Art Basel Hong Kong director Magnus Renfrew is leaving the Swiss mega-fair to rejoin Bonhams, the auction house announced on Tuesday. He will assume the role of deputy chairman Asia and director of Fine Arts beginning in September.
“I am excited to be returning to Bonhams to take up this new position and relish the opportunity to drive forward the business for the fastest growing auction house in the most rapidly developing art market in the world.” Renfrew said in a statement.
Renfrew previously served as a contemporary art specialist for Bonhams for seven years before being named the founding director of ArtHK in 2008. That fair was purchased by Art Basel holding company, MCH Group, in 2011.
Bonham’s co-chairman Robert Brooks commented in the announcement: “We are delighted to welcome Magnus back to Bonhams in this newly created role. Magnus has an exceptional reputation and network within the international art world. He has played an instrumental role in the development of the art market in Asia over the past decade and we look forward to working with him to drive forward Bonhams’ business in Asia.”
The move is a blow for Art Basel Hong Kong, which many said seemed to truly be gaining its feet in its second edition this past May. It’s also particularly challenging considering the two months less turn-around time the fair has for 2015, having moved their dates to March going forward.
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