Corrie Tan-Straits Times Indonesia
An 11-year-old Indonesian girl was one of the enthusiastic bidders at the Borobudur Auction on Sunday.
Carissa Gozali, who was flanked by her parents, bid on Indonesian master artist Affandi’s Cock Fight, a vibrant pastel on paper piece she eventually won for $11,590, over the pre-sale estimate of $5,000.
A very pleased Carissa told Life!: ‘I think we’ll put it in the living room. I like how it’s just lines but it comes together to create a picture. I like colorful and unique pieces.’
The Affandi piece, one of 24 lots from a private collection, was not the only one to bust its pre-sale estimate.
Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara’s hefty acrylic-on-cotton work of his signature little girl, mounted on fiber-reinforced plastic and standing at a height of 1.8m, went for $1,024,800, double its estimate of $500,000.
It was the most expensive artwork to go under the gavel at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.
After a round of gasp-inducing bidding, the piece was won by a middle-aged Indonesian man to applause and whistles from the capacity crowd.
Dressed in black pants and a white collared shirt, the buyer would only tell Life! that he had bought it for his child.
The atmosphere was lively at the auction with 80 per cent of the 323 lots of wine, jewellery and art sold. This was a happy turn of events for Borobudur, whose unusual Fortune Auction in March earlier this year saw bids dipping to as low as $30 because of a no-reserve-price policy, much to the chagrin of artists and collectors.
This time, with reserve prices reinstated, Borobudur chalked up about $9 million in sales on Sunday.
There were a handful of particularly tense moments, with telephone bidders requesting more time for bidding as the prices rose.
More than 250 people were present, with many standing against the back wall at some points during the auction because there was no sitting room. The buyers were mostly Indonesians.
Mr John Andreas, 42, director of the auction house, said: ‘I was very happy and overall I think it was a good auction. The works of the old masters went very well. I think the art market is doing positively.’
Top lots by the old masters included two large oil paintings by one of Singapore’s pioneer artists Lee Man Fong. Both were snapped up by an Indonesian woman in a green cardigan and black dress who declined to be interviewed.
The late Lee’s Bali Life went for $524,600, more than triple its estimate of $150,000. His Hope For Peace, depicting delicate doves alighting on a rock outcropping, went for $683,200. This far exceeded its estimate of $200,000.
Pieces by Indonesian artist Hendra Gunawan, who is a hot auction favourite, also exceeded their estimates.
Mr Gener Adamas, a diamond grader from the Philippines, was upbeat about the auction. The 40-year-old said: ‘Borobudur Auction is a very big supporter of Filipino artists and it has a very big impact on the art market in the Philippines.’
He cited Filipino artist Joel Welbart Bartolome as an example, saying: ‘Bartolome’s works used to go for $3,000 to $5,000 a few years ago. But now they’ve gone up to even $30,000.’
Haryono Budiono, director of Indonesian cosmetic company PT Dian Tarunaguna (Shiseido), attends about eight to 10 auctions in Singapore every year and stayed throughout the whole auction on Sunday.
The 55-year-old Indonesian has been collecting art since 1997.
He said: ‘Prices are quite stable for the old masters like Lee Man Fong, but I think the market for contemporary art is slowly growing. This auction had a good start. You can see that very few works have not been sold.’
Borobudur’s next auction is in October.
courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times
Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 021 2553 5055