Fires sales in Korea

Posted filed underArt Market, Auctions, Korea.

Art seized from the failed Korean savings bank Busan is set to be sold in Hong Kong in an $8.25m session that includes western and Chinese contemporary art.

The Financial Times reports: “Art seized from the failed Korean savings bank Busan is being sold by Seoul Auction in Hong Kong on Tuesday in an $8.25m session that includes western as well as Chinese contemporary art. Busan was at the centre of a massive influence-peddling scandal and went bust last year to the tune of $8bn. Its chief executive, Kim Min-young, was an avid collector in the antique and contemporary art field, and among his 2,000 holdings were books of Buddhist sutras listed as Korean national treasures. He also ran two art galleries, both named Chang (one in Seoul and the other in Beijing), and the aptly named Watergate gallery.

According to media reports, Kim borrowed more than $32m from Busan and affiliated banks, reusing the same artworks as collateral. After it went bankrupt, Busan’s assets, which include paintings by Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Feng Zhengjie, Dan Flavin and even Julian Schnabel, were confiscated by the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) to be sold on behalf of the bank’s creditors.

“We have put very reasonable estimates on the works,” says Seoul Auction’s chief executive So-Young Lee. He cites Zhang’s “Bloodline” painting, which prosecutors said Busan had bought for $1.3m and is now estimated at $615,000-$923,000. Zeng Fanzhi’s “Trauma” is expected to fetch $731,000-$1m and his “Portrait” $436,000-$667,000.

The Hong Kong sale will not be the last from KDIC: according to Seoul Auction, it has a $172m stockpile of art confiscated from Busan and other failed banks.”

Image above: Zeng Fanzhi – Mask Series 1996 No 6