Indonesia art market profile

The Indonesian art market has gained significantly in recognition during the last two years, both throughout Asia and globally. So says Zineng Wang, an expert in Asian 20th century and contemporary art at Christie's. In a recent interview with the New York Times, he commented: "It is a development we see continuing to the general benefit of the Indonesian contemporary art scene."

Nyoman Masriadi is among the country's leading contemporary artists, with his first US solo exhibition taking place last year. Prices for his works routinely make between $300,000-500,000. Other names to look out for include Agus Suwage, whose Ketika munch menjerit di jembatan sold for $132,470 at Sotheby's in 2008, S Sudjojono, whose Ngaso trebled its estimate to sell for $495,100 at Christie's Hong Kong in November 2011, and Hendra Gunawan, whose Bathing by the river also trebled its estimate at the same auction in 2011 to make $464,322.

Nyoman Masriadi
Nyoman Masriadi’s Kena gigi uang kembali sold for $263,970 in 2008


The market has received a particular boost courtesy of the efforts of renowned Chinese-Indonesian collector Budi Tek, whose original focus on Chinese artists has recently been supplemented by works by Indonesian painters, due to his belief of the growth potential of the market.

The Saatchi Gallery in London and the Louis Vuitton Cultural Space in Paris have both recently featured major Indonesian art exhibitions, while both Christie's and Sotheby's regularly star Indonesian works in their Asian sales.

Investors can capitalise on the burgeoning market now, before its true worth is attained. "Unfortunately, we still suffer from what the art critic Robert Hughes called 'cultural cringe', that is, our art is only art if New York or London says it is," Valentine Willie, an owner of art galleries throughout south-east Asia told the publication.

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