Taiwan’s Ravenel Art Group Is Rapidly Becoming A Leader Among Asian Auction Houses
Hong Kong has been the center of attention in the art world over recently, with everyone still talking about the city’s successful HK 09 Art Festival, which took place last month. Alongside the exhibitions of artwork from around the world, the stage was been set for a number of exciting auctions of contemporary Chinese and Western art to take place, both from established houses and newer, Asian auction houses.
Taiwan’s Ravenel Art Group, a relative newcomer, held a major preview of its upcoming Taipei auction in Hong Kong on May 23-24, highlighting the auction house’s focus on a number of high-profile contemporary Chinese artists. Coming later this week, Ravenel’s auction of contemporary Chinese and Southeast Asian art has all eyes on Taipei. A Chinese auction house selling in China to a bidding base that is expected to be primarily Chinese is nothing if not a significant move in the contemporary art world. As we have written often in the past, the “New Chinese Collector” is a mysterious buyer base, one whose art-buying habits are not yet quantified.
Quite simply, this class of buyer loves Chinese artwork, they’re motivated to buy, they are sophisticated in their tastes, and they have cash on hand. In short, they’re an auction house’s favorite kind of customer. But in terms of Ravenel’s Hong Kong auction, it’s anybody’s guess which artist(s) will be the main focal point. Part of this is because, outside of Taiwan and Greater China, Ravenel is not very well-known. From their website:
Everywhere in the world, Ravenel Art Group is the symbol of refined art culture. It also plays the role of collection advisor for the “20th & 21st Centuries’ Chinese Art”.
Ravenel Art Group, incorporated in June 1999, receives the complete professional and technical support from Drouot – a major French artwork auctioneer with long-lasting history. Its tenet is to introduce refined European culture, synchronize artistic creation and investment, and push forward contemporary Chinese art. Ravenel brings about dedicated and systematic collection and artistic works investment to enterprises, collectors and foundations across Asia by means of artwork auction which focuses on oil painting and sculpture, intermediary service, art fund investment etc.
Based on traditional Chinese culture and driven by economic boom, contemporary China is drawing numerous strange and yet curious attentions in international arena. The contemporary Chinese art, which just echoes to the times, has naturally become a highlight. Ravenel is willing to play a role that bridges the Eastern and Western culture, and it is dedicated to recommending the most representative artworks of this era directly to key collectors, enterprises and funds in the world. Meanwhile, Ravenel is making unremitting efforts to bring into play the essence of Chinese art in international market with its unique demeanor.
With its relative newness to the market and its laser-like focus on promoting and auctioning Chinese artwork, Ravenel looks to be a rising force in the Asian (and, if they have their way, world) auction circuit. And with their push to hold more auctions in Hong Kong, we are seeing a pan-China art powerhouse emerging — much like the “Shangkong” Shanghai/Hong Kong financial partnership that is currently taking shape, and which will reshape the global economy in coming years, a more comprehensive Taipei-Hong Kong-Beijing art engine could forever reshape global art auctions and markets.
Only time will tell — at the moment it is just speculation on my part. But I’m confident that China — with its redoubled efforts at decoupling from the problems plaguing the global economy and existing in a more autonomous sphere — will see its own art environment “decouple” as well, as endogenous demand for domestic works creates its own sphere of art influence.