Auction House Aims to Popularize Art Collecting

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), September 29, 1999 | Go to article overview

Auction House Aims to Popularize Art Collecting


For most Koreans who are struggling to make ends meet in the recent economic turmoil, the idea of buying a piece of painting or a worn-out belonging of some dead people often worth more than their year's salary may seem ridiculous.

However, Kim Myong-sun, a manager of the Gana Art Center, says that collecting art or rare items in a time like this can be a viable investment. She has supervised the birth of the Seoul Auction House which is scheduled to open in Pyongchang-dong, downtown Seoul, in a gala ceremony tomorrow.

``The art market has now hit the bottom. And this, as many who are familiar with the business point out, offers collectors a good chance to buy quality items at the lowest price,'' she said.

Seoul Auction is one of a few auction companies existing in the country and its newly-built auction house is the first of its kind.

In commemoration of its opening, the establishment, with a floor space of 300 square meters, will hold open-house auction on Sunday.

The variety of items to be auctioned will be limitless, ranging from fine and decorative art to antiques, jewels, postage stamps, wine, musical instruments, memorabilia of celebrities, and many other collectable goods.

So far, Seoul Auction has used a venue in the Gana Art Center for the sale of its items since it was set up early last year as an affiliate of the center. But last September it became an independent auction dealer.

The facade of the three-story auction house, a stylish green colored structure, flanking the Gana Art Center on its right, is the work of Jean Michel Wilmotte, an acclaimed French architect. He has brilliantly renovated the previously derelict half-built structure which the art center purchased from from a fashion company.

Inside, a modern and decorative look harmonizes with a simple and straightforward structure, comprised of the auction hall in the basement, the pre-auction showroom on the ground floor, offices on the second, and the chic cafe on the third floor.

With the dedication of the auction house, Seoul Auction has reorganized its management and expanded its work force. Ten specialists in the collecting fields, five in Oriental art and the others in Western art, were recruited to strengthen the artwork evaluation team. …

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