Pulse: 2H 2015 Art Auctions

As an auction house diversifies to sell designer furniture and signed art prints, another gallery opens in Klang with its owner claiming that art investment “…offers yields ranging from 10% to 100%.” Five auctions were held across four months with close to 700 lots on the block, with GST now firmly included as a transactional cost. With Christie’s and Sotheby’s jostling for significant works from the emerging Southeast Asian market, local players have little to offer, although a great batik piece by Ismail Mat Hussein was spotted at a Petaling Jaya gallery. In that October fire sale, the first 38 lots had starting bids of RM 1,000, while a couple works by Yong Mun Sen and Chen Wen Hsi seem under-priced.

Ismail Mat Hussein – Dikir Barat (1995)

Masterpiece’s August edition sees all three available works by Jalaini Abu Hassan brought in, a bizarre occurrence that says little about the Malaysian secondary art market. Penang paintings see a dip in prices, while a couple artists (Long Thien Shih and Ng Hon Loong) with recent retrospective exhibitions see gains. The jury is still out if young artists will benefit or suffer from being placed in auctions early in their careers, as works by Khairil Izham and Anissa Abdullah appear on the block. Chong Siew Ying continues with her estimates-busting ways at Henry Butcher, whose nude figure sells at 70% higher than its high estimates. One wonders if the person depicted (whose name is quoted too) gave consent for this sensual work to be publicly exhibited, as I shift my gaze from an uncomfortable intrusion of privacy, to beautifully painted forests by Fung Yow Chork. 

Fung Yow Chork – Forest II (1999)