MARKET READY FOR WORKS BY PIONEERS OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
Strong showing for Southeast Asian old masters making up over 80% of overall sales
Seventy-five percent of works on offer sold at prices significantly above estimates; S$1.8million auction sales tripled forecasts based on pre-sale estimates of lots sold
New record for most expensive work by Arie Smit’s ‘Balinese Village and Farm Lands’, which hammered at S$169,200 and “A Lazy Afternoon” the most expensive Beynon, Jan Daniel work ever sold in any auction in the last decade
Singapore, 14 March 2011 - Larasati’s Traditional, Modern & Contemporary auction on Saturday, 12 March was a true validation of the continued rise of the pioneers of Southeast Asian art and that the Singapore market is ready for them. The old masters contributed to over 80% of overall sales with the top five selling works by established modern and Indo-European masters, Arie Smit, Hendra Gunawan, Lee Man Fong and Beynon, Jan Daniel. Hammering off at S$169,200, Arie Smit’s ‘Balinese Village and Farm Lands’ was the most expensive painting sold at any auction by the artist to date. An indication of the buoyant market and the healthy appetite for good artworks, the auction achieved S$1.8 million in sales (including premium) – three times above sales forecasts based on the pre-sale price estimates of the lots that were sold.
The auction saw 75% of the 90 lots on auction sold to 120 registered bidders and a record number of phone bidders - about half were calling in to vie for the lots. Buyers’ spirits were at all time high as bidding drama was clearly in the air from bidders on the sale room and phone bidders as price wars emerged not only for the highly-anticipated star pieces by Hendra Gunawan and Lee Man Fong.
Remarkable performance by old masters
Most expensive lot, “Gembala Kebau” by Hendra Gunawan saw highly contested bids between phone bidders and buyers on the sale floor, finally fetching 288,000, about five times over its starting bid
Lee Man Fong’s “Satay Seller” ended the auction on a high note when it sold for S$220,800, 631% above price estimate, the most expensive in the entire “Satay Seller” series of artworks by Lee Man Fong to date.
Sale room witnessed a fierce bidding competing for Jan Daniel Beynon’s “A Lazy Afternoon” but some eager buyers from phone and sale room then brought the price up hence sold to a phone bidder for S$ 158,400 and drawing strong applause from the crowd. This makes “A Lazy Afternoon” the most expensive Beynon ever sold in any auction in the last decade. The top performer of the day was “Two Young Balinese Girls with Flowers in their hair” by Sonnega Auke, a Dutch artist who spent many years living in Indonesia, which sold for S$44,400, an impressive 740% above the starting bid of S$6,000.
Industry insights - What now?
Commenting on the success of his latest auction, Daniel Komala, CEO of Larasati Auctioneers, said, “Clearly, with Asia bouncing back strongly from the recession, the art market is bullish and there is strong appetite for good art by buyers to enhance their collection and sharpen alternative investments portfolio. We had this in mind when putting together this collection to focus on quality and rare works by distinguished artists. The encouraging results show us that the Singapore market is ready for refined albeit smaller boutique collections. Our collections year after year are testament to a strong demand and growing interest for Asian art both for established old masters and our new discoveries - the up-and-coming contemporary artists.”
Industry insights – Is there still room for contemporary art?
Although it was the old masters who stole the show, contemporary artists such as Takashi Murakami put up a good fight. Bidders were eager to snap up all five of his pieces on sale with all of his pieces hammering off over price estimate. His three print series, “Kansei Korin Gold”, “With reference, I lay myself before you –Korin - Chyrsantheum” and “Warhol, Silver” sold for S$12,600, five times over the starting bid.
Still a believer in contemporary art, Martha Gunawan, avid art collector and gallery owner whose personal collection exceeds a few hundred artworks, bought three works by Takashi Murakami and a mixed media piece by up-coming Korean artist, Heo Wook to add to her collection. Her purchases from last Saturday auction also included works by Hendra Gunawan and Antonio Blanco.
Sharing her view on the trends in Southeast Asian art, she said: “I have collected art for more than 30 years now and I believe that it is time for the old masters to be in the limelight. Many contemporary pieces are priced so high while some the works by some old masters are still undervalued, hence I bought the Gunawan and Blanco works. While I continue to be on the lookout for good quality pieces by the old masters I do keep in mind the value of works by upcoming artists. Larasati auctions are a good place to spot market trends as well as young emerging talent as they provide a platform for these newer and up-coming artists to showcase their works and this is the reason I keep coming back. I had excellent buys today but am disappointed that I missed out on some great pieces including Arie Smit’s ‘Balinese Village and Farm Lands’ and Hendra Gunawan’s ‘Gembala Kerbau’ because there was just too much competition on the bidding floor, with Arie Smit’s piece going for close to five times the price estimate!”