Bonhams demonstrated its commitment to clients around the world by launching its new Hong Kong Gallery last night (8.5.14) as the hub of its Asia auction business.
The gavel fell for the first time in the new Gallery, expertly wielded by British Consul-General for Hong Kong & Macao Caroline Wilson. The guest of honour was welcomed by Robert Brooks, Group Chairman and the Directors of Bonhams Asia.
Her Excellency the Consul General offered a warm welcome. "It's great to be able to combine art, business, culture, retail and make history in one event. The Bonhams dedicated saleroom is a huge vote of confidence in Hong Kong and the Chinese, regional and global marketplace it represents. Bonhams has already voted with its feet in opening offices in Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo and Singapore. With this permanent auction space I am sure you will revolutionise auctioneering in Hong Kong and the region."
Addressing the large audience of collectors, dealers and art world luminaries, Bonhams chairman Robert Brooks, commented: "Bonhams has been holding auctions in Hong Kong since 2007, and these have been very successful. Since 2001, the company has undergone a massive international expansion. Bonhams now operates in 27 countries and on five continents. We have more than 60 departments and over 800 staff. We have grown from a small essentially British company to be become the third largest international fine art auction house running high quality sales round the world and often achieving world record prices for our clients.
"Like the other auction houses here we have been using temporary hotel settings for our auctions. Those days are over. This new permanent space - designed by award winning architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandliands - offers our client the experience and facilities they deserve. These premises are our first purpose built auction rooms outside UK and the USA and it's no coincidence that we have chosen Hong Kong as the location. You expect the Bonhams level of quality and service. And that is what you will get. Our offices, viewing and valuing facilities and auction room are now all under one roof enabling us to offer a streamlined one-stop-shop to our clients.
"We also believe the time is right to make another major change. As you know, at the moment, sales in Hong Kong take place in two short bursts of activity – in Spring and Autumn. We're going to alter that. So, overall, Bonhams will be offering more sales, more often and in more collecting areas than our rivals. This is how the auction business operates in the rest of the world. We think that's how it should operate here."
The Gallery designed by award winning UK architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands sets a new standard for auctioning art in the Asia region, and includes unprecedented technical features to provide uniquely flexible open space immediately adaptable to accommodate auctions, lectures, private previews and public events in one of Hong Kong's most prestigious buildings.
The Gallery incorporates sophisticated details included on a larger scale in the London award winning auction house on New Bond Street featuring spectacular lighting flexibility, space which can accommodate an international-scale auction or a private dinner and enables staff and objects to remain on site at all stages of the consignment and cataloguing process. Opening the purpose built Gallery represents the last stage of Bonhams' programme to create an auction business in Asia which began in 2007, and now includes representative offices and regional specialist staff in Beijing, Tokyo, Taipei and Singapore.
These state of the art premises remind us of the influence that the British art auctioneering tradition has had on Hong Kong and Asia. Few exported British brands have been so influential internationally as the 18th century British art auction brand.'
The first series of international fine art auctions in the new premises will run between 13 to 26 May, demonstrating Bonhams' commitment to bringing an international pattern of more extended and more convenient previews and auctions established in its other major sales centres in London, New York and San Francisco. It brings into line the international auction practice the auction programme which in Hong Kong has traditionally relied on simultaneously previewing several auctions held during the same week in one temporary hired premises
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com