Sotheby’s first Singapore auction of art works in 15 years beats expectations

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Sotheby’s said it sold art works worth nearly S$24.5 million ($17.5 million) in its first auction in Singapore in 15 years, beating a pre-sale estimate of about S$18 million ($12.9 million).

Nearly half of the works in the sale achieved prices over their high estimates, the auction house said in a statement after proceedings. Walter Spies’s Tierfabel (Animal Fable) sold for just over S$4 million, while a Willem Gerard Hofker composition went for about S$2.3 million and nearly double its high estimate, it said.

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The auction’s success marks an important milestone in the city-state’s positioning as Asia’s next key art hub amid a growing collector base. Singapore has become a safe harbor for some of the region’s wealthiest in recent years with rival Hong Kong losing appeal due to China’s increasing grip on the former British colony.

Last year, Singaporean collectors were particularly active globally across categories including modern Asian art and watches, according to Sotheby’s.

Art sales have strengthened this year as investors turned to physical assets amid global economic woes. Sotheby’s recent spring sale series in Hong Kong totaled $496 million, the second-highest in the company’s history for sales in Asia.

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