A Collector Bridges the Gap

Post provided by Alexandra A. Seno for Sotheby’s Magazine.

TAIPEI – Taiwan-based businessman Pierre Chen is one of Asia’s leading collectors of Western contemporary art. Now, as Alexandra A. Seno reports, Chen is bringing the collection he lives and works with to a wider audience, and in the process, connecting the East with the West.

Museo del Prado 4, the subtly dramatic Thomas Struth photograph, dominates one wall of a conference room at the Yageo Corporation global headquarters, just outside Taipei. The German photographer’s large-scale work, part of his iconic Museum Photographs series, focuses on a group of students on a trip to the great Spanish art institution. The boys and girls linger indifferently in front of Las Meninas, the 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez that has inspired generations of artists, from Pablo Picasso to Francis Bacon.

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Pierre Chen, collector and businessman at home in Taipei, where a painting by Georg Baselitz hangs behind him. Photograph by Andrew Loiterton.

Walking into the empty conference room – which otherwise fits about 30 – Yageo founder Pierre T.M. Chen gives the photograph a quick glance before he settles down at the table. The Taiwan-trained computer engineer started Yageo in 1977 and built the company into one of the world’s biggest electronics components manufacturers, with average yearly sales of US$800 million. He has nine factories and offices in seventeen countries, and is actively engaged in Yageo’s day-to-day management.

Chen says: “My business changes very quickly. I am fighting everyday because there is always some new technology coming to the market. For me to have balance in my life, I need art and music.” Hundreds of pieces adorn his offices and homes, and even more are in storage. But starting this summer, four prestigious Japanese museums will exhibit 76 works from Chen’s collection.

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In a Tokyo residence, Peter Doig’s Canoe Lake has pride of place in the dining room. Jean-Baptiste Huynh’s Inde-Portrait XXIX and Josè-María Cano’s  RM-Kate Moss Flank the doorway. Photographs courtesy of the Yageo Foundation

It will be the first time that the institutions will show a single, private collection of modern and contemporary art, and it is also the first occasion in Asia that works from the Yageo Foundation can be viewed together in public. The tour begins in June at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (MOMAT), and then proceeds to the Nagoya City Art Museum in September, the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in December and finally the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in March 2015.

MOMAT curator and organiser of the exhibits Kenjiro Hosaka wanted to collaborate with Chen not only because Japanese museums do not usually have access to such works, but also because he was drawn to the collection’s “energy to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art, which museums in Japan have struggled with for many years.”

“I decided to accept the invitation from Japan because the museum is professional, and because Japanese audiences have a mature appreciation for art. They admire traditional things and also what is new. I also consider Japan as my retirement destination of choice,” says Chen, who keeps a Tokyo apartment, conveniently just five minutes away from MOMAT.

 

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The living room of one of Chen’s Hong Kong homes, with Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild andMark Tansey’s Mont Sainte-Victoire. Photographs courtesy of the Yageo Foundation.

Born in Tainan, Chen grew up in Kaoshiung to a middle- class family that could trace their roots in Taiwan back for 200 years. He enjoyed going to galleries, and as a student in 1976, he made his first art purchase: a wooden, coconut-sized sculpture by Hong Kong artist Cheung Yee. It cost 25,000 Taiwanese dollars, a sum that took him a year and a half to save as a part-time computer programmer. He proudly keeps it in his office today.

When his company began to do very well, Chen started collecting Chinese artists because he was inspired by their work. As his business expanded to other countries, he would travel, and says he “liked going to museums and galleries because they are a good place to learn.” He read voraciously about art and went to exhibitions, habits he continues today. “I am still discovering,” he says, his eyes lighting up behind his serious, black-framed glasses.

In recent years, Chen has been most excited by Western contemporary art. He took the leap in the mid-1980s and bought an untitled Cy Twombly work because it made him feel “calm,” and later a yellow Warhol fright wig self-portrait because he thought it was “so fresh.” Continue Reading >

Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Spring Preview / Iconic Works by Picasso, Matisse & Monet

Sotheby’s spring Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art will be held in New York on 7 May 2014 with the New York exhibition beginning this Friday in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries. Highlights from the sale include iconic works by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse, Monet and Léger.

“We are thrilled to offer works by three of the greatest masters of 20th century art, each of which exemplifies the artist’s output at a critical moment in their career,” said David Norman, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Worldwide. “Matisse, Picasso and Léger in their unique manner so distinctively catapulted the representation of the figure in to the Modern Age. These paintings, resplendent in color and bold in design, which were respectively executed in successive decades from the 1920s to 40s, resonate with today’s global audience of collectors and connoisseurs.”

Pablo Picasso, Tête de Marie-Thérèse, 1932 / Sotheby's Spring 2014

Pablo Picasso, Tête de Marie-Thérèse, 1932 (est. $15/20 million)

The auction will offer an impressive selection of 14 works by Pablo Picasso, with examples reaching across his remarkable career – from an early drawing dated to 1900, through a late oil painting from 1969. The group features Tête de Marie-Thérèse from 1932, a radiant example of his paintings depicting his beloved mistress of the early 1930s (est. $15/20 million).

Monet La Pont Japonias / Sotheby's Spring 2014

Claude Monet, Le pont japonais, 1918 (est. $12/18 million)

The Evening Sale will offer three impressive canvases by Impressionist master Claude Monet, including Le pont japonais which he painted at Giverny from 1918–24 (est. $12/18 million). Monet’s spectacular images of the Japanese bridge spanning the lily pond of his lush garden are among the most recognizable images of 20th century art.

Henri Matisse / Sotheby's Spring 2014

Henri Matisse, La Séance du matin, 1924 (est. $20/30 million)

Henri Matisse’s La Séance du matin (est. $20/30 million) depicts the artist’s studio assistant Henriette Darricarrère, whose own interest in painting he encouraged by offering her lessons during their working time together. In another version of this same subject, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Matisse depicts a nude model alongside the studious painter. The present composition instead features Henriette alone, completely absorbed in her own work.

View the entire spring 2014 collection >

Luxury Real Estate Headlines: First Week in April 2014

Highlights from this week’s top news stories on luxury and global real estate, art, collectibles and home.
Sotheby's Magazine April 2014 / Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi / Gutai Goes Global / The Myth and Mystery of Jadeite / Paul Smith’s Britain

The April 2014 issue of Sotheby’s Magazine has arrived and our offices are buzzing! View exclusive content from inside Sotheby’s Magazine >

Houses with vibrant colors looking to shine in the spring sales seasonThe Wall Street Journal

Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Enters the Canary IslandsSotheby’s International Realty

Urban Luxury in the Philippines / House of the Day - The Wall Street Journal

Expanding a Classic in the Hamptons / House of the Day - The Wall Street Journal

Live-In Gallery Near the Santa Fe Opera House Asks $1.5MCurbed

[U.S.] Vacation Home Sales Surge in 2013; Investment Property Declines - National Association of Realtors®

Homebuyers getting priced out in cities across U.S.CNN Money

Sotheby’s Inaugural Designer Showhouse in New York

This week Sotheby’s auction house in New York is presenting an inaugural Designer Showhouse exhibition. The event, which is sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., is, an innovative approach to highlighting the treasure trove of fine art, furniture and decorative arts offered each season at Sotheby’s.

A select group of talented interior designers were given exclusive access to the auction house’s inventory and shopped the “stacks” to select a group of objects from which six distinctive interior spaces were devised. These objects include paintings, sculptures, prints, furniture and decorative arts which range in date from the 1st century A.D. through the end of the 20th century and encompass a range of artistic and architectural styles from around the world. Here is a peek at their masterful spaces the designers created.

Ryan Korban / Sotheby's Designer Showhouse

RYAN KORBAN, known for his retail design including Alexander Wang’s flagship store, Balenciaga’s men’s and women’s flagship stores and Fivestory New York;

McMillen Inc. Interior Design / Sotheby's Designer Showhouse

ANN PYNE from McMillen Inc., the oldest full service interior design and decorating firm in America;

Daun Curry / Sotheby's Designer Showhouse

DAUN CURRY from Modern Declaration, named one of Vogue’s hottest new designers;

Olasky & Sinsteden / Sotheby's Designer Showhouse

New York design duo CATHERINE CASTEEL OLASKY and MAXIMILIAN P. SINSTEDEN from Olasky & Sinsteden whose collective background includes time working for renowned names including Bunny Williams, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, David Easton Inc., Charlotte Moss;

Shaler Ladd / Sotheby's Designer Showhouse

SHALER LADD of Shaler Ladd Design Corporation who has built his business by providing exceptional service and quality to a loyal client base for which he curates interiors tailored to the distinct lifestyle and tastes of each individual; and,

Rush Jenkins / Sotheby's Designer Showhouse

RUSH JENKINS and KLAUS BAER from WRJ Design Associates, who are renowned for curating and designing exhibits for such luminaries as Mrs. Nancy Reagan and Bill Blass.

These designers were given the freedom to create any type of space and impose any type of aesthetic that he or she desired. The hope is that these spaces will demonstrate how good pieces of fine and decorative art can transcend time and space and that the dialogue between these pieces within a contemporary context not only allows the viewer an opportunity to reflect upon the pieces’ historical and artistic importance, but also gives the pieces new meaning and significance in the world of today.

Sotheby’s Inaugural Designer Showhouse is open to the public through Saturday, March 29 at Sotheby’s New York Headquarters located at 1334 York Avenue.

Sotheby’s Celebrates Spring 2014 Asia Week NY

This week Sotheby’s celebrates Asia Week 2014 in New York with a collection of selling exhibitions and sales which showcase some of the world’s oldest and most diverse works of art. From Indian & Himalayan Works of Art to Fine Classical Chinese Calligraphy, the week offers an extraordinary opportunity for collectors and Asian Art connoisseurs.

Asia Week 2014

Sotheby’s New York Asia Week series of auctions will be led by the prestigious single-owner sale of A Very Rare And Important Bronze Owl- Headed Ritual Wine Vessel (Hu), from the collection of Sakamoto Goro on 18 March 2014. The piece dates from the Early Eastern Zhou Dynasty (c. 8/7th century BC) and is the only surviving owl bronze of this caliber. Estimated to fetch in excess of $4 million, the bronze is set to be the outstanding highlight of the March Asian Art sales at Sotheby’s in New York.

Other highlights to include:

Sotheby's Asia Week 2014

A Very Fine Gilt Copper Alloy Figure Depicting Tara, Yongle Period 1403-1424, (est. $300/500,000)

Sotheby's Asia Week 2014

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s ethereal Painting No. 3, 1962, (est. $2-3 Million)

Sotheby's Asia Week 2014

A Rare Molded Blue and White Barbed Rim Dish, Yuan Dynasty, 14th Century, (est. $200/300,000)

 

Luxury Real Estate Headlines: Fourth Week in January 2014

Highlights from this week’s top news stories on luxury and global real estate, art, collectibles and home.

andy warhol silver car crash double disaster sotheby's new york

Andy Warhol’s ‘Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster),’ 1963,  Sold for $105.4 million on November 13 at Sotheby’s in New York / Sotheby’s Top 10 Sales of 2013 - The Wall Street Journal

Louis Vuitton CEO buys in Miami Beach for $11.7 million - The Wall Street Journal

Small Buildings With Big PricesThe Wall Street Journal

Hottest Luxury Real Estate Market In 2013: Sotheby’s [International Realty Canada] Report - Huffington Post Canada

Agents Sell Selves on Ownership - The Wall Street Journal

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty expands to CharlotteCharlotte Observer

How a Dual Agent Affects Sale Prices - The Wall Street Journal

Kourtney Kardashian Puts Her Calabasas Home on the MarketDomain Home

WSJ House of the Year: Lake Tahoe Condo with ‘Godfather’ Connection - The Wall Street Journal

WSJ House of the Year: Europe Edition / Capri, Italy - The Wall Street Journal

Highlights from Sotheby’s upcoming Contemporary Art Evening SaleBlouin ArtInfo

Single malt breaks world auction record as market maturesCNBC