It is no surprise that Singapore’s long-established importance as a Southeast Asian hub for cross-cultural perspectives has made the city-state a hotbed of exchange and appreciation of art. This can be seen by the growing group of well-heeled collectors with the discretion and wherewithal to outbid the next bettor.
It’s no wonder, then, that renowned auction house Sotheby’s – founded by the British but now headquartered in the US – chose to hold a physical auction of modern and contemporary art in Singapore. after almost 15 years. The auction will be held at the Regent Singapore on August 28, featuring an eclectic mix of works centering on Southeast Asia’s rich cultural heritage (with a number of Western artists to even out the mix).
It’s all part of the auction house’s plan to, well, go where the money is. After all, demand from collectors in Southeast Asia – and particularly collectors in Singapore – has skyrocketed by nearly 75% in the past five years, according to Sotheby’s.
And there is still room to grow: the auctions of Asian collectors represent this year more than a quarter of the auction value on the world sales of Sotheby’s.
(Related: Sotheby’s bets on Picasso and Sanyu to conquer the Asian art market)
Contemporary art from around the world
Featured artists include Indonesian painter Hendra Gunawan, whose work is best described as a commemoration of the unique history of his homeland and the people who live there; as well as performances from Vietnam, the Philippines and Spain with Le Pho, Fernando Amorsolo and Rafa Macarron.
A duo of works by late Singaporean artists also make an appearance: painters Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng, both of whom played central roles in the development of the country’s modern art scene.
Even if you don’t plan to submit your own bid, go ahead – you can admire the art at the previous two-day exhibition, which will be held at the same location.
This exhibition takes place more than a decade after the auction house last exhibited here, shortly after establishing a regional office around 1995.
Jasmine Prasetio, Managing Director of Sotheby’s South East Asia, says: “South East Asian collectors have been one of the key players on the international art scene in recent years. Not only have they actively participated in our global sales, but they have also shown great enthusiasm and interest in the whole market. By organizing this sale, Sotheby’s brings the latest market insights to their doorstep, bridging the region with the global market, providing more exposure to exceptional works by traditional and emerging artists.
Other recent expansions include Sotheby’s first auction in Las Vegas last year, a number of galleries in Aspen, East Hampton, Palm Beach and Monaco; as well as a very successful pivot to live auctions amid the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic.
More information here.