This Week in the Art Market – Friday, 6th October: Tom Brady and Kim Kardashian make headlines in a star-studded auction, while South Korea and Hong Kong vie for the title of Asia’s premier art hub. Don’t miss the dramatic reevaluation of a Rembrandt painting, set to auction for up to £15mn. Plus, Melbourne Art Fair moves to an annual model, signalling confidence in Australia’s art scene.

Tom Brady Outbids Kim Kardashian for George Condo Sketch

In a star-studded charity auction, celebrity Kim Kardashian and American football star Tom Brady engaged in a pitched auction battle for George Condo’s Standing Female Figure, which Brady eventually won with a $2m bid. However, Kim did not go home empty-handed, as Condo promised the celebrity a commissioned work at the same price. Other artworks were also sold, including Fireflies by American painter Rashid Johnson which was sold for $1.1m to entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

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South Korea Set to Become One of Asia’s Premier Art Hubs 

As South Korea rises in prominence as an art hub, many expect the nation to soon overtake Hong Kong as the leading art destination in Asia. However, an interview with Doryun Chong, chief Curator of the M+ museum in Hong Kong, suggests that the two cities could instead become “complementary pillars in Asia’s booming scene”. Chong points out that both cities have their unique strengths: Seoul has more art schools and museums, but Hong Kong retains its iconic status with West Kowloon Cultural District and M+, as well as the longtime presence of major auction houses. Ultimately, both cities can strengthen Asia’s appeal as an art-rich region.

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Rediscovered Rembrandt valued at €15,000 now offered for £15mn

Sotheby’s will auction a rediscovered Rembrandt piece, “The Adoration of the Kings” (c1628), estimated at £10mn-£15mn in London this December. Initially categorized as Circle of Rembrandt and valued at €10,000-€15,000 by Christie’s in 2021, it sold for €860,000 amid authenticity speculations. The buyer sought verification from Sotheby’s, initiating an 18-month investigation, supported by experts like Volker Manuth, affirming it as a genuine, significant Rembrandt work. The study revealed Rembrandt’s artistic alterations to enhance the focal point, demonstrating his light manipulation expertise. Known as a Rembrandt until the 1950s, the artwork re-emerges for auction on December 6 with a third-party guarantee.

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Melbourne Art Fair Upgrades From Biennial to Annual Affair

Having run biennially since 1988, the iconic Melbourne Art Fair has announced that it has adopted an annual model from next year onwards. Their next iteration will return in 2024 under the theme of “ketherba (together)”, and has announced a lineup of 60 galleries and Indigenous-owned art centres. The fair has long since been a crucial forum for progressive art pracrtices across Australia, being particularly open to both young galleries and marginalized Indigenous artists.

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Japanese Art Market on the Rise

Commentators have pointed toward the Japanese art market as one that is reinvigorating interest in recent years. Despite being somewhat overlooked by collectors, Japanese art has had a long history of influencing major art movements, inspiring artists like Vincent Van Gogh. Today, Japanese art draws a more diversified audience as compared to Chinese art, and continues to sell well amidst economic uncertainties due to steady interest in Japanese culture. Influential international galleries like Pace Galleries have announced new outposts in Tokyo, while Japanese artists continue to make an impact in the contemporary art scene.

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