Press Release

Sotheby’s to Stage its First Auction of Modern and Contemporary Art in Singapore

Testament to Growing Importance of Collectors in the City-State & To Sotheby’s Continued Pan-Asian Outlook

With Recent and Forthcoming Initiatives in China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam

Modern & Contemporary Auction
To Take Place at The Regent Hotel, Singapore on 28 August 2022
With a Preview Exhibition from 25-27 August
Hendra Gunawan’s Fish Market on the Beach, 1980, oil on canvas, 140 x 234 cm
We are excited to stage this first-of-a-kind auction in Singapore, showcasing art that resonates with the region’s deep collector base and celebrating the diversity that characterises Southeast Asia.
Nathan Drahi, Managing Director, Sotheby's Asia

Sotheby’s Singapore, 22 July 2022: This Summer, Sotheby’s will hold its first auction of Modern & Contemporary Art in Singapore* - a response both to the ever-increasing demand from a growing collector base in the region, and to the company’s commitment to maintaining an active on-the-ground presence across the APAC region. Works by some of the masters of Southeast Asian art will be presented alongside both established and younger international artists, creating a melting pot of East and Western influences that in turn reflects the cosmopolitan nature of the Singaporean society. The auction on August 28 will be livestreamed to the world via, with a preview exhibition also running from August 25-27 at the Regent Singapore [1 Cuscaden Road].

Testament to its commitment to growing opportunities across the region, the staging of the forthcoming sale in Singapore tallies with Sotheby’s broader approach of meeting clients wherever they are, while also taking its business model beyond the traditional selling centres. Last year, Sotheby’s staged its debut auction in Las Vegas and also opened galleries in Aspen, Monaco, East Hampton and Palm Beach.

Demand from collectors in Singapore, and from across the South East Asian region to which it is geographically central, has grown exponentially over recent years, with the number of Southeast Asian participants in Sotheby’s global sales increasing by almost 75% in the last five years.

The Sotheby’s sale will include works by a range of artists from across Asia, with a particular focus on South-East Asian art, complemented by a number of works by leading Western Artists. Among those appearing in the sale is Hendra Gunawan[1] – a leading figure of Indonesia’s art scene. A self-taught artist, Gunawan has a remarkable ability to monumentalize the humanity of Indonesia, often manifested by the dynamic gestures and expressions of the subjects and the delicate crafting of colours. The artist’s work will be shown alongside paintings by Vietnamese artist Le Pho[2], Singaporean artists Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng, Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo. Also included in the sale are works by international artists who had been influenced by Asian culture and embraced by Southeast Asian collectors, such as Chinese-French painter Chu Teh-Chun and as well as sought-after emerging Contemporary artists such as Spanish artist Rafa Macarron[3].

Collectors in Southeast Asia have been one of the key players in the international art scene for the past few years. Not only have they been actively participating in our global sales, but they have also demonstrated great enthusiasm and interest across the broader market. By staging this sale, Sotheby’s presents the latest market insights at their doorstep, bridging the region and the global market, providing more visibility for exceptional works by both traditional and up-coming artists.
Jasmine Prasetio, Managing Director, Sotheby’s Southeast Asia

The Singapore auction coincides with a number of other regional Sotheby’s initiatives:

Vietnam: Earlier this month, Sotheby’s staged the first ever international exhibition of Vietnamese Modern Art in Ho Chi Minh City, “Timeless Souls: Beyond the Voyage – Hồn Xưa Bến Lạ”.  The event was attended by more than 4,000 visitors over the four-day exhibition with Sotheby’s extending capacity repeatedly in order to fulfil the demand.

Mainland China: Recent appointment of Jean Qian as Managing Director, China. Based in Shanghai, Jean leads the China team to drive Sotheby’s local business expansion, spearheading strategic growth initiatives and growing its client base. Ahead of Hong Kong’s autumn sales, a series of exhibitions will travel to China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. This November, Sotheby’s will also return to China International Import Expo (CIIE) following a successful debut last year. Sotheby’s will also unveil the pillars of its local strategy to cater to the demand of a growing collector base powered by a new generation of collectors.

Japan: Earlier this year, Sotheby’s relocated its residence in Tokyo to be near the contemporary art scene district and to accommodate a larger meeting space for client visits and viewings.

South Korea: Plans soon to be revealed…

Sotheby’s Asia

Following hot on the heels of a record-setting year at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2021 - with an auction total HK$8.8bn / US$1.3bn - the recent Spring series achieved a combined HK$3.9bn / US$496m, the second highest total in company history for a sale series in Asia.

Looking more broadly, Asian collectors remain a strong force across all locations and categories, accounting for over a quarter of all bids by value in Sotheby’s worldwide sales so far this year. In the company’s most recent New York sales, Asian collectors bid on a quarter of the lots alone, and acquired a number of the top lots, including Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait offered as part of The Macklowe Collection Evening Auction.

* This marks the first auction by Sotheby’s in the city-state after 15 years. Sotheby’s has a long-established footprint in Singapore, having opened an office in the region in 1995. A year later, in 1996, the company launched its first sale of Southeast Asian paintings, which would then take place bi-yearly until 2007. Since then, Sotheby’s has continued to stage exhibitions in Singapore, including Zadok Ben-David at Singapore Botanic Gardens - A Selling Exhibition in 2012. This May, Sotheby’s also presented at auction WWF Tiger Trail which featured 33 life-sized tiger art sculptures, designed by renowned international and local artists, appearing against the backdrop of iconic Singapore landmarks. Proceeds from the auction went to support WWF’s tiger conservation work to protect forest habitats, support field rangers and engage local communities in Southeast Asia.

[1] The standing artist record sits with Sotheby’s, with his work Ali Sadikin Pada Masa Perang Kemerdekaan (Ali Sadikin During The Independence Struggle) sold at HK$33.2m/ US$4.3m in 2016 Hong Kong.
[2] After setting a new artist record for Le Pho in April, Sotheby’s now holds the top three auction prices for any Vietnamese artworks, leading the market in this category globally.
[3] In last year’s Hong Kong Autumn sale, Rafa Macarron achieved more than six times its high estimate with diptych, Rutina Fluor which sold for a record HK$4.3M / US$550,280.

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