Commodity, Equity and Financial markets have recovered substantially from the March panic lows. Asia and Brasil have led the world economy toward recovery, can Hong Kong lead the art market back to stability? That seems to be the strategy for South Korea’s Seoul Auction Co. which held its first sales in HK late last year. Bloomberg‘s Le-Min Lim tells the story:
A stock-market rebound in cities such as Hong Kong and China, fueled by economic recovery, is reviving interest in art purchases among wealthy Asians, said Misung Shim, managing director of Seoul Auction’s Hong Kong office. A prevailing economic slump in Europe and the U.S. has made Western art more affordable in recent months and helped spur Asian buying. […]
“Many Asian collectors have always understood and loved Western art,” said Shim, 41, in a telephone interview. “This happens to be a good time to buy.” […]
South Korea’s largest art-auction house, which held its first sale in Hong Kong on Oct. 7, said vividly colored works by established artists like Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein and Damien Hirst are especially popular.[…]
If the economic slump persists in Europe and the U.S., more works may flow to auctions in Asia. Works by Asian contemporary artists, including Anish Kapoor, are also gaining global acclaim and are increasingly sought after by buyers in the region, Shim said. Seoul Auction opened a Hong Kong office this month to expand in the city.The company, which has about 60 percent of South Korea’s market, competes with rivals like Christie’s and Sotheby’s outside the country, partly by offering lower commissions. Seoul Auction charges buyers staggered rates of 10 percent and 15 percent; Christie’s and Sotheby’s charge between 12 percent and 25 percent. The company asks sellers for about 10 percent in commission, though that’s subject to negotiation, Shim said.
Asian Collectors Seek Warhol’s Mao, Hirst Butterflies (Bloomberg)