Publication promotes understanding and appreciation among collectors and fans SINCE 1971, galleries, dealers, museums, collectors and students have relied on arts and antiques magazine Arts of Asia as a reference tool. With in-depth articles, stunning images and the latest auction saleroom news, it has built a strong reputation both locally and overseas. Publisher, editor and founder Tuyet Nguyet first conceived the idea for the bi-monthly in 1969 after her brother died in the Vietnam War. She found herself always thinking about the war and when she browsed antique shops discovered 'a whole world of beauty'. 'My life was enriched,' she said. 'And I wanted to share this joy with others in a useful and enduring way.' With her interest in Asian art and antiques, contacts and a journalistic background, a magazine promoting Asian art and antiques seemed the most appropriate medium to achieve this. A preview issue of the magazine was published in 1970, followed by the first issue in January 1971. 'My goal was to publish a first-class magazine on Asian art and antiques that would promote an understanding, appreciation and love of Asian art and antiques across people of all races.' In her first editorial, she wrote: 'Arts of Asia is the only English-language publication for collectors, art students, connoisseurs and investors in Asia. Through Arts of Asia the great wealth of scholarship (knowledge) in the realm of Asian art, and information on the latest regional art trends, becomes available for the first time to a worldwide audience'. Her husband Stephen Markbreiter, the magazine's associate editor, was convinced that the concept would work and he helped finance the magazine for the first five years. 'It took fours years to break even, largely because we had high production costs that included printing on the finest A1-grade art paper from Japan to ensure the quality of our lavish images, and the cost of mailing so many copies overseas,' Mrs Nguyet said. It took 10 years of hard work for the magazine to be successfully established and recognised as a leading source of information on Asian art and antiques. There have been many defining moments in its long history, including convincing British auction house Sotheby's to establish a presence in Hong Kong 33 years ago. 'Sotheby's would promote the coming auctions of important works of art through advertisements in the magazine and this helped Arts of Asia become better known,' she said. Sotheby's director, China and Southeast Asia and head of the Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art department, Nicolas Chow, said: 'Arts of Asia has an unparalleled understanding of the local and international Asian arts scene. The magazine's commitment to promoting the arts has spanned three decades and its involvement in almost every significant event in the field during all those years testifies to its influence in the world of Asian art.' He said the magazine strongly supported Sotheby's first venture in Hong Kong in 1973 and had reported on every auction since - in Hong Kong, London and New York. 'The saleroom news covers three decades of Asian art and this in itself offers the readers an unparalleled insight into this fascinating and dynamic market.' The magazine began to have a real influence on the Asian arts and antiques market after it invited Christie's to establish a presence in Hong Kong, which it did in 1986, Mrs Nguyet said. This influence was largely due to the coverage of all saleroom news, often with buyers' details. She said many collectors felt Arts of Asia was a vital resource for a wide variety of topics relating to Asian art and culture. 'From Arts of Asia, many people have learned about specific collecting categories, exhibitions, and the most important individuals in each field, be it collectors, dealers or academics,' said Pola Antebi, senior vice-president and head of the Chinese ceramics and works of art department at Christie's. 'The magazine allows collectors, dealers and academics to remain current by reading about the auction reviews. Additionally, Mrs Nguyet's coverage of the many fairs and symposia she attends around the world each year keeps her readers well informed.' The magazine has also influenced collectors' interest, buying trends and even prices. A September 2002 article on snuff bottles is a good example. Shortly after the issue came out, the items rose in price by 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Contributors to the magazine have included learned artists, museum curators, collectors and academics. This has added to the credibility of the magazine. Mrs Nguyet said articles must be easy to understand so the content was readily assimilated by all readers. The magazine receives many submissions and many are turned down. Publishing only six issues a year means the magazine can afford to be selective. Mrs Nguyet said it was the only specialist Asian art magazine that had international distribution and, due to this and because of its reputation, many people wanted to be published in the magazine. 'Right from the start the magazine has been a winning formula and we have not changed it too much over the years. Readers love the covers, the informative editorial and the clear presentation of the scholarly articles, not to mention the exquisite images,' she said.