Category Archives: Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auctions

Previewing Indonesian Modern & Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Spring Sale

The 1-5 April Sotheby’s Hong Kong Spring Sales, a highly anticipated auction on the 2017 global calendar, inevitably will draw increased global attention to the Asian region.

Sotheby’s first conducted sales in Hong Kong in 1972. For the first time however, works by iconic Western contemporary artists Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst will be presented during the 2 April Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

Affandi, Colosseum, Roma.Image courtesy sotheby's HK                             Lot 1047 Colosseum, RomaAffandi

For collectors of Indonesian modern art the following works will be of interest, especially Lot 1047 Colosseum, Roma. Painted in 1972, this is one of the three known depictions of the famous Roman amphitheater by Affandi, (1907-1990). Arguably Indonesia’s most important modernists Affandi was the first Indonesian to exhibit in the Venice Biennale in 1954.

Capturing afternoon sunlight emblazoning the arena, this rare work would compliment any Affandi connoisseurs collection, and has an estimated price between HKD 2,200,000 – 2,500,000 (Rp.378,070,000–601,480,000). Lot 1048, Barong, 1966, also by Affandi, has an estimated price between HKD 1,800,000-2,800,000 (Rp.3,091,880,000-4,809,600,000).

Lee Man Fong_Balinese Procession                               Lot 1024, Balinese ProcessionLee Man Fong

Lot 1021, The Lotus Pond, is by Belgian impressionist painter Adrien Jean le Mayeur (1880-1958), who fist settled on Bali in 1932. One of several pieces he left unfinished upon his death, it portrays Balinese beautiful women in, and surrounding a pond. It’s estimated price ranges between HKD 3,800,000 – 5,500,000 (Rp.6,527,310,000 –9,447,420,000).

Lee Man Fong, (b. Guangzhou 1913-1988) spent extended periods painting in Bali. Lot 1024, Balinese Procession is an excellent work, highlighted by his fusion of East and West styles with an estimated price between HKD 10,000,000-15,000,000 (Rp.17,177,100,000–25,765,700,000).

Hendra Gunawan_Cucu-Cucu Witarsa Mengenang Bintang PSSI. ALM. Djamiart Dhalhar (The Grandchildren of Witarsa Commemorating Indonesian Football Star, the late Djamiat Dhalhar)Lot 369,Cucu-cucu Witarsa Mengenang Bintang PSSI. Alm. Djamiart Dhalhar (The Grandchildren of Witarsa Commemorating Indonesian Football Star, the Late Djamiat Dhalhar) – Hendra Gunawan

Three contemporary works are offered in this sale. Lot 1056, Cakrawala Warna #8 (Colour Horizon #8) 2012-2016, by renowned painter Rudi Mantofani (b. 1973, Padang, West Sumatra) has an estimated price between HKD 650,000-950,000 (Rp.1,116,510,000-1,631,830,000),  Lot 1057, I Nyoman Masriadi, The Old Master (Snapping Provocation of Samuro) 2016 is estimated between HKD 1,800,000-2,800,000 (Rp.3,091,880,000-4,809,600,000), An abstract composition by the most prized Indonesian woman contemporary artist, Aye Tjoe Christine, Lot 1059, Black and the Small White, 2014, has an estimated price of between HKD 500,000-700,000 (Rp.858,856,000-1,202,400,000).

Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo_Harmonic Tremor             Lot 219, Harmonic Tremor, 2016 – Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo

A diverse array of more than 30 works by Indonesian artists, with price ranges to suit all budgets, are offered the following day during the 3 April Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Sale. Works from emerging, established, senior, and deceased artists are presented.

For new buyers wishing to enter the Indonesian market there are opportunities with works by prominent contemporary names going under the hammer within the lower range of estimated prices, including Heri Dono, Yunizar and Agus Suwage. Some artists in the middle to upper price range are Rudi Mantofani, Nasirun, I Nyoman Masriadi, and Rudi Mantofani.

Agus Triyanto BR_Savana Dance                             Lot 208, Savana DanceAgus Triyanto BR

One of the emerging artists featured is Angki Purbandono (b.1971 Yogyakarta), a pioneer in the use of digital scanning technology (scanography) in Indonesian contemporary art. Lot 212, The Plastic Guns – Violence for Beginners, a scanography transparency in neon box installation has an estimated price of between HKD 20,000-40,000 (Rp.34,351,500-68,703,000). Another is East Javanese painter Agus Triyanto BR (b.1979), Lot 208, Savana Dance, 2016, is a surrealistic composition with an estimated price between HKD40,000-60,000 (Rp.68,703,000-103,063,000).

Lot 211, Multicolor, 2016 by Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo (b.1978, Bandung) is a dynamic composition created by a moving blend of poured pigment paint suspenAgus Triyanto BRded in resin and pressed upon glass. The three panel work, 180 x 465 cm has an estimated price of between HKD 40,000-60,000 (Rp.68,703,000-103,063,000).

189HK0717_XXXXX             Lot 350, Three Balinese Maidens With Offerings – Theo Meier

For seasoned collectors the sale features eight paintings by Lee Man Fong, four by Affandi, three by Srihadi Sudarsono, and three compositions by S. Sudjojono, who is considered the one of the fathers of Indonesian modern art. Lot 372 Pemendangan (Landscape), has an estimated price between HKD 650,000-950,000 (Rp.1,114,630,000-1,629,080,000).

Lot 369,Cucu-cucu Witarsa Mengenang Bintang PSSI. Alm. Djamiart Dhalhar (The Grandchildren of Witarsa Commemorating Indonesian Football Star, the Late Djamiat Dhalhar), is by artist, poet, sculptor and guerilla fighter Hendra Gunawan (1918-1983). It depicts a group of children playing football in a surrealistic landscape and is estimated between HKD 1,000,000-2,000,000 (Rp.1,714,820,000-3,429,640,000).

217HK0717_XXXXX          Lot 213, Pemandangan Dari Atas (Landscape From Above) – Nasirun

Works by noted foreign artists include Dutch painters Willen Gerard Hofker (1902-1981) and Arie Smit (b.1916, The Netherlands – 2016, Bali), along with Theo Meier (Switzerland 1908-1982), Adrien Jean le Mayeur.

Buyers bidding over the phone, and on the Internet, who are unable to attend the previews days or auction are advised to contact Sotheby’s and enquire about the colour reproduction accuracy of the images contained within the online catalogue to ensure that what they wish to purchase can be realistically gaged. Condition reports of the works, outlining the paintings current state and whether it has repairs or over painting are available upon request. Provenance, the historical data of the works previous owner/s is also important.  Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium up to 25% of the hammer price.

HK0717-374_web                      Lot 374, Janger Dancer – Srihadi Sudarsono

 

Previews open to the public 31 March

Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale 2 April from 7pm

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Sale 3 April from10 am

The Hong Kong Exhibition and Auction Venue,

Hall 5 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (New Wing),

1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

 

 

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the Value of Balinese Wayang Paintings

"Hanoman and Surya". Ketut Madra. 1972, acrylic on canvas - Photo David irons.             Hanoman & Surya – Ketut Madra 1972  Photo: David Irons

 

Results of September 2013 Larasati auction of Balinese modern traditional paintings at the Agung Rai Museum of Art in Ubud revealed growing demand for work by the best known Balinese painters.  Notably three masterpieces by renowned deceased artists reached new record prices for their work ranging from IDR 270 – 550 million (USD$ 30 – 61,000). Beginning last year, auctions results indicate a new trend, yet despite the recent record prices art experts believe these Balinese works are still heavily undervalued.

The market for the best Balinese traditional paintings is much smaller than that for the Contemporary Indonesian art and the collectors of Balinese work are generally of a different character. They tend to be art lovers who honor the work’s beauty, cultural significance and the extraordinary workmanship.

The larger Indonesian market for modern and contemporary art has over recent years experienced new lows, mainly due to price manipulation. As buyers’ confidence has sunk, so has the market. During an important 2012 exhibition in Central Java the authenticity of works by modern Indonesian masters came under scrutiny, and as a result, an unprecedented uproar continues in the Indonesian art world. Unsurprisingly, this has had a negative impact on the market, and cast a considerable shadow on the Indonesian fine arts scene.

'Dharmaswami' Ida Bagus Gelgel, 1935, natural pigments on paper, Photo - David irons                                        Darmawangsa –  I.B. Gelgel, 1935

Lets now reflect on the international auction house Sotheby’s and their 40th anniversary, 5-day auction in Hong Kong in early October. “The Last Supper” (2001) by Chinese painter Zeng Fanzhi, estimated at USD $10.3 million plus, set a new record for a Chinese contemporary artist at auction, selling for USD $23.3 million. The work is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting with contemporary Chinese sociopolitical references. Spirited bidding by Chinese and Asian collectors at this auction enabled Sotheby’s to realize USD $540 million, a record for the Hong Kong branch, in now arguably the most important contemporary Asian art center in the world.

However for these “art enthusiasts” at the Hong Kong auction it’s not about enjoying and collecting, it’s about being number one. It’s also about their nations artists being recognized, like England’s with its art superstar Damien Hirst and Germany’s Gerhad Ricther, as a kind of proxy symbol of national strength on a global stage.

Balinese modern traditional art – especially wayang painting – has been much maligned. Over the years, it has often been dismissed as commercial or folk art made by the common people. Wayang painting began as Balinese temple art, at its best today, it is still devotional art dedicated to the gods and serves the community with moral teachings for those who know the stories it tells. It is very different from the genre art of markets, rice fields, temple festivals and other scenes depicting idealized social reality. The finest practitioners have often been those with the deepest understanding of the stories of Bali’s shadow theater.

"Hanoman and Surya". Gusti Ketut Kobot, circa 1960;s acrylic on canvas. Photo David Irons                       Hanoman & Surya – Gusti Ketut Kobot, circa 1960

While Christian religious art often depicts scenes of heaven or hell, and rarely both in the same composition, the best of Balinese wayang art, almost always has a more dualistic and universal philosophy. Bali’s Hindu-Buddhist paintings often emphasize a cosmic balance: there can be no good without an equal and opposing force. In Balinese wayang art the forces of good and evil often confront each other without resolution.

This is an art with high moral standards that deeply reflects the values of the best of Balinese traditional culture. I think it is also an art that reflects modern culture’s struggle for integrity. And I find myself wondering if Balinese wayang art – at its best – is one of the most underappreciated and undervalued art forms in the world?

 

Words: Richard Horstman