Big night for connoisseurs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 November, 2011, 12:00am


Wing Tai Properties hit a high note with its 'Timeless Treasures' event at the prestigious luxury residence Forfar in Kowloon Tong.

More than 200 guests, including top company executives and entrepreneurs, were treated to an evening of rare art, fine wine and expert investment insights.

The event, co-organised by SCMP Marketing Services, featured advice on alternative investment opportunities from Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby's Asia, Jeannie Cho Lee, master of wine and founder of, and Nicole Schoeni, director of Schoeni Art Gallery.

Forfar's clubhouse, Grand Mansion, was transformed into a stately home with a display of Chinese contemporary art by such masters as Yue Minjun and Wang Yidong, courtesy of Schoeni.

The exhibition also occupied Forfar's premium units, a penthouse triplex of 4,502 sqft and a top-floor 3,662 sqft duplex.

Anita Chan, director of sales and marketing at Wing Tai, says: 'We have partnered with SCMP Marketing Services to organise the event at Forfar, featuring Sotheby's, Asian Palate and Schoeni, because we all appeal to the same elite niche market segment.'

The ambience of Grand Mansion radiates romance and grandeur, while at the same time feels cosy. It is like an extension of the individual residences at Forfar, an iconic landmark in Kowloon Tong, Chan adds.

'We think it is the perfect setting for this event where connoisseurs savour the finest delights in life. There is a mutual enhancement of the respective beauty of premier residences and works of art. These connoisseurs see that Forfar residences are treasured collectors' items among local luxury properties.'

'Timeless Treasures' was a sequel to the successful Baccarat Crystal Spectacular at Forfar. 'We aimed to share appreciation of fine arts and wine with our readers and potential property buyers,' says Sylvia Lee, head of SCMP Marketing Services. 'On display are the fascinating paintings and sculptures from Schoeni, which give participants ideas about how fine arts blend into our homes and become part of our daily lives.' Ching shared his insights about the essential factors determining the value of art, including impeccable provenance, the condition of pieces and their historical importance. He illustrated his points with some record-breaking sales achieved by the auction house.

Schoeni says art could be a good alternative investment tool.

'As stocks go down, the value of art may go down as well. The difference is that stocks and equities are just numbers on the computer screen, whereas art is something tangible that you can enjoy. If you acquire very carefully, not only will your art works maintain their value, they will also become part of your family's legacy.'

The skyrocketing prices of Chinese contemporary art in the 1990s grabbed a lot of attention worldwide.

One of the headliners is Yue Minjun, who was first represented by the late Manfred Schoeni.

One of Yue's paintings was originally sold for HK$150,000 in the late 1990s and eventually fetched HK$50 million at auction in 2008. 'Not every artist will give investors such high a return and there are only a handful of paintings up to that grade. But you never know. You might find the next Yue Minjun by collecting and supporting a young artist,' Schoeni says.

Jeannie Cho Lee gave an overview of the global investment market for fine wines. Although the 'blue-chip' market for Bordeaux has seen a downturn, the five-year trend for the global fine-wine market is on the rise, sustained by the booming luxury market in Asia.

Upbeat about Bordeaux wines, Lee believes Lafite will continue to dominate. 'Lafite is still in a class of its own,' she says. 'The most promising wines to watch are still in France, mostly in Bordeaux. But Burgundy is also growing.'

Among the Chinese contemporary works of art on display, Wang Yidong's painting, Back to Mother's Home, attracted attention and many visitors took pictures of it. 'Wang is considered one of the best living realism artists,' Schoeni says. 'With his technique, he can probably complete four paintings a year and they are very hard to acquire.

His paintings are mainly available at auctions. Back to Mother's Home is available for HK$9 million, the priciest among all those exhibited.

For the duplex, Schoeni selected Li Hongbo's Safe Series - Continuous Happiness, an installation with Ming-style vases recreated in paperwork.

'Because the living room is a nice open space, I think it would be fun to display the installation there,' Schoeni says.

Meanwhile, Jeannie Cho Lee selected the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, a vibrant white wine from Marlborough.

'It is refreshing and fruity. It goes beautifully with tonight's canap?s, which feature a lot of seafood and fresh herbs,' Lee says.

The 2006 Les Tourelles de Longueville, Chateau Pichon Longueville's second wine, was also a crowd-pleaser.

'This five-year old second wine from Pauillac, Bordeaux is mellow and rounded and goes nicely with any kind of hors d'{oelig}uvre.'

The event ended with a lucky draw. Prizes included a HK$10,000 print by Jiang Guofang, courtesy of Schoeni and tickets to the exclusive master class and blind tasting conducted by renowned wine writer Robert Parker.

Wing Tai also arranged for guests to go on private guided tours of Forfar's duplex and triplex. Each of them features a private swimming pool and terrace - 1,094 sq ft for the duplex and 1,029 sq for the triplex - and has commanding views of Victoria Harbour.