Auctions in Japan

When it comes to art trends, more often than not, Japan follows what’s happening in New York with a 10 year lag.

In In the News by Martina Gahn 2007-06-02

Not surprisingly, since early last year, small domestic auction houses in Tokyo have been opening or reopening, and this May saw a fairly decent stack of catalogues in various fields. Such houses were: AJC; Est-Ouest Auctions; J-Cap; and Shinwa Art Auction. The huge success of the Contemporary Asian Art auction at Christie’s helped boost this rise.

Sale categories ranged from wine to coins, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and modern through contemporary art. Unfortunately, Fine Art bidders saw the usual suspects – Laurencins, Yoshitomo Nara drawings, lithographs and numerous other multiples. The sales results also seemed a little unstable, with a range of 70 to 90 percent of the lots selling, but Shinwa still managed to mark a (somewhat unbelivable) hammer price of 310,000,000 JPY ($2,583,000) for a 1963 Picasso oil, which had been estimated at 60,000,000 to 80,000,000 JPY ($500,000 – $667,000).

It will be worth keeping an eye on the auctions in Japan for the next few seasons. People should be reminded that Mr. Yutaka Mino, former head of the Kanazawa 21st Century, moved onto a loftier and perhaps more suitable position at Sotheby’s HQ earlier this year, where he may help to lay new, more solid foundations in the somewhat marshy grounds of the auctioning world.

Martina Gahn

Martina Gahn. Hailing from Long Island, NY, Martina Gahn has been in a love-hate relationship with Tokyo since 2002. Having dabbled as a mixer of drinks, instructor of the English language and editor of verbosity, she is now working on a book about railway gropers. She has an affinity for spoonerisms, shoes, Deleuze, and Weezer, and in her free time likes to walk her pugs Hil & Loh through the various business districts of Tokyo. Martina, who loves all things Art (from the Greeks to the hedge funds), hopes to relay what lies beyond the sex, lies, and youtube links of the art industry. If you have any art news or gossip that you would like to see Martina nitpick on TABlog, email her at martina [at] tokyoartbeat [dot] com. » See other writings


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