Olyvia Kwok In trouble! Olyvia Kwok, art and jewelry investing advisor.

 

High profile art and jewelery investing advisor Olyvia Kwok successfully bid for Water-Worshipper by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Idilli by Cy Twombly at Sotheby's in February. "I think it was a bargain," she said at the time of the $4.3 million price for the Basquiat, "and I believe that by the end of the year it will be in a different league. In 18 months we are looking to double what we paid."

 

Michel Basquait. Water Worshippers, 1984 Michel Basquiat. Water Worshippers, 1984

 

"I buy a painting for a client or trading on my own account, tell people I have it, and sell it on to an existing client within six months to a year." Kwok then reaps a 20 percent commission on the profit. "I find there is a sweet spot for retail clients between $500,000 and $1 million," she continues.

The Twombly work went in the same sale for $662.192.

 

CY TWOMBLY (1928-2011) IDILLI signed with the artist's initials and dated 76 oil, watercolour and crayon on three sheets of Fabriano paper sheet: 116.8 by 83.8cm.; 46 by 33in CY TWOMBLY (1928-2011) IDILLI
signed with the artist's initials and dated 76
oil, watercolour and crayon on three sheets of Fabriano paper
sheet: 116.8 by 83.8cm.; 46 by 33in

 

Kwok claims that the European Hong Kong based client, who she was introduced to by a friend, on whose behalf she was bidding later failed to come up with the funds.

Conditions of sale state that "on the fall of the auctioneer's hammer, the contract between the consignor and the purchaser is concluded, and the winning bidder thereupon will immediately pay the full purchase price or such part as we may require".

Sotheby's duly filed a High Court writ demanding $5 million plus interest of $75.323.

Her spokesman added: "It is a very unfortunate situation and the first time Olyvia has had any kind of problem like this. She is an innocent party. This gentleman asked to buy the paintings then turned out not to have the funds. She is in the process of paying for the paintings and she will then sell them in due course to other collectors." The matter is being quickly resolved, a spokesman from Sotheby's said: "We've now been paid the majority of the proceeds and payment in full is in the process of being amicably resolved."

Kwok, who is highly regarded in the art-world, became an art dealer at the age of 22 under the mentorship Conor Mahoney a former vice-president of the Chinese department at Sotheby's. She comments: "I often make private sales rather than go through auction houses, because many clients appreciate the element of discretion. They don't want any public record of the transaction – no noise, no emails, no text messages, just a print-out. It's like an off-market property transaction."

There has been a resurgent interest in regarding art as an asset class, in addition to the many existing art-investing several major banks have caught on creating specialized departments to advise their clients in art investing. The art market is however in many aspects, especially compared with the financial market, highly unregulated. Many agreements, from sales to artist and gallery relations, are finalized verbally. Kwok's reputation should not be harmed by the incident.

See more Michel Basquiat on Barnebys here.

See more Cy Twombly on Barnebys here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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