News & Views

Auctions where buyer won’t pay; seller won’t convey

17 May 2017

As auctioneers, two distinct situations arise periodically in regard to property being sold:

  1. A bidder becomes the buyer and he refuses to pay for his purchase.
  2. A seller refuses to convey the property after a bidder becomes the buyer.

The immediate thinking typically is that in either situation there is a breach of contract. Indeed there is a breach. Today’s topic is what recourse does either party have?

Basquiat's 1982 Masterpiece Set To Sell At Least US$60mil

28 April 2017

In the upcoming May 18 sale in New York, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction will be led by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled from 1982, a monumental masterpiece that has been virtually unseen since it last appeared on the market in May 1984.

Egon Schiele's Danaë estimated to fetch at least US$30mil

26 April 2017

On May 16, Sotheby's New York Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art  will be led by Egon Schiele’s first masterpiece: Danaë, painted in 1909 when the artist was 19 years old.

Daring in its technique, the work offers the earliest expression of Schiele's extraordinary vision. Danaë is distinguished further as the artist’s first major oil painting of a female nude, heralding the revolutionary aesthetic his art would develop over the next decade, until his untimely death at the age of 28.

Perception: Cai Xiaosong

26 April 2017

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery will stage a selling exhibition of Chinese contemporary artist Cai Xiaosong from May 5-19.

Entitled, Perception: Cai Xiaosong,  the show  features 29 works and include the artist’s new ink landscape painting series entitled Song – Perception which is said to mark a decisive transition in his art.

Eternally beautiful blooms

10 April 2017

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts alumnus Tang Juey Lee can claim the rare honour of being taught by distinguished Singapore artist Georgette Chen, but his painting style is quite distinct from his late teacher’s. After 40 years of painting, Tang’s rare solo show in Kuala Lumpur encapsulates all that he has learnt and more.

Can auctioneers trust any online platform?

10 April 2017

Auctioneers have given their data (particularly buyer data, but also seller data) to online platforms as we have partnered to sell property via either simulcast and/or online-only auctions.

And, so far almost every online platform (once with enough data and/or enough money on the table) has decided to do one of two things:

1. Turn on the very auctioneers who provided all this data
2. Sell-out to (and/or merge with) a company who will turn on these very auctioneers who provided all this data

Sotheby’s HK Spring 2017 Contemporary Ink Art Sale Totals over HK$30mil

5 April 2017

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Spring 2017 Contemporary Ink Art Sale Totals HK$30,418,750/US$3,914,893*

85% Sold By Lot Over Half of The Sold Lots Achieve Prices Beyond High Estimate

Liu Dan – Star of the Sale All Eight Lots from American Source Sold to Asian Collectors With Seven Among The Sale’s Top Ten

Artist Records for Wang Jiqian and He Huaishuo

New Auction Records for the Artist

But the bidders chose to bid again …

3 April 2017

This article is published with the permission of the author.


An an auction, nobody makes (requires) a bidder to bid, although some auctioneers are known to be pretty persuasive.

Given bidding is a voluntary act, can auctioneers merely take bogus bids and cite that, “Well, they chose to bid more, so what’s the harm?”