Western art dealers bringing the works of Impressionist and modern masters as well as rare art deco jewellery to Hong Kong are pinning their hopes on Asian buyers amid the slow market in the West.
Opening today, the Fine Art Asia fair shows works from East and West at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
London's Gladwell & Co, showing for the second time at the antique and modern art fair, has brought more than 40 paintings, including Claude Monet's 1878 Pommiers en Fleurs, priced at HK$66.3 million.
The family-run gallery also brought works by Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir as well as contemporary realist artists, with an estimated total worth of £30 million (HK$375 million).
Glenn Fuller of the gallery hopes to continue to cultivate the client base in Asia. He said the gallery had Hongkongers and mainlanders as clients, but also expatriates and collectors from Southeast Asia.
M.S. Rau Antiques from New Orleans joins the fair for the first time. The gallery has brought a wide range of works from fine jewellery to paintings by Western names, including a still life by Vincent van Gogh circa 1884-1885, which has a price tag of more than HK$46.6 million.
The gallery's president William Rau said it had had more business with mainland clients in recent years, which prompted him to try the Hong Kong fair.
"They are looking for paintings by Impressionist big names. We have sold works worth from over a million US dollars to those priced at US$7,000 to $8,000," Rau said.
He said Chinese buyers were keen on rare gemstones.
More rare Western vintage fine jewellery is on show this year. Jan van Kranendonk Duffels from Antwerp, Belgium, is showing pieces from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th.
New York dealer Siegelson, at the fair for a second time, has a range of vintage clocks made with precious gems and innovative designs in addition to jewellery, including an art deco Cartier clock from the 1920s, priced at more than HK$14.6 million. The gallery's president Lee Siegelson said it was hoped the selection would attract more Chinese.
Other than Western fine art and Chinese antiques, the fair also shows installation works by eight Hong Kong contemporary artists under the project: Ancient Contemporary.
Hong Kong artist Hung Keung showed an interactive video installation featuring strokes from a mixture of traditional and simplified Chinese characters. "I want to show the ambiguity of Hong Kong identity," Hung said.
The fair runs until Sunday.