Korean art market poses as alternative long-term investment for the rich

2021.03.08 14:53:58 | 2021.03.08 14:54:32

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The art market in South Korea is enjoying a boom as fine art works are emerging as safe and lucrative investments alternative to estate properties facing heavy regulations or volatile stocks.

The 2021 Galleries Art Fair that ran from Mar.3 to 7 at COEX in central Seoul attracted wealthy collectors recognizing art pieces as safe assets. When Christie’s canceled its offline auction early last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its private sales for VIP collectors jumped 120 percent from the previous year.

There is an increasing demand for fine arts from people who sold their properties to avoid heavy taxes or took profits from stock investment, according to a gallery operator. Young people are also looking for art pieces to spice up their home as they spend more time at home due to the virus infection.

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Collectors flocked to the art fairs to satisfy their pent-up demand after a series of cancellation of air exhibitions and auctions, industry experts suggest. The country’s biggest annual art exhibition Korean International Art Fair (KIAF) was canceled last year due to the virus outbreak.

The nation’s major galleries including Kukje and Gallery Hyundai sold art pieces fetching hundreds of millions of won at the art fair including Park Seo-bo’s “Ecriture No.080704” priced at 500 million won ($441,112). Works of late Kim Tschang-yeul, famously known for water-drop paintings, were also sold out.

Galleries participated in the exhibition said the market is enjoying the booming cycle that was seen in 2005 to 2007.

The art fair was also visited by BTS’ leader RM, former SMEs minister Park Young-sun running for Seoul mayor and LG Group chairman Koo Ja-yeol.

By Jeon Ji-hyun and Choi Mira

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]