How Singapore Became a Southeast Asian Art Market Hub

The art market is increasingly turning to Asia to attract new collectors, and Singapore is one of the most popular destinations. And that’s why Sotheby’s is holding a major auction there for the first time in 15 years.

Singapore is often called the Switzerland of Asia, thanks to its abundance of billionaires, favorable taxation and very high GDP per capita. It is therefore not surprising that the city-state has established itself as a veritable hub of the region’s art market.

Sotheby’s hopes to take advantage of Singapore’s status during the next sale of modern and contemporary art that the auction house is organizing there on August 28. According Artnet News, collectors will be able to bid for works by Asian artists such as Lê Phổ from Vietnam, Fernando Amorsolo from the Philippines and Hendra Gunawan from Indonesia. The latter artist was recently exhibited at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam as part of “Revolusi! Independent from Indonesia.

The auction will also include pieces by Western artists who are highly regarded in Southeast Asia, such as French-Chinese artist Chu Teh-Chun and Spanish artist Rafa Macarrón. The work of compatriot Pablo Picasso has recently seen an increase in value, as evidenced by the sale of a diptych titled “Rutina Fluor” at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for HK$4.3 million (about $548,000). More recently, another of his paintings, titled “Matilda”, sold for HK$4 million (about $510,000) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.

Destination Singapore and Seoul

This is the first time since 2007 that the auction house has held an auction in Singapore. Sotheby’s first established itself in Singapore in 1996, before turning to Hong Kong a decade later to further tap into the Asian art market. The continent has been in the spotlight for several years, as it has become a major area of ​​interest for buying and selling art. Western auction houses and art dealers are trying to approach Asian buyers by holding sales or opening branches in the region. “Southeast Asian collectors have been one of the key players on the international art scene,” Jasmine Prasetio, managing director of Sotheby’s Southeast Asia, told Artnet News. “By holding this evening sale, Sotheby’s brings the latest market information to their doorstep.”

Other art market behemoths such as Perrotin and Pace have set their sights on Seoul. Both galleries will soon open new spaces in the South Korean capital, as have their rivals Thaddaeus Ropac, König, Peres Projects and Gladstone Gallery in recent years. This phenomenon highlights the rise of South Korea in the art market. Despite this, the country is still far from equaling its neighbor, China, just like Singapore. But the two quickly catch up.

This story is published via AFP Relaxnews.

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