Singapore Will Get Its First Sotheby’s Auction in 15 Years as an Influx of the Super Rich Flood the Local Art Market

Sotheby's will stage an auction in Singapore next month, where a market for wealthy art collectors has flourished.

Colorful painting of a fish market on a beach
Hendra Gunawan’s Fish Market on the Beach (1980). Courtesy of Sotheby's

For the first time in 15 years, Sotheby’s will be holding an auction in Singapore. The sale of modern and contemporary art will take place on August 28 and include work from both Southeast Asian and international artists, according to a press release from the auction house.

Notable pieces in the collection include works from Indonesian artist Hendra Gunawen, Singaporean artists Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng and Spanish contemporary artist Rafa Maccaron.

The auction was announced amidst an increasing demand for art in Southeast Asia, which accounted for a nearly 75 percent increase in Sotheby’s global sales in the past five years. The auction house also announced plans to strengthen its presence in China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

The art market is especially booming in Singapore, in part due to a recent influx of wealthy migrants. Meanwhile, collecting has cooled down significantly in Hong Kong, where Sotheby’s this spring saw a 38 percent fall in evening sales of modern and contemporary art compared to 2021. 

“We are excited to stage this first-of-a-kind auction in Singapore, showcasing art that resonates with the region’s deep collector base and celebrating the diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia,” wrote Nathan Drahi, managing director of Sotheby’s Asia, in a statement.

This article has been amended to clarify that the decrease in sales in Hong Kong was specific to the category of contemporary and modern art. Singapore Will Get Its First Sotheby’s Auction in 15 Years as an Influx of the Super Rich Flood the Local Art Market