Press Release

Sotheby’s First Auction of Modern & Contemporary Art in Singapore Totals SG$24.5m / US$18m

Hong Kong
-  The Highest Total for Any Sale Held by Sotheby's in Singapore -

International Participation from 20 Countries
Led by
Walter Spies’s Tierfable (Animal fable)

New Auction Records Achieved for Georgette Chen & Michel Majerus
This weekend's sale shone a spotlight on the importance of Singapore as a vibrant hub for collectors, and we are thrilled to have received such fantastic support for our first auction in the city-state in fifteen years. There was a palpable energy and excitement in the busy saleroom, which was matched by fierce bidding from across the globe. The result surpassed our expectations and underlines the potential for Singapore and the Southeast Asia region as a whole.
Jasmine Prasetio, Managing Director, Sotheby’s Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE, 29 August 2022 - Sotheby’s first auction of Modern & Contemporary Art in Singapore* brought a robust total of SG$24.5m / US$18m, surpassing pre-sale expectations (estimate in the region of SG$18m / US$13m). This also marked the highest total for any sale held by Sotheby's in Singapore.

Held in response both to the ever-increasing demand from a growing collector base in the region, and to the company’s commitment to growing across the APAC region, the sale was led by a rare auction appearance of a work by Walter Spies, a fresh-to–the-market riverscape by Singaporean Modern Art pioneer Georgette Chen and a painting by Willem Gerard Hofker held in the same private collection for more than 25 years.


- Sale total: SG$24,459,120 / US$17,614,230 – the highest total for any sale held by Sotheby's in Singapore
- 47/50 (94%) of lots sold
- Almost half of the lots offered achieved prices exceeding their high estimates
- Over 60% of the lots attracted in-room bidding, and over 70% saw participation online
- Participation from 20 countries, with more than half the bidders coming from Southeast Asia region


New Artist Records:

- Boats and Shophouses, one of a handful of works by Georgette Chen to depict Singapore’s riverbanks, sold to a Southeast Asian collector for SG$2m / US$1.5m
- Michel Majeruso.T. (collaboration Nr. 8) attracted fierce international bidding, propelling the final sale price to a record SG$1.1m / US$798,500, more than triple its pre-sale estimate (est. SG$350,000– 480,000)

The Top Lot:

- Tierfabel (Animal fable) by Walter Spies was the top-selling lot, achieving SG$4m / US$2.9m - oil paintings by the artist rarely appear at auction; only 20 examples have come to the market in the past three decades

Additional Strong Results for Southeast Asian Art:

- Willem Gerard Hofker’s Melis, composition featuring Ni Dablig with Ni Gemblong with a boy behind the gender music instrument almost doubled its high estimate to achieve SG$2.3m / US$1.6m (est.SG$700,000-1,200,000) 

- Eight works by Vietnamese artist Le Pho were 100% sold, selling for a combined total of SG$2.4m / US$1.7m, led by Vietnamese Lady which achieved SG$781,200 / US$563,000 (est. SG$620-1m)

- All three works by Vietnamese artist Mai Trung Thu exceeded their estimates, led by Children playing, sold for SG$504,000 / US$363,000 (est. SG$280,000-420,000)

- Raghav Babbar - a young artist of Indian heritage, educated in Singapore, who studied at the Royal College of Art in London - made his auction debut with Memory is a permanent luxury which soared to SG$441,000 / US$318,000, 11x its pre-sale high estimate (est. SG$26,000-40,000)

- Spanning over two metres in width, Hendra Gunawan’s Fish market on the beach achieved an above-estimate SG$1.6m / US$1.2m (est. SG$950,000-1.2m) Aku yang dapat (I got it) by Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi sold for SG$352,000 / US$254,000 (est. SG$200,000-300,000

- Christine Ay Tjoe’s Pemandangan Biru 02 (View in blue 02) realised SG$352,800 / US$254,000 (est. SG$180,000-350,000)

- Two works by Fernando Cueto Amorsolo achieved prices beyond their high estimates: View of Manila Bay sold for SG$201,600 / US$145,000 (est. SG$80,000-120,000) and Fishermen brought SG$226,800 / US$163,000 (est. SG$50,000-70,000)

Further Standout Results

- Works by Contemporary Japanese masters performed strongly, led by Yayoi Kusama’s Red Nets (sold for SG$945,000 / US$681,000, est. SG$420,000-750,000)

- An untitled work on paper by MR. doubled its estimate, achieving SG$151,200 / US$109,000 (est. SG$55,000-75,000)

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