This Week in the Art Market – Friday, 22nd September: The art world bids farewell to Colombian artist Fernando Botero, known for his unique depictions of voluptuous forms. Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian and Indian art markets are showing robust growth, making them increasingly attractive for investors. Don’t miss out on the details of Sotheby’s upcoming autumn sale featuring a stellar lineup of Asian and Western artists, as well as Bob Ross’ first-ever on-air painting hitting the market at $9.5m.

Fernando Botero Passes Away at 91

We may recognise Fernando Botero from his fat, round bronze pigeon sculpture along the Singapore River at the United Overseas Bank (UOB) Plaza. The Columbian painter is extremely popular for his depiction of voluptuous, almost comical bodies in his paintings and sculptures, which he had been producing for more than 60 years. Despite his cutesy subject matter, Botero has also tackled challenging issues like political violence and war crimes. Botero passed away as one of the wealthiest artists in the world, converting the considerable earnings from his work into a series of homes in Monaco, Italy, Greece, Colombia and France.

Image: Fernando Botero’s pigeon sculpture along the Singapore River. See More:

Southeast Asian Art Market Remains Strong

Though few pay attention to the development of the Southeast Asian art market, a recent OCULA article has found that the regional market has fared significantly better than most other areas in the first half of 2023. Writer Reena Devi notes a number of high-profile art events across the region, including ART SG, Singapore Art Gallery Weekend and the tenth edition of Art Fair Philippines. Jasmine Prasetio, Sotheby’s Managing Director in Southeast Asia, called Southeast Asian artists “fantastic artists with unique sense of style and identities who worked conscientiously with idealism and persistence throughout their lifetime or established careers.”

Image: A woman appreciating art at ArtSG 2023. See More: 

Mumbai’s First Art Fair To Debut in November 

India’s art market has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, with reports indicating a staggering 265% growth over the past decade. Amidst this optimistic scene, the first-ever edition of Art Mumbai has been set to take place from November 16 to 19. The art fair has secured the participation of approximately 50 galleries, a majority of which hail from India. As the financial capital of India, Mumbai also hosts many of the nation’s biggest auction houses, such as Saffronart and Pundole’s.

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Highlights of Sotheby’s Upcoming Autumn Sale

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Sotheby’s has introduced an exciting lineup of artists for their upcoming autumn sale series, which will occur from 2 to 9 October. Typical to Hong Kong sales, their offerings will feature a heavy focus on Asian artists. These include nearly 40 works from collections of Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei, the founders of the prestigious Long Museum in Shanghai. Another notable offering is a canvas by Zao Wou-ki, the painter widely known as China’s most valuable contemporary artist. At the same time, a number of works by Western blue-chip artists are also available, including those by Willem de Kooning, Gerhard Richter, Rene Magritte and David Hockney.

Image: Zao Wou-Ki – Juin—Octobre 1985. See more: 

Bob Ross’ First On-Air Painting Offered at $9.5m

Titled A Walk in the Woods (1983), the painting in question is Bob Ross’ first ever creation on the hit television show The Joy of Painting. It depicts an idyllic landscape populated by lush trees and a clear sky, trademarks of Ross’ whimsical painting style. Few of his works are actually available on the market, as most are held in storage by the company that owns Ross’ intellectual property. This particular work is being sold by Modern Artifact, a gallery in Minneapolis that has sold several rare Ross paintings over the years. 

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