioneers, explains:

“‘The art market has bottomed out; in fact, it’s fair to say that it has picked up some speed of late,” Mr. Komala said. “Having said that, the real capacity to absorb, over all, especially in Singapore, is only going to increase by 20-30 percent maximum from its rock bottom level. So, it’s wishful thinking to expect that the market will double up in capacity compared to how it performed six months ago.”

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Events, Market watch, Overviews, Recession, Singapore | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What are the new price levels for contemporary art?

Posted by artradar on January 17, 2009


CONTEMPORARY ART PRICES

Sotheby’s will hold its Contemporary Art sales in London on 5-6 February 2009 , the first set since the November round when the financial crisis triggered weaker demand, slower bidding and lower prices across the art market.  As markets for other more liquid investable assets continue to plummet, art collectors have had to wait for this next round of leading auction house sales for a steer.

So what are the new price levels which were established  in the November suite of sales? And what is the outlook for the upcoming Spring sales?

In December 2008 Colin Gleadall said in the Telegraph “this month we have seen Impressionist, modern and contemporary art sales falling back to levels set two or three years ago”. And Sotheby’s agrees.

As Tobias Berger explains in the video Private ViewContemporary Art Market – A Candid Look from the Inside, the November suite of sales was held against a ‘dramatically different’ financial environment.

While this slickly-produced video is clearly a tool for promotion which gives more emphasis to confidence-boosting than candour, Sotheby’s say the new price levels for the contemporary art market are equivalent to those of 2004-2006. Of course the claim is heavily-caveated and only applies to ‘rare’, ‘great’, ‘fresh’ works of ‘impeccable provenance and quality’ .

But what next for prices? In their video the Sotheby’s team makes a brave – and of course rather more implicit than directly expressed – case for this new level being the potential bottom. But words about pent-up demand from well-informed long-established collectors who are now apparently willing to return to the market after the implied excesses of 2007 and 2008 are not entirely convincing. Still…..it is a courageous call when other investable assets have fallen to prices last seen more than 10 years ago.

To see the Sotheby’s video Private View – Contemporary Art market

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Crisis to impact art prices, number of Asian collectors increases – Business Times

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2008


ART PRICES FINANCIAL CRISIS

With fear at near panic levels recently in the stock market, it would seem almost anomalous that life goes on in some segments of alternative investments. No, we’re not talking about hedge funds or commodities, both of which suffer the whiplash dealt by severe market plunges. Instead, welcome to the rarefied world of art collection and investment. Proponents of the segment argue that art, being a real asset and devoid of the mind-numbing complexity of derivatives, should retain its sheen as a ‘passion’ investment.

Art is tangible with inherent value says Christie’s

Says auction house Christie’s president (Asia) Andrew Foster: ‘We stand in a curious position. Art is a very real and tangible thing. Clients agree that art has inherent value. So you start with the proposition that it’s not a highly leveraged investment. That’s almost refreshing now.

‘That doesn’t mean prices don’t fluctuate, but value is agreed upon and inherent, and it springs from cultural and global trends more than trading multiples.’

Christie’s confident about November Hong Kong sales

Christie’s recently exhibited highlights of its upcoming Fall 2008 auction in Hong Kong, to take place at end-November. ‘Our sales are nearly two months down the road; we’re confident markets will calm down,’ says Mr Foster.

Art, however, isn’t that impervious to the fallout from the evaporation of trillions of dollars in stock market value. Nor is it immune to the belt tightening that has ensued as individuals brace for more difficult economic conditions.

But recent Borobodur and Sotheby’s Asian auctions disappointing

Two auctions of Asian art last weekend, for instance, fell short of pre-sale estimates. Borobudur Auction’s two-day sale of Chinese and South-east Asian art fetched nearly $10 million, compared with pre-sale expectations of $18 million.

The recent Sotheby’s sale of contemporary Asian art in Hong Kong was also disappointing, with a number of works unsold or drawing bids below reserve prices.

Citi Art Advisory – stock market drop causes short term bounce and longer term fall

Citi Private Bank’s art advisory service senior vice-president Suzanne Gyorgy says that a prolonged economic downturn will take its toll. ‘A downturn in the equities markets often initially causes investors to turn to tangible assets. The art market can benefit from this turn to alternative investments with a bounce in the value, counter-cyclical to the equities markets.

‘However, a prolonged economic downturn in the equities markets will first result in a softening of the real estate market which is then followed by a downward adjustment in the art market.’

Asia undergoing structural change: more collectors

Still, the last few years’ robust pace of wealth creation is likely to have expanded the catchment of wealthy individuals globally for whom art is a passion, particularly in Asia. Christie’s own Asian sales are a testament to this. Last year, the firm’s Asian art division reported sales of US$654 million, a 49 per cent rise from 2006. Growth has been at a strong double digit clip since 2004.

Asian art showed broad uptrend even in Asian financial crisis

‘What is interesting about Asian art, from the period which includes the Asian financial crisis and a downturn in the West . . . global Asian art grew every year through that period. The broad trendline is up. This isn’t a surprise, because all the long-term economic indicators and information about this century is that it will be an Asian century,’ says Mr Foster.

He concedes that wealthy individuals may have sustained substantial losses in equities in recent months. ‘People need to recognise the losses in the context of the gains in the last three to four years. We’re talking about a tremendous, unprecedented increase in global wealth. It’s natural to have a correction.’

Citi Art Advisory predicts softening for mid value works

Citi’s Ms Gyorgy agrees. ‘Today, with the vast amount of newly created wealth across the globe, even after this recent economic turmoil, we are likely to continue to see record prices for the remaining top tier master works . . . by sought after artists, but expect to experience a softening in value for mid-level works.’

Art captured second largest share of ‘passion’ dollar of rich

Passion investments merited a highlight in Merrill Lynch and Capgemini’s 2008 World Wealth Report, which found that art captured the second-largest share of the global wealthy’s passion dollar at 15.9 per cent, after luxury collectibles (16.2 per cent). Among the well-heeled in Asia-Pacific, art’s share of their passion dollar was 13 per cent.

The most frequently quoted indicator of art’s investment returns is the Mei Moses Fine Art Index. Its index for all art for 2007 rose 20 per cent, a performance only surpassed by some of the annual returns achieved in the art bubble years of 1984 to 1990, it says on its website. This dramatically outpaced the 5.5 per cent achieved by the S&P 500 total return index. It was, however, outpaced by gold which rose over 30 per cent.

In the most recent five and 10 year periods, art trumped stocks, according to the index. Art returned 16.2 and 10.3 per cent per annum in the respective time periods, compared with stocks’ returns of 12.7 and 5.9 per cent, respectively.

1985 to 1990 art index up 30% per year then shed 65% 1990 to 1995

Yet art, too, has its boom and bust cycles, as Michael Moses, the creator of the index, told Reuters earlier this year. From 1985 to 1990, Western contemporary art values rose at an annual compound rate of 30 per cent, before shedding 65 per cent in the next five years, he said.

Now, one of the most frequently raised questions is whether there is a bubble in contemporary art, particularly by Chinese artists. Ms Gyorgy says: ‘In this economic climate, the portion of the emerging art market that has recently experienced huge jumps in value on the high end are poised to experience the greatest price correction.’

Only some artists survive a pricked bubble

She says that a similar spike in value and dramatic correction occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s for many ‘newly minted art stars’. ‘With the passing of time, a number of the 1980s artists have regained their value and place in the art market, and some have not survived the test of time. I expect we will see art market history repeating itself.’

Citi advises clients to do their homework, talk to experts and collectors, and to research great collections. Buyers should also learn how to evaluate the condition of art works, visit auctions and learn how to negotiate with private dealers.

New art fund launched to focus on emerging art markets

Art funds are also an option. Meridien Art Partners is working with Calamander Capital to launch the Emerging Art Market to invest in contemporary art, scouring the markets of South-east Asia, Vietnam, Russia and the Middle East. The fund has so far raised about US$10 million and the partners will be gearing up to market the fund to European, Russian and Middle Eastern clients as well.

Ultimately, you must love the piece that you buy. As Citi says in its art advisory material: ‘We do not recommend that clients buy art purely for investment. . . There are many other investment vehicles that give higher or more predictable returns than art.

‘The art market is a fickle place, but art can be a good investment if you take a long-term strategy, do your homework and are well advised.’

This article was first published in The Business Times on October 18, 2008

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Indian art market confidence falls in latest ArtTactic survey – Indian Art News

Posted by artradar on November 1, 2008


INDIAN ART MARKET CONFIDENCE

The financial markets around the world are gradually recovering from a cardiac arrest, the banking system is being rebooted with help of government intervention and nationalisation. Most Western economies are heading for a recession. Emerging markets such as India and China have not been spared either, and the short-term economic outlook is highly uncertain.

Sentiment shift began May 2008

Now, this is the context in which the art market must be analysed. ArtTactic’s India Confidence survey in May 2008 signaled a shift in the sentiment, as respondents turned negative on the economy – 6 months after, the negative mood has now hit the Indian art market.

Confidence falls 23% May to September 2008

The recent confidence survey conducted in September 2008, showed that the overall ArtTactic Indian Art Market Confidence Indicator fell a further 23% from the last reading in May, which has resulted in a combined fall in the Indian Art Market Confidence of 34% since October 2007.

The ArtTactic Indian Art Market Indicator has been hit by 38% drop in the confidence in the economy, which is a further deterioration from the 54% decrease experienced between October 2007 and May 2008. Hence the economic component of the indicator has fallen 71% since October last year. This has to be viewed in the light of The Bombay Stock exchange (SENSEX) having lost more than 50% of its value between October 2007 and October 2008. With inflation levels at close to 12% and weaker industrial production numbers for August 2008, the Indian economy is feeling the gravity of the global crisis – a sentiment that is now starting to find its way into the heated Indian art market.

Speculation cited as cause

ArtTactic’s recent survey shows a significant fall of 36% in the Indian Contemporary Art Market Confidence Indicator, which reached its height in May 2008. The loss in confidence has been largely caused by speculation (73% of respondents saying this the biggest risk to the contemporary Indian art market), and rapidly rising prices of younger, still unproven contemporary artists, combined with a much weaker and uncertain economic climate.

Future?

So what does this mean for the future of the Indian art market? The changes are likely to take place on different levels. The most immediate; art prices and value of Indian art works will come under scrutiny, which is evident by recent results from auctions in London, New York and Hong Kong.

In the medium term there needs to be a re-assessment of the Indian art market, and questions around artistic, historic and cultural importance need to be debated, discussed and contextualised. The Indian art market desperately needs a non-market/ non-commercial reference frame for which it can questions its validity. The market needs more long-term players, particularly art collectors.

On the positive side, the Indian art market boom has laid the foundation for a healthier, second Indian art market cycle. The emergence of institutions such as the Devi Foundation are necessary, but one needs many more – as a single institution runs the risk of becoming an instrument for another speculative boom. The market needs a wide range of ‘voices’ that can maintain the checks and balances, and ensure that the value of art has a foundation outside the commercial market.

However, one should remain positive. Whilst the market will go up and down, artists and art will not cease to exist. Contrary, a difficult environment is likely to be more conducive for art production and creativity. It is in this new cycle, where the real, long term value of Indian art will be established.

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Indonesian, Filipino prices rise at Sotheby’s despite meltdown

Posted by artradar on October 13, 2008


I Nyoman Masriadi The Final Round

I Nyoman Masriadi The Final Round

 

AUCTION SOUTH EAST ASIAN ART 2008

Sotheby’s autumn sales in Hong Kong were grim apart from the South East Asian sale which provided some much needed relief. The success of the sale prompted an ebullient quip from Sotheby’s entertaining auctioneer Chin Yeow : “Is there a financial meltdown out there because I am not feeling it. The banks should ask our bidders if they need money!”

The sale included Malaysian, Filipino, Singaporean and Vietnamese art but was dominated by Indonesian works. Bidding was thin for Vietnamese lots and these attracted interest mainly from Paris. In contrast the Filipino and in particular the Indonesian lots attracted fierce bidding wars from bidders on all continents.

The works which attracted most interest included those by I Nyoman Masriadi, Agus Suwage, Rudy Mantofani and FX Harsano.

Two Indonesian markets: modern/colonial and contemporary/popular

Information about Indonesian art is notoriously difficult to come by. Helen Spanjaard, a Dutch art academic specialising in Indonesian art (one of only two in the world who speak English she says), explains that there are two distinct markets for Indonesian works – the colonial/Dutch influenced body of works eg Affandi and the new generation mostly born in the seventies.

“There is established buying support for the colonial works mostly from Chinese Indonesian collectors who compete with one another to drive up prices”. There is a second much more international market for the seventies generation artists. Dr Spanjaard notes that those works which are particularly popular are reminiscent of Chinese pop art or refer to popular cultural influences such as cartoons, superheros, flat stylisation, fantasy.

This was certainly borne out in the sale. Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi’s The Man From Bantul (The Final Round), 2000, lot 838, an impressive triptych of a fight painted in a flat stylised manner sold for HK$7,820,000 (US$1,000,725) after lively bidding, five times its high estimate of HK$1-1.5 million.

A number of other works by Masriadi fetched impressive prices  including Petualanganku Berakhir Setelah Ketemu Ibumu (My Adventure Ended After I Met Your Mother), which sold for HK$2,900,000 (US$371,113) (lot 895, est. HK$250/350,000), and Too Small, which achieved HK$1,820,000 (US$232,905) (lot 808, est. HK$250/350,000), both bringing many times their high estimates. These works featured flat images with cartoon-style poses and speech bubbles.

Sotheby’s again set a record for the work of Rudi Mantofani (b. 1973) following the record price achieved
in its series of spring 2008 sales last season. Pohon-Pohon Langit (Sky Trees) sold for HK$3,020,000
(US$386,469), bringing almost eight times its high estimate (lot 868, est. HK$280,000 – $380,000). Mantofani is known for his surreal fantasy landscapes in which for example trees are clouds and shadows are holes.

Artist records were also broken for Dipo Andy and Jumaldi Alfi. More abstract contemporary works and by for example Yunizar, Putu Satawijaya and the moderns also attracted interest but to a lesser extent.

Filipino artists

Filipino artists who did well in this sale included Geraldine Javier, Ronald Ventura, Annie Cabigting, Yasmin Sison and Lirio Salvador.

Why is South East Asian art so popular now?

Some commentators note that there is a structural issue which is affecting the art market. Today’s buyers are more speculative than at any time in the history of art buying and that the interest in South East Asian works is coming from former buyers of Chinese art who are looking for the next hot trend. Others note that the sale was a success because prices of South East Asian art are relatively cheap compared with other markets.

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Posted in Auctions, Cartoon, Collectors, Critic, Filipino, Hong Kong, Individual, Indonesian, Malaysian, Market watch, Pop Art, Professionals, Recession, Singaporean, Southeast Asian, Vietnamese | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pop goes bubble for Chinese Indian artists – Businessweek

Posted by artradar on October 8, 2008


SOTHEBYS HONG KONG AUTUMN AUCTIONS
While much of Hong Kong hunkered down just hours before the arrival of a typhoon on Oct. 4, the start of Sotheby’s three-day auction of modern and contemporary Asian art was buffeted by the financial storm on Wall Street. Of the 47 works that went under the hammer, more than 40% were unsold. What’s more, earnings for Sotheby’s (BID), including the auctioneer’s commission known as the “buyer’s premium,” were a paltry $15 million, accounting for just 41% of the auction house’s estimated takings for the night. Among the biggest upsets was the unsold work by India’s hot-selling artist Subodh Gupta, Untitled, which had an estimated price of $1.55 million to $2.05 million. Another big surprise: Chinese cynical realist painter Liu Wei’s triptych, The Revolutionary Family Series, failed to find a bidder willing to meet the $1.55 million suggested minimum.

As the weather deteriorated on Sunday morning, so did events in the auction hall. Only 39 out of 110 paintings from the 20th Century Chinese Art Sale found buyers, while 71 had to be packed up and shipped back to their sellers. By the afternoon session, the usual buzz at Hong Kong’s contemporary Chinese art auctions was sorely absent. At one point during the sale, the auctioneer mistook a woman covering her mouth to stifle a yawn for her wishing to bid, prompting a valiant attempt to inject some levity into the proceedings as he asked if “anyone else is yawning in the room.”

Yawns gave way to disbelief a little later when two works by white-hot Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang went unsold. That’s a huge reversal for the Beijing-based artist, whose paintings have routinely fetched millions of dollars, well in excess of auction estimates. (His painting Bloodline: Big Family No. 1 was one of the few top lots that sold on Saturday, though the $2.97 million price was below the expected maximum.) Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi, two others among the hottest-selling Chinese contemporary artists, did manage to sell, although well within the estimates.

Wall Street Fallout
You connect the dots: Wall Street goes into meltdown, and Sotheby’s auction bombs in Hong Kong. Kevin Ching, Sotheby’s CEO for Asia, tries to be optimistic about whether the two are connected. “I hope there is no immediate direct correlation between the financial market and the art market,” he says, pointing to the widely successful auction of enfant terrible Damien Hirst’s works in London within days of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The problem with some of the Hong Kong auction, he adds, stems from overly ambitious owners trying for unreasonably high prices. “When we have [sellers] who want aggressive estimates over and above what [the] market can accept, they would have to occasionally accept the consequences, and I think that’s what happened here [Saturday] night,” Ching explains.

Still, others in Asia’s art business are certain the fallout from Wall Street is already hurting Chinese and Indian markets. In both countries, newly wealthy investment bankers and hedge fund managers helped inflate bubbles in works by local artists. For instance, in the last four years a booming Indian economy and buoyant stock market encouraged many private banks to offer fee-based services to assist clients in building portfolios of artworks sourced from galleries, auctions, and even direct sales. Fund managers say that investment bankers with their hefty bonuses helped inflate art prices by 30% to 60% above their real value, according to a gallery owner in Mumbai.

Bright Spots
Now with Wall Street in turmoil, most of the bankers who were regulars at art shows and auctions have moved out, says avid art collector Harsh Goenka, chairman of India’s diversified RPG Enterprises, which has interests in tires, power, and retail. He claims that in the last few years, around 60% to 70% of art sold in auctions and shows in India went to the new breed of investor rather than art connoisseurs. “They looked at art as a brand and made money by trading in it,” says Goenka. In the past few months, he says, painters and art dealers have been calling him up to offer their unsold works at a 30% to 40% discount.

The picture isn’t all grim, though. The mood was positively ebullient at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on Oct. 6 as buyers crammed the room for the auction of Southeast Asian contemporary paintings. Sotheby’s employees manned the phones to handle enthusiastic overseas bidding. For instance, Indonesian painter I Nyoman Masriadi had already set a personal record on the first day of the Sotheby’s auction when his huge canvas featuring Batman and Superman sitting on adjacent toilets sold for $620,000. He then surpassed that with a painting of boxers that seems part Botero, part Léger; it fetched a high $833,000. A bit later, during furious bidding for yet another Masriadi, the auctioneer exclaimed “This is really, really fun.” The room broke into applause when the work finally sold for a very respectable $307,000.

The reason for this sea change in sentiment? The prices were far more affordable than the works from China and India on sale during the weekend, and collectors seem to have finally cottoned onto the notion that Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Filipino artists represent opportunities for collectors to own great art. One work by up-and-coming Filipino painter Geraldine Javier sold for $32,000, more than three times the high estimate. An intimate portrait of a woman and child by Vietnamese painter Mai Trung Thu also sold for triple the estimate, fetching $23,000.

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