The Korea Herald


Art auction markets perform well despite COVID-19 threat

By Park Yuna

Published : March 27, 2020 - 17:22

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(K-Auction) (K-Auction)

The two main art auction houses in Korea saw better performance than expected in March despite the COVID-19 outbreak clouding the art market.

Seoul Auction, the nation’s largest auction house, saw its auction success rate at 60 percent at the first auction of the year, held Tuesday. The total sales amounted to 5 billion won ($4.1 million), according to the company.

“We worried about the auction result because the viral infection has frozen the art market, but it turned out to be quite fair. The auction success rate marked 60 percent, which means we sold 6 artworks out of 10,” Son Ji-sung, head of the communication department of Seoul Auction, told The Korea Herald.

“Ancient artworks, which have been underrated, were popular this time … one of the ancient works at the auction was sold at 11 times more expensive than the initial price,” she added.

Even modern works of art have been well received. Japanese painter Kusama Yayoi’s “Infinity-Nets” recorded the highest auction price at 1.5 billion won.

K-Auction, the second largest auction house in the nation, says the total sales at the auction event held Wednesday recorded 5.4 billion won. The auction success rate marked 67 percent, according to the company.

“The sales amount itself was not high compared to previous auction results, but I would say we performed well under the circumstance of the COVID-19 outbreak,” Lim Youg-ju, a public relations official at K-Auction, told The Korea Herald.

Lee U-fan’s “With Winds” and Park Seo-bo’s “Ecriture No. 10-78” sold at 900 million won each, becoming the most expensive works of art at the auction while French painter Charles Camoin’s “Opened Window in a Dining Room in Saint-Tropez No. 3” was the most competitive art piece, selling for 40 million won, four times more expensive than the initial bidding price.

By Park Yuna (