Art sales highlight flourishing Asian market

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 November, 2010, 12:00am

Another month, another busy week in Asia's increasingly hectic art calendar.

At least six art auctions and sales are set to hit Hong Kong and this time it is Western works of art that are grabbing the attention of the region's buyers.

At Christie's week-long autumn sale at the Convention and Exhibition Centre which runs until next Thursday, two Western paintings due to be offered in the Old Master and 19th Century art sale in New York in January are on display - the first time the auction house has shown paintings in this category in Hong Kong.

The two works - View of Mestre by Italian master Canaletto, with a presale estimate of between US$2.5 million and US$3.5 million, and Master of Hounds by French painter Jean-Leon Gerome, which is expected to fetch between US$700,000 and US$1 million - are on exhibit during the auction period. Simultaneously, Sotheby's is to hold its inaugural selling exhibition of Impressionist and Modern art in Hong Kong at the Grand Hyatt from today till Sunday.

The 21 paintings on show, priced between HK$15.6 million and HK$196 million, include works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pablo Picasso as well as Marc Chagall.

Korean auction house Seoul Auction will also stage a selling exhibition of Impressionist and Modern art from tomorrow till Monday at Pacific Conference Centre, while Est-Ouest Auctions of Japan is offering some Picasso works alongside some Modern pieces at its fine art sale today at JW Marriot. United Asian Auctioneers, a consortium formed by Beijing Hanhai Auction, One East Larasati from Singapore, K Auction from Korea and Asian Art Auction Alliance based in Hong Kong, will offer works by Andy Warhol and British artist Julian Opie, alongside many other Asian contemporary art pieces at tomorrow's sale at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre. The influx of Western art to the Hong Kong market is a response to Asian buyers' increasing interest in expanding their art collections.

Christie's Asia chairman Ken Yeh said he had observed a significant increase in the number of mainland buyers participating in New York and London sales, bidding for Impressionist and Modern paintings priced from US$10 million to US$20 million.

He said most mainland buyers bought Impressionist and Modern art as investors and collectors.

Additional reporting by Kevin Kwong