$2.5-million Golden Tea Room Part of Est-Ouest’s First Singapore Auction

$2.5-million Golden Tea Room Part of Est-Ouest’s First Singapore Auction
The auction highlight is a replica of a 17th century "Golden Tea Room" that is cast in gold, including the tea utensils. The inside walls are lined with red gossamer.
(Est-Ouest Auctions)

SINGAPORE — A “Golden Tea Room”, cast in 26.08kg of gold and with a pre-sale estimate about S$2.5 million to S$3.5 million, will go under the hammer in Est-Ouest Auctions’ first Singapore sale. 

Est-Ouest, which is Japan’s oldest auction house, will hold the sale in two sessions on Jan 25 and 26 at ArtSpace@Helutrans. This brings the number of auctions happening during the high-end contemporary art fair next week to four. 

Some S$11 million worth of art pieces will be on offer. The 334 lots include fine and contemporary art pieces, as well as jewellery and watches. There will also be works by international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara

The highlight is the “Golden Tea Room”, which is a replica of a 17th-century portable tea room of the powerful Duke Toyotomi Hideyoshi, an influential ruler known for his interest in tea ceremonies. The entire room is cast in gold, including the tea utensils, and the inside walls are lined with red gossamer. 

The other auction houses holding sales during that period are Indonesian houses One East Larasati and Borobudur, and 33 Auction, run by Linda Gallery. Like the others, Est-Ouest Auctions hopes to leverage on the turn-out during Art Stage, which will gather top regional and international art buyers to Singapore. 

Est-Ouest Auctions’ president Takashi Seki tells ARTINFO that he has observed the growth of Singapore’s art scene in recent years. “Aside from being an important global financial centre with an affluent population, Singapore is also a regional base for many multinational companies. And with the recent opening of art spaces such as Gillman Village and Helutrans, we believe this is an opportune moment for us to introduce our works by both Japanese and Western artists.

Mr Seki says he is happy to make the Singapore auction an annual affair, but much depends on the results of the sale. 

Est-Ouest Auctions was set up in 1984, and specialises in Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and later developed a reputation for Post-war and contemporary art.  In 2008, it merged with Discovery National Auctions, which had been noted for Japanese Art and Antiques. In the same year, Est-Ouest opened an office in Hong Kong, and has two auctions a year there, similar to its operations in Japan. 

Est-Ouest Auctions will hold its first Singapore Sale on Jan 25 and 26 at Artspace@Helutrans.