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Good Time to Buy Art

Bali traditional dog (private collection)

Smaller private collections are entering the art market. Covid 19 financial crunch creates opportunity for buyers

Tokyo, Jakarta, Singapore (40-24/12).  The region art market is hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis. But the effects of the governments restrictions is not only felt by the art community. Inceasingly everyone is feeling the pinch. Purchases such as art is limited to the mere minimum often covering living essentials.

Art, often seen as a luxury, is turning into a market commodity. But according to Forbes the art market is booming with many first time buyers entering the buying spree.

The hardest hit sectors are the artists and owners. Alvin Chong, the Customer Service manager for a Hong Kong based executive relocation service said, “Many customers been asking us if we know of art dealers to sell high-end art instead of packing the art bringing it along to the new post”.

Companies and executives are in cost cutting mood and no longer provide flat out repacking everything, he added. Art dealers in Asia report an increase in art purchases as small private collections are entering the market.

“Owners are increasingly feeling the cash pinch”, Winston Choo, a private art dealer in Singapore said, “Many owners who purchased  art as an investment are chittery as governments fail to provide comfort the Covid crisis is coming to an end,” he added.

Twelve fish in Li Jiang (private collection)

Adrianne Wang in Hong Kong shares this sentiment. “Private owners hold some lovely, high value art collections. The sentimental value is now giving way to need for hard cash. Many owners selling reflects the uncertainty and market sentiments.”

“It is a buyers market”, says Jack, an art collector in Singapore. “The market demand is here”. He specializes in buying private collections and faciliate the sales to larger galleries or buyers. According to Forbes in 2021 alone the purchase of art in Asia has grown by 40%. Many first time buyers are buying art.

Private estate sale are on the increase as some of the market places suggest and often underpriced. He named some of the smaller art he holds under concession.

“Buyers are increasingly looking for the art that makes the personal connection with the artist”. The story telling is as important as the art itself.

He added, “Opportunities are bound in the market. Clients are looking the inter-personal relationship to the artists. The story behind the art, not just the a thing hanging on the wall.”

“Good art does have not to be expensive. Good art is timeless.”

“For example the relative work by Ibrahim Juenadi, a Javanese painter on display in Singapore and Tokyo got his inspiration from the travels of Stamford Raffles to the Javanese kingdom of Mulwapati. The story of the ‘Red Tree’ becomes alive.”

The Red Tree. Raffles walk in the gardens of Raja Darma of Mulwapati in Java by Ibrahim Juenadi (private collection)

Private collection have a strong emotional relationship with the owners, he added. “I been working with owners for over a decade and often find their stories behind the art fascinating”.

The story of the circling fish is another example Jack qoted. “The piece is part of an estate sale by the couple who is leaving Singapore.”, he explained.

“Acquired in 2018 the owner told that he bought the piece for his sons however in a series of tragic events the son decided that he no longer wants to have contact with father.”

The reason why the father bought the art was it symbolizes the circle of life, beginnings, success and tragedy expressed in the metaphorical sense.

Cycle of life water colours (private collection)

The owners are leaving Asia and part of the collection coming on the market. “This family collection has been selling relatively fast because of the price and value of the art”, Jack added.

Jack and his team specialize in advising customers of what art to buy. He added that the selection of the right space to display the art is as important as the art itself.

Many art pieces need the room to breath. Art is not limited to the high flying expatriate or tycoon lifestyle, but good art, besides smart investment also provides the motivation and sentimental value that does not have to be expensive.

“I like to deal with owners who in their private art collection have a breath and width of art reflecting the diversity of artists in Asia.

It shows their character and as I said before tells the story of the painting but also the story of the owner at that moment of time. That gives the art more contexture and depth”.

Owning an exclusive piece of art, one of its kind is often the exclusivity needed to make a difference between just another painting and real value.

He was confident the art market in 2022 will remain a buyers market in Asia.

(Editor.: interested parties may reach out to Val Halley in Singapore if interested to buy art or sell art. Some other art pieces can be found here)