Armed with cred­i­bil­ity, trust, and well-cu­rated lots, Fi­nale Auc­tions re­joins the auc­tion scene as both a re­li­able re­source for vet­er­ans and a point of en­try for novices, writes MJ Jose

Philippine Tatler - - CONTENTS -

With its vi­sion to cre­ate an invit­ing at­mos­phere for both novice and ex­pert col­lec­tors, Fi­nale Auc­tions is set to change the game in the lo­cal art scene

uc­tion houses have long been con­sid­ered play­grounds of the wealthy. High-value items such as art­works, watches, and jew­ellery are put on the block, and well-heeled col­lec­tors place their bids un­til the auc­tion­eer’s ham­mer falls. At times, start­ing bids can be ex­or­bi­tant from the get-go, dis­cour­ag­ing aspir­ing col­lec­tors from bid­ding fur­ther. “Auc­tions can be in­tim­i­dat­ing, and un­der­stand­ably so be­cause it is not a venue where peo­ple feel they can read­ily par­tic­i­pate in,” says busi­ness­man and watch spe­cial­ist Paolo Mar­tel, who has been tapped by Fi­nale Art File as a col­lab­o­ra­tor for this pro­ject along­side art col­lec­tor Jayson Ong. “The auc­tion scene is a lit­tle bit dated, which is why we are find­ing ways to widen the net and make beginner col­lec­tors feel more wel­come.”

Fi­nale has been in the auc­tion game since the late 1990s un­til the early 2000s. Dur­ing this pe­riod, its Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Evita Sare­nas, and the late art con­nois­seur Ra­mon Vil­le­gas hosted auc­tions just for fun. Sare­nas, who has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in ap­praisal and au­then­ti­ca­tion for both in­sti­tu­tions and pri­vate col­lec­tors, is a well-re­spected name in the art world.

In Oc­to­ber 2017, she de­cided to re­vive the auc­tion busi­ness un­der the ban­ner Fi­nale Auc­tions with the last fine art auc­tion held in April of this year. Its next auc­tion takes place this month—on the 13th (for fine art) and 14th (watches and jew­ellery).

“To sus­tain the gallery—which is my pas­sion, and there­fore art for art’s sake—I source works by big name artists and sell them,” ex­plains Sare­nas. “Nowa­days, col­lec­tors pre­fer to un­load their pieces through auc­tions be­cause of the higher prices that can be fetched through bid­ding. When the idea of res­ur­rect­ing the auc­tion house came about, I de­cided to go with it be­cause it would merit ad­di­tional sup­port for the gallery.”

Fi­nale Auc­tions’ main pri­or­ity is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment guided by trust, cred­i­bil­ity, and con­fi­dence for both sell­ers and buy­ers. It is set to be launched as a multi­cat­e­gory auc­tion, but one that is ex­tremely well­cu­rated. Sare­nas and Ong are han­dling the fine art cat­e­gory, where lucky bid­ders can take home ma­jor works from Philip­pine greats such as Juan Luna y Novi­cio, Fer­nando Amor­solo, Ang Kiukok, and Mauro “Malang” San­tos. Those on the look­out for con­tem­po­rary art can look for­ward to works by artists like Ron­ald Ven­tura. Mar­tel’s team is tak­ing care of the watches and jew­ellery cat­e­gory, where highly col­lectible time­pieces from re­spected watch brands— some of which have never been of­fered for auc­tion in the Philip­pines be­fore—and signed pieces from com­pa­nies such as Bul­gari and Man­fredi will be up for bids. A high­light is a vin­tage Patek Phillipe ref­er­ence 3448 Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar in yel­low gold, which is the very first au­to­matic per­pet­ual com­pli­ca­tion pro­duced by the com­pany.

There are en­try­point pieces with start­ing bids of Php200,000 to 300,000, which Fi­nale Auc­tions hopes will serve as a come­on to novice col­lec­tors. “We can­not al­ways aim for ul­tra­high re­sults in terms of fig­ures be­cause that means we are lean­ing to­wards pleas­ing the sell­ers,” shares Mar­tel. “A bal­ance must be struck—ob­tain good re­sults for the sell­ers and make sure the buy­ers get good deals. What­ever amount they pay, whether it be P300,000 or P20 mil­lion, you want them to walk out feel­ing like they ob­tained the piece at a jus­ti­fi­able price. We’re not here to com­pete with the giants; we are here as cred­i­ble play­ers hop­ing to grow the mar­ket. Even though we are in the auc­tion busi­ness, we can­not be too op­por­tunis­tic or un­ap­proach­able.”

up for bids Bon­toc Igorote by Fer­nando Amor­solo

COV­ETED PIECES (Clock­wise from top left) Three Women by Malang; An open face pocket watch in yel­low gold by Thomas En­gel, made for Zenith; A stylish pair of mother of pearl and emer­ald dan­gling ear­rings set in rose gold; Jayson Ong, Evita Sare­nas, and Paolo Mar­tel; Di­aphanous An­thuri­ums #40 by Ro­mu­loOlazo

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