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Collect with Confidence: Trusted Art Platforms in Asia Pacific The modern art market today is nothing like it was ten years ago. The days of onsite art auctions, where people spend millions of dollars on a single painting, are gradually passing. As a result, art ownership is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable for all art enthusiasts.

By William Wood

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The modern art market today is nothing like it was ten years ago. The days of onsite art auctions, where people spend millions of dollars on a single painting, are gradually passing. As a result, art ownership is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable for all art enthusiasts. In this column, we'll explore traditional art auctions and their new online counterparts to find which option is more relevant and accessible for users in the APAC region.

International Auctions

Christie's, Sotheby's, and Bonhams are the undisputed leaders of the art auction industry. These auction houses' rich history and pristine reputation have kept them on top of their game for years. Let's take a closer look at each auction house.


Christie's is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious auction houses, specializing in fine art, luxury goods, and antiques. Founded in 1766 in London, it boasts a rich legacy of auctioning iconic art pieces, including masterpieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh and Monet, alongside historical artifacts and collectibles.

Christie's initiatives, such as the "China Guardian Youth" and "NEXT: Japan" sales, offer opportunities for emerging APAC artists to gain exposure and recognition within the global art market. Additionally, Christie's holds dedicated sales and exhibitions specifically for APAC art, showcasing the region's artistic diversity and cultivating a dedicated collector base. They've established successful sales series, such as "Asia Art Week" and "Hong Kong Autumn Auctions," that cater specifically to APAC art.


Sotheby's is another highly respected and long-standing auction house, established in 1744 in London. They cover similar ground as Christie's, dealing with luxury items such as fine art, jewels, watches, and wine.

Sotheby's has established a physical presence in major APAC cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney. This investment strengthens relationships with local artists, collectors, and institutions, creating a supportive ecosystem for the regional art scene.


Bonhams has joined Christie's and Sotheby's as a major player in fine art, antiques, and collectibles. While Bonhams may not boast the same level of global brand recognition as Christie's and Sotheby's, it is celebrated for its solid expertise in specific collecting categories, such as watches, jewelry, and motor cars.

Unlike Christie's and Sotheby's, Bonhams has a wide network of regional auction centers, such as the ones in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth (Australia), and Auckland (New Zealand). This broader reach allows Bonhams to collaborate with more artists and collectors from the region.

All three auction houses have similar advantages: excellent art collections, a diverse selection of iconic artworks by world-renowned artists, and online art auctions. However, they also come with several disadvantages. For example, traditional auction houses are severely inclusive since famous artworks are pretty expensive, not to mention their costly and slow delivery, logistics, and insurance. Additionally, they lack onsite events in the APAC region despite attempts to attract more customers from the area.

Local Auctions

Having discussed international auction houses, let's delve deeper into the local APAC market.

SBI Art Auction in Japan

SBI Art Auction is a prominent auction house in Japan based in Tokyo. SBI specializes in modern and contemporary art, with a strong emphasis on Japanese artists. Additionally, SBI holds regular public auctions, which often coincide with major art events like Art Fair Tokyo, and the auctions are also available online via live streams and remote bidding.

However, SBI's collection is quite limited, with most artworks created by modern Japanese artists. They're only focused on the needs of the local audience, which limits global recognition.

33 Auction in Singapore

33 Auction is a prominent Singaporean auction house that conducts auctions featuring modern and contemporary works, Indonesian modern art, and Southeast Asian and Chinese masterpieces. However, participation in 33's art auctions is restricted to Singapore residents only.

Menzies Art Brands in Australia

Menzies Art Brands, established in 1878, is Australia's leading fine art auction house. Specializing in prestigious auctions of significant Australian and international art, they exhibit works by both local and world-renowned artists and often achieve record-breaking sales. Aside from auctions, Menzies offers valuation services and educational programs, serving as a bridge between art enthusiasts and the world of fine art.

Menzies is a good incentive for international auctions and Australians. However, their prominent works command prices that are not just world-class but, at times, even surpass them.

Art+Object in New Zealand

Art+Object, established in 2007, is the leading auction house in New Zealand. Specializing in modern and contemporary art, applied art, and rare books, they offer a platform for both established and emerging artists. However, Art+Object's focus on local and contemporary art makes their collections extremely limited. They're likely trying to compensate for their lack of collections by offering decorative art. Due to New Zealand's remote location, artwork delivery to other regions is also quite expensive.

Online Art Projects

The online availability of traditional art is a recent trend, with its own leaders in the market. The main benefit of online art platforms is the affordability of artworks. Furthermore, signing up is simple, and purchasing an artwork requires only a few clicks.

But how can physical artwork be available for purchase online? This is where real-world assets (RWAs) come into play.

RWAs are any assets with value that exist in the physical world rather than the digital realm. These include artworks, collectibles, commodities, intellectual property, financial instruments, etc. RWAs can be tokenized using blockchain technology, which allows for authorized digital representations of any artwork or other RWAs. The blockchain serves as proof of an asset's authenticity and security of purchase.

Among the projects that bring traditional art to the digital world we can specifically highlight Masterworks and

Masterworks is a platform specializing in alternative art ownership. They allow individuals to purchase shares of ownership of multi-million-dollar artworks created by dozens of famous artists. Essentially, they buy the artwork and then sell shares to the public on their platform, allowing people to obtain a piece of valuable art without having to purchase the entire work. Masterworks' art collection is extensive, so anyone can find a piece to suit their taste. is a revolutionary art tokenization platform that allows people to purchase classical art pieces, granting them legal ownership of portions of physical masterpieces created by top artists. Their collection includes paintings by Banksy, Warhol, Picasso, Dali, and others, all of which are physically located at their partner gallery in Dubai, Monada Art.

In contrast to Masterworks, emphasizes exclusivity. They carefully select each painting, and so far, their collection includes "Turf War" by Banksy, "Campbell's Soup Cans" by Warhol, and paintings by Dali, Picasso, etc.

Online art projects are a more accessible, faster, and more convenient alternative to local auctions and large international ones. Moreover, there are no issues with delivery or insurance. Thus, art ownership has been made much more straightforward: you can purchase an art piece with just a few clicks. However, the contents of your art portfolio are entirely up to you.

This column is brought to you by the team. Visit the website, browse the art collection, and expand your art portfolio with another masterpiece.

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