Art Talk

4th Art Auction Day
By Swee Chin PAN


1 PM
I must say that the Sime Darby Convention Centre is a much better venue for an auction. As you enter the lobby area, all the counters for registration, paddle collection and payment were set up on the left and refreshments were served on the right. And it is the first time, Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers (HB), are having an auction here.

There were more firsts for HB that afternoon. At the far end of the room after the registration counter, an art inspection table was set up whereby certain paintings could be inspected according to a pre-arranged schedule. The main purpose here is to check the condition of the artwork as the paintings are not available for viewing on the auction day itself. Here is a photo of the schedule and a couple of photos of the Pink Guy team doing the honours.

During the auction itself, the paintings themselves were carried in and displayed as and when they came up for auction – as it should be. Not just the projection of the image of the painting on a screen as previously done.

And as you can see from the photographs the auctioneer is a lady – her name is Talita Teves and she hails from Amsterdam. What was really nice about Talida was the interaction she had with the bidders. She made eye contact with them and goaded him or her on to make another bid. She was also very animated and entertaining – I don’t think anyone was bored or fell asleep. Just take a look at these photos of Talida in action:

The auction only really got interesting and the pace picked up when Lot 22, Khoo Sui Hoe’s, The Dreamers came up for sale. It was the first one that sold above RM25,000 – it went for RM30,000, slightly over its estimate of RM15,000 - RM25,000. You can view the results of the auction on HB’s website,, and here are just a few of my observations of the day’s proceedings.

Chan Yew Ling, Cindy Sim & Sau Fong

Damien & Celine Tan

Danny Choong, Bingley Sim & Dato' Koay Soon Eng

Douglas Bullock & Lim

Mr & Mrs CH Khor

Rachel Ng, Dr. Hanizah & Abang Askandar

Rafizah Abdul Rahman & Datuk Gary Thanasan

Shankar & June
I am glad to report that no absent bidders pushed up the prices for Huang Yao’s pieces. Bidding for his Woman with Durian (1980) and Fireflies (1980) were fairly rapid and sold for RM24,000 and RM30,000 respectively.
I was surprised that Anurendra Jegadeva’s piece, Menora Dancer (Lot 37), did not attract any bids in the sale room. Talida only had one bid with her, RM11,000 and it sold for that, under its estimate of RM14,000 - RM18,000.
There wasn’t much interest in the late Datuk Ibrahim Hussein’s three pieces this year. There was no ‘fight’ for them to push prices really high. The ‘star’ of the auction this year is undoubtedly, Abdul Latiff Mohidin. His Samarkhand 3 sold for RM550,000 – the highest sale price of the day and it was way above the estimate of RM150,000 - RM250,000! The ‘fight’ here was between 4 phone bidders and the bidding was fairly rapid.

Laments from an artist and a friend at the end of the auction was: who would pay RM115,000 for a Chinese Ink painting? (Chen Wen Hsi’s Gibbons Looking for Fish (Lot 64) sold at this price)…to this I could only smile…
We have lost Samarkhand was bought by a Singaporean… we will never see it again. What happened to our institutions? Where are they? They should buy it…To these questions I had no answers…Do you? 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the current opinions of the author and should not be construed to reflect the opinions, policies or positions of any entity other than the author's.