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Posts Tagged ‘Sothebys Hong Kong’

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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Posted in Artist Nationality, Auctions, Business of art, China, Collectors, Hong Kong, Market watch, Medium, Painting, Southeast Asian, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Liquidity propels prices, Chinese Political Pop is back – Sothebys Contemporary Asian Art Auction 2009 Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on October 16, 2009


SOTHEBY’S AUCTIONS HONG KONG CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART

Although called a Contemporary Asian Art auction, this sale was dominated by Chinese artists which was a canny move by Sotheby’s given that mainland liquidity is driving prices of property in Hong Kong to record high prices of US$1,000 per square foot and sending Chinese stock markets soaring. According to Bloomberg, Chinese money supply has grown by 55% since the beginning of 2007 compared with 20% in the UK and US.

Some of this liquidity has found its way into the art market at this auction. Mainland buyers were active and revealed some surprising preferences.

Hong Kong artists back in a second showcase

Sotheby’s followed up its inaugural and successful showcase of 8 Hong Kong artists in the ‘Spring auction earlier this year with an expanded selection of works by 10 artists. Affordable prices meant that all but two of the works found buyers with successful bids mostly coming in around estimates.

Simon Go, Hong Kong Old Shops, Inkjet on Bamboo Paper

Simon Go, Hong Kong Old Shops, Inkjet on Bamboo Paper

Works by two artists, sculptor Danny Lee and photographer Simon Go who were both new to the auction this year, did better than estimates. Danny Lee produces stainless steel sculptures which are reminiscent  – though in a more organic liquid form –  of the stainless steel scholar rocks made by the world-renowned sculptor Zhan Wang  whose works have been collected by institutions such as the British Museum . Danny Lee’s Mountain and Stream IV sold for HK$170,000 against a top estimate of HK$160,000 (before premium). (US$1 = HK$7.7)

Danny Lee, Mountain and Stream IV, Steel wood

Danny Lee, Mountain and Stream IV, Steel wood

Simon Go’s set of 2 photographic works called Hong Kong Old Shops: Wing Wo Grocery and Keng Ming Mirror Shop achieved a price of HK$80,000 against an estimate of HK$30-50,000 (before premium). This lot points to several collector trends. According to Larry Warsh, a New York-based dealer, there is a growing interest in Chinese photography and Wing Wo Grocery ( an image of a family clan in an old-style grocery shop from the colonial era recently shut down in preparation for urban renewal) embodies trends identified at an ArtInsight seminar last month called ‘Trends and Opportunities in Photography” . The panelists identified documentary photography and ‘slice of lif’e’ photography as hot areas for collectors now.

Zhan WangThe biggest story of the Hong Kong part of the sale was Tsang Tsou Choi’s calligraphy which saw excited bidding between several bidders in the room and on the phone resulting in a price (before premium) of HK$400,000 which was 8 times the lower estimate of HK$50,000. Work by this artist now deceased was also a surprising success in the Spring 2009 auction perhaps because of local media and public interest in the eccentric behaviour he displayed in his long art career.

Tsang Tsou Choi, Calligraphy, Acrylic on Canvas

Tsang Tsou Choi, Calligraphy, Acrylic on Canvas

In our Sotheby’s Spring 2009 auction post we wrote:

Tsang, Tsou Chin aka The Kowloon Emperor is a Hong Kong legend, famous for his calligraphy graffiti which he painted on public furniture. Undeterred by numerous warnings he roamed the streets for 50 years laying down his family genealogy and his personal history as an emperor in exile in blatant defiance of the Queen and English colonial rule. Deemed a lunatic by some, he was nevertheless recognised when in 2003 he became the very first Hong Kong artist to exhibit at the Venice Biennale.

Cynical Realist artists are back

In the next section of the sale a series of Chinese sixties-born artists, many from the Cynical Realist and Political Pop movements (Yue Minjun Feng Zhenghjie Zeng Fanzhi, Fang Lijun, Zhang Xiaogang) came under the hammer with hefty estimates of several hundred thousand and up to around $5 million per lot.

Yue Minjun, Hats Series - The Lovers, Oil on Canvas

Yue Minjun, Hats Series - The Lovers, Oil on Canvas

On a visit to London last month Art Radar heard several Western commentators describing Chinese art as ‘old’, ‘tired’ and ‘done’. This auction showed clearly that there are keen buyers for Chinese artists of this era who are willing to pay robust prices. Room bidders were mainly middle-aged Chinese men, who are perhaps collectors or more likely dealers for a growing middle class market in the mainland. Most lots in this section sold at estimate and some well above. Yue Minjun’s ‘Hats Series – The Lovers’ attracted several room bidders and a phone bidder eventually selling for HK$5.3m against a top estimate of HK$3.5m.

Institution-endorsed Chinese artists of the  fifties and sixties meet price resistance

Wang Keping, Untitled, Wood

Wang Keping, Untitled, Wood

It is no secret that Western critics regard some of the Cynical Realist artists as lightweight and lacking in intellectual rigour.  Instead major institutions such as the Royal Academy and British Museum in London have favoured and endorsed other mid-century born artists such as gunpowder artist Cai Guo-Qiang and Xu Bing, famous for his invented calligraphy . These artists sold well at lower price levels but lots with high estimates met resistance and failed. Cai Guo-Qiang’s Money Net No 2, part of Royal Academy of Art Project (estimate HK$4.7m – 5.5m) and Xu Bing’s Silkwom Series – The Foolish Old Man Who Tried to Remove the Mountain (estimate HK$5m – 5.5m) were bought in.

Frowns for part-increment bids

What we did see at this auction was a much stronger resistance by the two auctioneers in this marathon four-and-a-half  hour sale to partial bids. In recent auctions we have seen bidders make counter-offer bids at increments lower than standard. In the recent past these were accepted with alacrity by genial auctioneers. At this auction bidders were left waiting, frowned at and as often as not turned down.

Zhang Huan upset

Zhang Huan, My New York, Chromogenic Print

Zhang Huan, My New York, Chromogenic Print

Zhang Huan

, formerly a performance artist and more recently a sculptor and installation artist known for his works in ash and animal skins had 5 lots in the sale. Despite  backing by big-boy galleries in London and New York (Zhang Huan currently has an installation at White Cube in Picadilly London) four of his works including two sculptures and two chromogenic prints were bought in. The only work which was successful was a chromogenic print (numbered 3/8) recording his early endurance performance art which sees him running barefoot along the streets covered in raw meat. This work exemplifies another trend identified at the Artinsight photography seminar: growing interest in photographic documentation of performance art.

Sculpture mixed

Sculpture had a mixed performance. Apart from Zhang Huan’s two failed lots and one by Hong Kong artist Kum Chi Keung, there was a surprise pass on Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s pink polyester mannequin Self-Obliteration (estimate $550-650,000). Most of the rest of the ten or so sculptures including Wang Keping’s wooden female forms, Zhang Wan’s scholar rocks, kitsch sculptures by the Luo Brothers and Huang Yan and a run of five works featuring sculpted heads  and figures (by various artists) sold at or above estimate.

Li Hui, Amber Dragon, Neon and steel

Li Hui, Amber Dragon, Neon and steel

Two lots by neon and steel sculptor Li Hui (1977) were highly sought after and attracted across-the-room bidding. Both pieces were purchased by an Asian family who were active bidders in the preceding sale of South East Asian art. The family also acquired an acrylic on canvas by Japanese artist Hiroyuki Matsuura and another by Ryuki Yamamoto. Traditionally collectors’ interests cluster geographically and more often than not collectors prefer to buy their national artists though there have been signs of changes. Despite the recession there is still momentum  behind this trend of pan-Asia buying.

Chinese photography fluid bidding

A handful of photographs were scattered through the sale but the bulk was found in an eleven lot run in the middle.  This run featured sixties-born Chinese photographers such as Hai Bo, Hong Hao, Wang Qingsong, Huang Yan, Cang Xin and Sheng Qi who were active in the nineties and many of whom came to international prominence in 2004 with Christopher Phillips’ seminal exhibition Between Past and Future at the International Center of Photography in New York. Since then major US institutions have been collecting the work of this group as we reported in April 2009:

Hai Bo, Red Guard, Chromogenic Print and Gelatin Silver Print

Hai Bo, Red Guard, Chromogenic Print and Gelatin Silver Print

The J. Paul Getty Museum is the latest institution to add works by Chinese contemporary artists to its holdings. Others include New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which recently acquired 28 works for its photography collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Brooklyn Museum, as well as global institutions such as the Tate and the Pompidou Center.

“The acquisition of these works (Wang Qingsong, Hai Bo) affirms an important new direction for the Getty,” says noted photography dealer and collector Daniel Wolf, who helped establish the museum’s collection in the 1980s. “It reflects an interest in expanding the collection in this category.”

Prices were affordable and bidding was fluid. While editions were limited to the 8-20 range and many of the lots were made up of multiple images, sales were made at estimates which were surprisingly affordable. Most lots sold for between HK$40-75,000. Wang Qingsong’s triptych photograph Past Present, Future which sold at estimate for HK$260,000 was the exception.  One buyer snapped up several lots.

One upset was lot 765 by Cao Fei which was passed in. Her works are inspired by the internet, video games, role-playing and the virtual world and she has received wide coverage in London and beyond after a recent show at Battersea Power Station organised in conjunction with the Serpentine Gallery.

Japanese and Korean art

The sale was dominated by Chinese artists but there was a run of cartoon-style art, many by young Japanese artists, a third of the way through the sale which sold at prices HK$50-150,000. Heavyweight Japanese artists were priced much higher but did not always sell or meet the estimate.  Yoshimoto Nara’s It’s Everything sold at HK$3.3m compared with an estimate of HK$3.8-HK$5m. Work by Yoshitaka Amano (described by Time Out as ”the Japanese anime legend behind the Final Fantasy video game” and who attracted spirited phone bidding in the spring sale 2009) was passed in. Takashi Murakami was the exception achieving HK$520,000 for an untitled 1/50 edition screenprint carrying an estimate of just HK$50-70,000. Korean works also achieved mixed results.

Long long auction

The final run of 11 lots saw 6 passes despite affordable prices. This result is probably not worth analysing in depth as it likely had more to do with the numbing length of the 4-5 hour 2 auctioneer sale which saw a packed room of 200 or so dwindle away to 30 or 40 tired stalwarts at what felt like the dog-end of the sale. Perhaps Sotheby’s who charged for coffee and catalogues again this year is still in cost-slashing mode. Let’s hope that by next year there will be enough new money supply for a return to more coffee breaks and free coffee.

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Cai Guoqiang, Cao Fei, Cartoon, China, Chinese, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Artists, Japanese, Korean, Li Hui, Market watch, Photography, Sculpture, Takashi Murakami, Xu Bing, Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitaka Amano, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Huan, Zhang Xiaogang | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Luck for Sothebys at Southeast Asian auction 2009 in Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on April 7, 2009


SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART AUCTION

Summary:

  • 138 lots, 106 sold, sell through rate 77%
  • Cheapest lots (under US$15,000) were overlooked in favour of more expensive works by better known artists
  • 95 contemporary, remainder modern
  • Thin attendance
  • Prices slashed by Sothebys – estimates drop more than 50%
  • Sale dominated by Indonesian works
  • Ronald Ventura and I Nyoman Masriadi drew surprisingly frenzied bidding
  • I Nyoman Masriadi achieved the highest prices, albeit much lower than in 2008, 3 of his works appeared in the top 10 for the sale. His not dissimilar sale-topping works (Negotiation 2009 and The Final Round 2008) showed more than 75% drop between Spring 2009 and Autumn 2008.
I Nyoman Masriadi Negosiasi

I Nyoman Masriadi Negosiasi

Empty seats

Half the seats were empty at the start of the thinly attended the 138 lot auction of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art which kick-started the Sotheby’s series of 2009 Spring sales in Hong Kong. As the 18 or so grim-faced Sotheby’s staff at the telephone bank surveyed the 60 or more empty seats, there was a gluey air of tension.

The first 12 lots of the 95 contemporary works on sale, most at estimates of well under US$15,000, saw gentle bidding but thanks to much coaxing by veteran auctioneer Quek Chin Yeow, all but two ( works by Indonesian artists Eko Nugroho and Dikdik Sayahdikumullah) scraped the estimates and sales were achieved.

The room relaxed and bidding picked up for the next 20 or so lots (13-33) with particular interest shown in:

  • Rodel Tapaya (b 1980) Donsadat and the Magic Dog which sold over estimate for HK$90,000 (excl premium) after a tussle between 2 phone bidders and the room
  • M Irfan (b 1972) The Artifact of Magic which attracted 4 bidders and achieved a price of HK$235,000 (excl premium) against a top estimate of HK$180,000.
  • Yunizar (b 1971) Texs III sold at HK$210,000 against its higher estimate of HK$180,000.

In a dramatic twist this was followed by a run of half a dozen passes and barely-made sales. The first lot called My God offered by  heavyweight Agus Suwage (b.1959 Indonesia) almost fell victim to the new twitchiness but just scraped by to achieve its lower estimate of HK$220,000.

Catalogue-featured lots

Lot 40, the first of the 5 catalogue-featured lots, Lost Notes by Rudi Mantofani, a stunning sculpture of two guitars curved to form a circle, more than met expectations by achieving a price one third higher than estimate. In a testament perhaps to the power of deeper catalogue marketing, the other featured works also did well:

  • lot 58 I Nyoman Masriadi‘s (b 1973 Indonesia) painting Negotiation – this acrylic featuring two cowboys facing off,  turned out to be the star lot  and achieved the highest price in the sale when 4 phone and 2 room bidders pushed the price up to  HK$1.4m against a top estimate of $800,000. However this was a mighty fall of over 75% compared with the price achieved for a similar work The Final Round autumn 2008. Negotiation  fetched just HK$1.7m (US$217,000) including premium, less than a quarter of the US$1 million price tag for the Boxers.
  • lot 67 FX Harsono (b 1949) Tracing the Past achieved its estimate at HK$175,000

Handiwirman Saputra, Soap, Aluminium, 20x100cms

Handiwirman Saputra, Soap, Aluminium, 20x100cms

  • lot 75 Handiwirman Supatra‘s pink-painted aluminium sculpture Soap achieved a price (HK$300,000) double its top estimate. Originally conceived as a commissioned group of works for Novotel Hotel in Indonesia this was Supatra’s first large-scale sculpture project. Aside from the artist’s one-off, there are 4 versions of the work each in a unique colour.
  • lot 88 Ronald Ventura‘s (b 1973) Oh Boy painting – this lot saw the most exciting bidding . The fast-paced overlapping bids keeping the ever-ebullient auctioneer Chin Yeow on his toes and prompted a happy quip about there being ‘no recession’ now.
Ronald Ventura Oh Boy

Ronald Ventura Oh Boy

Lucky 88 for Ronald Ventura

8 is a lucky number in China and it was certainly lucky for Sotheby’s because the lot marked a turning point. After a poor 12 lot run (lots 76-87) in which there were 6 passes and the remainder just meeting the lower estimates, Ronald Ventura‘s lot 88 galvanised the room with its spray gun pre-recession-style bidding from more than a dozen bidders. The remainder of the contemporary artworks in the sale – lots 89-95 – all sold well despite having some of the highest prices in the sale (all over HK$100,000). Ahmad Zakii Anwar Silent City 8 (8 again!) sold at estimate despite a previous pass for a work located earlier in the sale. The other 6 lots by heavyweight artists – Geraldine Javier, Handiwirman Saputra, I Nyoman Masriadi and Yunizar with prices considerably higher than most of the works earlier in the sale (estimates in the HK$100,000 to HK$400,000 range) – all sold with comfortable margins over estimates.

No upsets

Other lots which drew notable interest included lot 13 Jumaldi Alfi‘s painting The Falls which saw goood bidding and achieved a price of HK$270,000 against estimate HK$230,000 and  lot 75 M Irfan‘s (b 1972) Maneuver. 3 room bidders pushed up the price to HK$130,000 against its top estimate of HK$90,000.

There were no major upsets but some passes were surprising including lot 19, an untitled work by Handiwirman Saputra, lot 46 Putu Sutawijaya‘s untitled painting and lot 50 Dadang Christanto‘s work Pilgrim Project 2. Agus Suwage had 2 works in the sale, both did sell but only just.

Happy faces

The auctioneers were clearly happy and entertained the room with  jaunty banter. When Kevin Ching, CEO of Asia – known for tongue in cheek bawdiness – placed a bid on Vasan Sitthiket‘s ‘American Wet Dream’, the irrepressible auctioneer Chin Yeow who jokingly refused to refer to the painting by name because it ‘is too rude’, cheekily teased his colleague saying “Not a surprise from Kevin Ching”. “What do you mean?” deadpanned Ching right back.

And happy they deserve to be. Although this sale had one of the lower sell-through rates of the Sothebys 2009 Spring sales due to an excess of cheaper works by lesser known artists, the strategy of presenting predominantly Indonesian works by preferred artists was clearly aimed to please and did please an established clientele: a small number of deep-pocketed Indonesian collectors of Chinese origin and other hard core collectors. And what might the future hold?  Maybe deeper catalogue marketing, fewer works by lesser known artists and perhaps we will see a few more 8s sprinkled amongst the lot numbers next autumn.

Notes:

  • prices exclude buyers’ premium.
  • Exchange rate HK$7.7 = US$1.
  • All artists named are Indonesian except Ronald Ventura and Geraldine Javier from the Philippines

Related links: Bloomberg’s report

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Posted in Auctions, China, Filipino, Hong Kong, Indonesian, Market watch | 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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Chinese, Indian leading artists fail to sell at Sotheby’s Asian Art evening sale October 2008

Posted by artradar on October 5, 2008


Kang Hyung-Koo

Kang Hyung-Koo

 

 

 

REPORT FROM THE AUCTION ROOM

Big name Chinese and Indian artists and several premium lot artworks failed to sell at Sotheby’s October 2008 evening sale of contemporary and modern Asian art but the sale pointed to a new trend of enthusiastic collecting interest in South East Asian art.

Sotheby’s presented its first evening sale of Asian art in Hong Kong 4 October 2008 following Christie’s lead in the Spring auctions. Although Sotheby’s was more aggressive in the number of lots offered (Sotheby’s 47, Christie’s 32), Sotheby’s sale was generally a more diverse cautious offering compared with Christie’s. Sotheby’s presented:

  • artworks covering more time periods (Sotheby’s contemporary and modern, Christie’s contemporary only)
  • artworks from more geographical markets ( Both: Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Sotheby’s added Filipino and Indonesian)
  • a greater price range at Sothebys with given estimates ranging from US$13,000 to more than US$3.85 million (Christie’s lowest given estimate was US$64,100 and ranged up to US$3.2m).

The results however could not have been more different. While Christie’s sale was a resounding success Sotheby’s sold only 28 of the 47 lots on offer.

The auction room was packed with all of the 200 or so seats taken and though more seats were brought in 30-40 people had to remain standing at the back. There were two rows of Sothebys staff (30-40 people) taking telephone bids. The auction room hummed with anticipation and got off to a roaring start with the first two lots. Filipino artist Ronald Ventura’s ‘Pinamumugaran’ attracted furious bidding and achieved a price of US$230,000 ex premium compared with estimates in the range US$13,000 to US$23,000. The next lot Indonesian artist Handiwirman Saputra’s ‘Mental Series No 8’ estimated at US$25,000- US$40,000 was also successful and eventually sold for US$140,000 ex premium.

Enthusiasm quickly waned during the next two lots of Indian art: lot 3 by  Thukral and Tagra just exceeded the estimate and lot 4 by Jagannath Panda missed its estimate.

The first big upset was lot 5 Subodh Gupta’s ‘Untitled’ estimated at US$1.5 – 2million. Known as the leading Indian contemporary artist Gupta was the first Indian contemporary artist to be included in international auction sales. Sotheby’s had high hopes for this lot but it failed to meet the reserve and went unsold. This set the tone for the next 7 lots; although the works were by  big name Indian and Chinese contemporary artists only 2 (Zhang Xiaogang and Feng Zhengjie) sold just scraping the bottom end of the estimates.

I Nyoman Masriadi

I Nyoman Masriadi

The remainder of the sale was slow and bidding was sticky apart from a couple of bright spots. Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi’s ‘Sorry Hero, Saya Lupa’ estimated at US$48 – 75,000 attracted wide bidding from the room and phones and was finally sold for over US$500,000. Other artists who attracted several bidders and sold above estimates included Korean artists Lee Bul and Kang Hyung-Koo and Indonesian artists Agus Suwage and Affandi.

Contemporary Chinese artists who failed to sell any works in the sale included Liu Wei, Wang Guangyi, Tang Zhigang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yan Pei-ming, Feng Lijun. Chinese Moderns were not spared and lots by Liao Jichun, Chang Yu, Zhu Dequn were not sold. Other Asian artists who were not successful included Indians Subodh Gupta, Justin Ponmany, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and founder of new media art Nam June Paik.

Some commentators suggest that this sale has been less successful because it coincides with a structural turning point in buyers’ tastes which are speculative and fad-led by nature and that interest in Chinese contemporary art has been replaced with a new enthusiasm for Korean and South East Asian art.

Fads aside, the correlation between prices of works and demand is certainly striking demonstrating a new price sensitivity by buyers of Asian art. September’s financial meltdown is no doubt the leading cause of the many failures in this sale but other factors may also be involved. The number of auctions and fairs has exploded in the last two years providing excess supply of art just when demand is reducing. This Sotheby’s auction competes with the concurrent Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair in which art is shown by over 80 galleries in 5000 sq metres of space on the floor above Sotheby’s sale at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Sotheby’s sale also overlaps with Korea’s leading auction house Seoul Auction’s first auction in Hong Kong which is offering high quality Korean Japanese Chinese and Western modern and contemporary works.

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Sotheby’s to Move Asian Art Auctions to Hong Kong from New York – Bloomberg

Posted by artradar on August 14, 2008


 

AUCTION MARKET WATCH Sotheby’s said it will cease holding auctions of Asian contemporary art in New York and “consolidate” them instead in Hong Kong, with biannual sales in the Asian city.

Sotheby’s said it will organize dedicated auctions of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian art in April and October in Hong Kong, starting next year. Its Sept. 17 sale of such Asian works in New York will be its last in the city, said Rhonda Yung, Sotheby’s Hong Kong-based spokeswoman, in an interview. The decision doesn’t preclude sales of batches of Asian artworks at its New York, Paris and London auctions, Yung said.

The move by the U.S. auction house tracks that of London- based rival Christie’s International, which held Asia’s first major evening sale of the region’s contemporary works in Hong Kong in May. Artist Zeng Fanzhi’s painting of masked Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution era fetched a Chinese contemporary-art record of HK$75.4 million ($9.7 million) at Christie’s inaugural sale.

“It’s a shrewd decision,” said Tian Kai, a Beijing-based contemporary-art dealer. “While Europe still has the top collectors of Asian contemporary art, being in Hong Kong shows Sotheby’s commitment to a growing market.”

Tian said Christie’s has about 60 percent of the Asian contemporary-art auction market, while Sotheby’s has 40 percent. Christie’s has a “good but not insurmountable” lead over Sotheby’s in that market, Tian said.

“It has become increasingly evident that contemporary Asian works have consistently fetched the highest prices at auction in Hong Kong,” said Kevin Ching, Sotheby’s Hong Kong-based chief executive officer, in a statement.

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