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 Ruang Biru by Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal.
Ruang Biru by Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal.

WITH major art fairs taking place across the globe from Madrid to Dubai to London, art enthusiasts, collectors and sophisticated investors alike are questioning whether to acquire works of fine art as investments. “The best time to buy art is now. Buy art because you like art. If there’s a return on your investment, that’s a bonus!” advises Sim Polenn, director of Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers (HBAA).

 Siri Tari by Yusof Ghani.
Siri Tari by Yusof Ghani.

What better place to acquire art than at an auction? Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers (HBAA) will be showcasing an illustrious collection of Malaysian and Southeast Asian artworks at their upcoming auction to be held at Galeri Prima in Bangsar.

 Chord of Friendship by Chang Fee Ming.
Chord of Friendship by Chang Fee Ming.

There will be a total of 173 lots featuring established, mid-career and up-and-coming Malaysian and Southeast Asian artists. Highlights will include Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal’s Ruang Biru, 2001, Datuk Ibrahim Hussein’s Little Things dated 1995, Abdul Latiff Mohidin’s Rimba Series, 1997, Yusof Ghani’s Siri Tari, 1993, Chang Fee Ming’s Chord of Friendship, 1986, Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s Red Legong, 2004, and Awang Damit Ahmad’s Tenaga Hidup I, 1993.

 Rimba Series by Abdul Latiff Mohidin.
Rimba Series by Abdul Latiff Mohidin.

Auction houses are still some of the best places to buy art; but the particular alchemy of the auction world depends on personal relationships with collectors; on auction specialists with years of expertise, and on the serendipity of a live sale in which bidders decide — often in the heat of the moment — to go to the mat for the same artwork.

 After The Monsoon Cloudburst by Abdullah Ariff.
After The Monsoon Cloudburst by Abdullah Ariff.

Sim does acknowledge however, that the motivation to acquire a work of art is usually moved more by the heart than by the mind or by the pocketbook. Looking thoughtful, he says: "To live with a picture that moves you is what should motivate you to buy a work of art.”

 Song Of Songs 5 by Dato Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir.
Song Of Songs 5 by Dato Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir.

Adding, he notes that one can always “... invest confidently in art, because an artwork will never be bankrupt.” Asked for his advice to collectors, he replies: “If you love it, buy it. If you choose well, one day you will be able to sell it for a profit. And if you choose very well, you won’t want to.”

 Tenaga Hidup I by Awang Damit Ahmad.
Tenaga Hidup I by Awang Damit Ahmad.

With a smile, the affable art aficionado concludes: "Appreciate art, art appreciates!"

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Note: Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers will hold the auction on 15 March 2020, 1pm, at Galeri Prima, Bangsar.

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