Strong Auction Veterans Aim for a New Company in the Asian Market

In the latest sign of continued deterioration in the art market amid the pandemic, three powerful Sotheby’s alumni have joined forces to form a new company. Rapidly growing pool of buyers in Asia.

Amy Cappellazzo, former head of Sotheby’s fine arts division, and Yuki Terase, former head of contemporary art in Asia, will start operating an international art consulting firm in November that handles operations and offers market expertise. dispersal of art or collections.

Adam Chinn, another co-founder and former COO of Sotheby’s, will lead the business and legal operations of the company.

Cappellazzo said in a joint sitting interview that the market for major collectors in the United States is largely saturated. “They already have so much that they only buy to fill it,” he explained, “whereas when you get a lot of new collectors they get a lot more greedy because they start building things.”

“The only smart thing to do,” he added, “is to build a multitasking business.”

The company reflects several changes in the market, such as collectors’ increased comfort in purchasing artworks they haven’t seen in person (via online sales or via emailed PDFs), and an increased interest in purchasing Western artists among Asian buyers over the past five years.

Cappellazzo said that during the pandemic, when people are unable to travel and avoid in-person activities, buyers have had to rely on due diligence of status reports, catalog assets and photo submissions.

Called Art Intelligence Global (AIG), the company will be headquartered both in Hong Kong, where Terase will be located and offices will have a large exhibition space, and at 32 East 57th Street in New York. The storied Pace/MacGill Gallery (working remotely until then) that Cappellazzo and Chinn will be moving into early next year.

The team’s equal footing reflects the recognition that the Asian market has become extremely important over the past five years – surpassing Europe as the world’s second largest market after the USA, and the team fueled by young buyers from Europe. Technology and entertainment spaces in places like Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.

“Asia is really at the point where it can create this kind of world-class achievement and expertise in the region, not something imported from Western establishments,” Terase said. “Even determining how you structure New York sales has become a very important market.”

Having previously worked in mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo, Terase has helped build the Asian presence of American auction houses during his ten years at Sotheby’s, starting with an auction that opened in Hong Kong in the fall of 2016.

“This was the first time Western art has been presented in the main auction series at any international auction,” he said. “Back then, no one believed in shipping large pieces to Hong Kong – they said collectors would come and buy them in London or New York.”

Last week, Sotheby’s five modern and contemporary Hong Kong sales The total reached $185 million, bringing the year-to-date total in these categories in Asia to $600 million, a 35 percent increase from 2020.

Also, 40 percent of Sotheby’s last four evening sales and nine of the top 20 items sold there in 2020 went to Asian buyers. Leading collectors of Western art now include Asians like the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and Taiwanese pop star collector Jay Chou.

Cappellazzo came to Sotheby’s with the consulting firm Art Agency, Partners, which is co-managed with Allan Schwartzman, a longtime arts consultant, and Chinn, an investment banker and lawyer. Purchased By the auction house in 2016.

He previously spent 13 years at Christie’s as head of post-war and contemporary art development and began his career as an art consultant and curator.

In addition to AIG, Chinn will continue as co-chairman of AIG. Live Art, an art trading platform he helped found in June.

AIG isn’t the only new partnership to take a look at Asia. resounding recent merger of four leading dealers, announced in August: Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy, Amalia Dayan and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn. Starting in January, their company, LGDR, will represent artists and hold exhibitions, as well as advise collectors and mediate auction sales – but will only attend art fairs in Asia, which they say such meetings continue to be an important gateway to a wider array of young collectors.

While offering a wide range of services, the AIG team will advise Asian clients on promising new aggregation areas such as NFTs, which Cappellazzo believes is “here to stay”. Exploded.

in Hong Kong, Basquiat’s sword-wielding “Nameless (Red Warrior)” brought in about $21 million last week; In June, his triptych Sold for $37.2 million; and another Basquiat warrior painting in March brought in $41.8 million, a record price for Western art in Asia. Last week, a recent painting by Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, “Tones of White with a White Hat”. It brought in $680,000, well above its estimate.

Edward Dolman, chairman of the board of auction house Phillips, said the new company makes sense given Asia is “the fastest growing region of the market”, adding that Phillips has recently started partnering to build its presence in China. Multiple Auctionsin Hong Kong.

Christie’s, on the other hand, is establishing a new center in Hong Kong and hosting non-sell exhibitions to promote Western art in Asia. “A third of our transactions are now with customers in Asia,” said Marc Porter, Christie’s President of the Americas. “Just as the art business must expand from London and Paris, we now have the same responsibility in Asia. The start of a trend for the 21st century.”

Cappellazzo said he’s been a long-time admirer of Terase, who collaborated closely with him at Sotheby’s. “There’s no one I’ve worked with as talented as this,” Cappellazzo said, “the art history range is that agile.”

The different skill sets of the three partners “take you from soup to nuts in any operation,” Chinn said.

The team said their work was additive, whether they would join the work of art consultants, auction houses or art dealers en masse. “We’re making the cake bigger,” Chinn said. “There are so many opportunities in the market.”

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