Ravenel Art, the leading art house in the Asia region, is excited at joining the growing Hong Kong market with its first Modern and Contemporary Asian Art sale on December 1
As Hong Kong gears up to become Asia's pre-eminent art market, it will stage an art auction week over the last week of November and the first week of December rivaled only by New York and London. Many regional auction houses will join the fray for the first time. Becoming the third largest art market in the world according to
Art Price's Art 2007, over the last five years, art sales have soared and a consolidation as Asia's art market capital has taken place.
Ravenel Art from Taipei will be one of the regional players to join the market in Hong Kong this autumn. The leading art in Taipei, it will hold it's first auction of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art on Monday December 1 in the Four Seasons Hotel in the IFC Centre. According to Ms Clara Kuo, CEO and President, Ravenel has had a strong presence in Hong Kong over the last 10 years. 'We have excellent relationships with all key collectors in Hong Kong. We hold biannual previews for our Taipei spring and autumn auctions in the Grand Hyatt, and our Hong Kong clients are major supporters of our Taipei auctions. We have been asked by many collectors to bring our expertise directly to Hong Kong and this year we are very proud to hold our inaugural auction of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art there.'
Asked what are the major attractions of holding an auction in Hong Kong, Ms Kuo gave a long list in reply. First and foremost is that Hong Kong has truly become the art market hub of Asia. With its geographic position in the heart of Asia and its gateway status, Hong Kong is ideally positioned to take advantage of its location. Its developed legal and financial systems are also strong points, and its easy import-export regulations make it a preferred centre for many collectors. Also, its tax-exempt status for art make it very attractive for buyers. Ms. Kuo also added that the city's infrastructure, and first class amenities give it a competitive advantage over other Asian cities.
Hong Kong art sales have now become a major focus for both regional and international buyers. To hold successful auctions, Ms Kuo maintains, 'it's essential to have expertise in two areas. First, you must have a deep knowledge and understanding of regional art. Secondly, you must know and understand what appeals to your collectors. These are Ravenel's major advantages in the region, our specialist knowledge of the Asian art world, and our profound understanding of our collectors. This is what has made our auctions in Taipei so successful over the last ten years, and we are very happy to bring that model to Hong Kong.'
After graduating in art from the Louvre in Paris, Ms Kuo returned to Taiwan and set up Ravenel Art. 'I wanted to bring the aesthetics I'd grown to admire in Paris to the Taiwan people. As the Taiwan economy had boomed in the 90s I knew many people had a hunger to enhance their living experience with an appreciation for and understanding of high quality art. When I came back, I had a very clear sense of mission.' She further added, 'as individual wealth grows, art markets go through three stages. First, collectors focus on the historical art of their country or region. In the second stage they begin to collect local contemporary art, and in the third stage they will collect contemporary art from around the world.'
'When Ravenal Art began, I first introduced Modern Overseas Chinese Artists such as Zao Wou-ki, and Chu Teh-chun. These are Chinese artists who moved to France and adopted Western oil painting techniques but retained their Chinese sensibilities. Works by artists like these resonated well with Taiwanese and regional collectors and became much sought after. Ravenel also included many outstanding works by Taiwanese artists who have their own very unique voices. As many younger collectors in Taiwan had been educated in the West, I knew that they would be open to contemporary art. On numerous visits to China I became enthralled with the variety of work by emerging artists, and I knew I had to introduce these artists to a wider public. Works by artists such as Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhou Chunya and Yue Minjun found immediate acceptance with younger collectors here.'
'As Ravenel Art gained a reputation for offering only the highest quality works by leading artists, we developed relationships with major collectors in all countries in the region such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and China. The motivation for collecting art varies from individual to individual and from region to region. One of Ravenel's strongest advantages now is our understanding of what appeals to different collectors. This makes us ideally positioned to enter the Hong Kong market. Collectors in Taiwan are very discerning with a high level of knowledge about art, and they are very choosy about what they will buy. More informed Hong Kong collectors also gravitate towards high quality works while some younger collectors are interested in finding works by new artists. As the Chinese economy has boomed we are seeing more and more Chinese collectors emerge and the younger generation is particularly interested in collecting art created by their peers.'
Odile Chen, Ravenel's art specialist and one of the foremost art experts in Taiwan agrees with Ms Kuo. 'To be successful in auction, you must understand both the art world and collectors' preferences. It's very important to put together a formidable collection of works for each auction. It's important to offer major works by renowned artists as well as outstanding works by emerging artists. In Hong Kong one of the keys to our success will be offering a broad portfolio of key works by established artists as well as emerging artists particularly South East Asian, Indian, Japanese and Korean Artists.'
Ms Chen further added, 'Ravenel has the best reputation in the market for bringing only the highest quality works to auction. We have very strong relations with all our collectors, we know what they like, we know their collections and we have frequent communication with them. So, we have been able to put together an extraordinary group of works for our December 1 auction in Hong Kong. For example Sanyu's ‘Chrysanthemums on the Red Table with Yellow Background', estimate HK$8 - 15 million, is a key work by the artist. Yue Minjun's ‘Enchanted Spring', HK$8 - 15 million is one of his seminal works. In this category we also have works by Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi and Wang Guangyi. Key Japanese artists Hino Korehiko and Hiroyuki Matsuura will be represented along with two of the most important Korean artists Kim Tschang-yeul and Park Seo-Bo. Works by Augus Suwage and Budi Kustarto from Indonesia will attract much attention while a work by Justin Ponmany, one of the leading Indian contemporary artists will also be offered.'
The auction will be held in the Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong on Monday December 1. Previews will be held from 28 to 30 December in the Grand Hyatt Salon, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong. A preview will also be held in Taipei in the Fubon National Conference Center B2, No. 108, Section 1, Tun-Hwa South Road, Taipei, Taiwan on Friday, November 28, 1:00pm-7:30pm; Saturday, November 29, 10:00am-7:30pm.
Ravenel Art was founded in 1999 and it holds two annual spring and autumn auctions in Taipei and will hold spring and autumn auctions in Hong Kong. It specializes in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art, Korean, Japanese, S. E. Asian and Indian Contemporary Art. Ravenel also arranges private sales of Western contemporary art. The company has offices in Taipei, Hong Kong and Beijing.