AWAKENING OF THE SLEEPING DRAGONS OF ASIAN ART - POWERFUL SHOWING OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN MASTERS
- Strong showing of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art: 67% of works on offer found buyers at good prices; contributing to 63% of overall auction sales
- Time for Southeast Asian art to shine: Five works by Indonesian master, Lee Man Fong, four of which belonged exclusively to a private collector and have never been auctioned before, sold after rounds of bidding. Others that did exceptionally well include I Nyoman Masriadi, R.E. Hartanto, Widayat and Nasirun
- Record number of bids by 145 bidders (including phone and written -bids) for the 157 lots on offer; Larasati’s 14th auction in Singapore recorded close to S$1.9million in sales (including premium), 16% higher than the March auction and 70% of lots sold
- Hong Kong and Singapore art, the next big thing? Sections performed well with all works by up-and-coming artists hammered off within minutes
Singapore, October 26, 2009 – Recession and tightening of the purse strings were far from the minds of the 145 bidders as close to 70% of the lots on offer were contested at Larasati’s 14th auction in Singapore at upcoming arts hub, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, yesterday. The auction netted almost S$1.9 million in overall sales (including premium), 16% higher than the last auction in March. Featuring one of the strongest showing by Southeast Asian artists, 67% of Southeast Asian lots on offer were sold. Optimism was clearly in the air as the four-hour auction ended on a high note when top performer of the day, “Boats at Kusamba” painting by Affandi, hammered off at S$126,000, 126% above the auction estimate.
Heroes of the day - Southeast Asian art
Exceeding expectations, Southeast Asian masters brought home the depth of their resilience in hard times, with works fetching prices above the auction estimates and garnering strong interest from bidders. Widely regarded as the forefather of Indonesian modern art, Lee Man Fong’s works were contested competitively by bidders on the floor, written bids and buyers on the phone. On the other hand, R. E. Hartanto’s “Post-North-Korea Nuclear Test #25” gained a new price record for mid-sized oil painting, fetching S$38,400 (including premium), about 256% above its auction estimate. Adding another stroke of confidence to Southeast Asian art, Indonesian artist, “Rampogan” by Indonesian artist, Nasirun, sold at S$11,760, more than twice the estimate.
Action in the sale room was at an all-high when both private collections themed, “Property of a Gentleman” featuring works of esteemed art buyers were exclusively available to auction-goers for the first time. Among the works on offer were mid-priced lots by the champion of Indonesian contemporary art, I Nyoman Masriadi – went above estimates, after rounds of intense bidding as auction goers watched with bated breath to see one of the artist’s works, “A New Threat” close at 177% above estimate, at S$97,200. Masriadi’s other work, “Rangda”, which hammered off at S$73,200 also set a new record for his earlier student works. Widayat’s “Bus Kota” painting hammered off at S$69,600, 120% above estimate.
Hong Kong and Singapore art may be the next big thing
Known for insights on Asian art trends and upcoming artists, the specially-curated sculptures and paintings by Hong Kong artists, including, Joe Joe Ngai, Yolanda Yeung, Mok Yat Sen and Man Fung Yi, who are all new to the auction scene, were sold out within 10 minutes. Similarly, the Singapore artists had a good showing, with all five lots on offer from four artists, including Andre Tan, Ketna Patel, Safaruddin and Terence Lin, finding buyers at the auction.
What collectors say
Sharing her views on why now is the best time to buy Asian and Southeast Asian art, Martha Gunawan, 57, art collector and art dealer, said: “I have collected art for more than 20 years now and I must say I am very heartened that many artists, especially the ones who truly deserve attention, did well at today’s auction. In fact, I bought several quality works which were reasonably priced. Being in the art industry myself, I am certainly encouraged that relatively young players like Larasati are investing in talks and workshops to educate the public. In addition, I always expect something more than the typical “stars of Asian art” at Larasati auctions as they have built a reputation around their ability to discover newer, up-and-coming artists with potential and it has paid off for them. It’s always very exciting to be part of their auction – whether as an onlooker, a seller or buyer.”
Larasati’s point of view
Commenting on the noteworthy performances of Southeast Asian art at yesterday’s auction, CEO of Larasati, Daniel Komala, said: “In spite of the downturn, we are still witnessing affluence in Asia, with many art buyers in the market still looking for good buys now. While prices are up, compared to the market when it bottomed out earlier this year, Southeast Asian artists are clearly leading the pack, in terms of interest, demand and price tag. Yesterday’s auction broke away from what the market predominantly offered – Chinese and Japanese art – but focussed on Southeast Asian works, and we have proved that many feel that now is a good time to invest in Southeast Asian artists who have been under the radar; under-rated and under-valued in earlier boom times.”
Komala added: “The global financial crisis has changed the Asian art industry in a significant way. What used to be the beacons of Asian Contemporary art is finding itself in a more competitive space and price gaps between Chinese and Southeast Asian artists are narrowing. Where before, some of the top Chinese artists can fetch around S$11 million, now, it would have dropped about 40 to 50%. On the other hand, the Southeast Asian art, though not immune to the market corrections, have emerged more resilient, with hammer prices up by 20 to 30% across the board. At our auction, I’m pleased to see that some of the Indonesian works going for double the estimate, a definite sign that the market is recovering, with confidence from collectors in the works we have specially selected for this auction.”
The next auction held by Larasati Auctioneers will be in Hong Kong on 29 November at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong from 2pm (preview starts 27 November from 1pm to 7pm and on 28 November, 10am to 8pm). Collaborating with three other auction houses, Larasati will be offering 40 boutique lots featuring works by masters like Affandi’s “Cock Fight”, Yi Hwan Kwon’s “Family Ties – Boy & Girl” as well as Ronald Venutra’s “Balloon” (pictures of artworks attached).