Interview with Amir Sidharta

The director of Sidharta Auctioneer discusses his work.

Sindudarsono Sudjojono, Djakarta Pagi 2, 1967,
Sindudarsono Sudjojono, Djakarta Pagi 2, 1967, oil on canvas, sold at Sidharta Auctioneer, Jakarta, Indonesia

Name: Amir Sidharta

Title: Director

Department: Fine Art

Auction House Name: Sidharta Auctioneer

Auction House Address: Darmawangsa Square 2F/65, Jl. Darmawangsa VI & IX, Jakarta, 12160 Indonesia

Melanie Boyne: What does your auction house specialize in?

Amir Sidharta: Our auction house specializes in Indonesian Art. We have three departments: Fine Art, representing works of art by well-known artists, Artfordable, representing more affordable art work, and collectibles, which includes antique furniture, Folk Art, Decorative Art, textiles, jewelry, books, and prints.

We highly encourage a culture of collecting, as well as knowledge about the collections.

Djakarta Pagi 2 by Sindudarsono Sudjojono

Sindudarsono Sudjojono, Djakarta Pagi 2, 1967, oil on canvas, sold at Sidharta Auctioneer, Jakarta, Indonesia

MB: Can you tell us about any upcoming auctions?

AS: In November, we are holding a special collectibles auction, the Sidharta Kunstkring Collectible Auction, as well as another Artfordable Auction.

MB: Can you tell us about any development plans for your auction house?

AS: We plan to continue to focus on featuring primarily Indonesian Art, but we do hope to be able to present more and more art works significant to Indonesian art history.

MB: What is the highest-selling lot you’ve ever sold?

AS: Weekend (1999), a mixed media on canvas by Nyoman Masriadi (Indonesian, b.1973), which was sold at our Contemporary Auction in May 2008.

MB: What was your proudest consignment in the last year?

AS: Early this year we auctioned the property of the late Indonesian fashion designer, Peter Sie.

MB: When was your last important sale? What can you tell us about it?

AS: Our last important sale was the Fine Art Auction on October 6, 2013. This sale included five works by Indonesian Modern Art pioneer, S. Sudjojono (Indonesian, 1914–1986), several important early works by Affandi (Indonesian, 1907–1990) dating from the 1940s, the collection of art connoisseur Thomas Freitag, and a number of important Indonesian paintings from the collection of an Indonesian living in Europe.

Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati by Affandi

Affandi, Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati, 1942, oil on canvas, sold at Sidharta Auctioneer, Jakarta, Indonesia

Affandi, Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati, 1942, oil on canvas, sold at Sidharta Auctioneer, Jakarta, Indonesia

MB: How do you select your consignments? Do you reach out to clients, or are they coming to you?

AS: Of course we do both. While many consignments are coming to us, we also make great efforts to reach out to our clients. We not only offer pieces that are popular and in demand, but also pieces by artists who might not be in high demand at the moment who we think might be historically important for collectors to own.

MB: Have you noticed a trend in the origin of your buyers and sellers?

AS: Most buyers are young, novice collectors who collect because they are interested in the “investment value” of art. However, there are also a growing number of collectors who buy because they are interested in the artistic or art historical value of a work.

Our sellers consist of art dealers and gallery owners, as well as collectors or inheritors of great collections.

MB: Where is the next likely hot spot for art?

AS: Yogyakarta (Indonesia), which has already become quite hot.

MB: Has the Internet dramatically changed the dynamic of your business?

AS: Not dramatically, but it is changing and will continue to change the dynamics of our business.

MB: Has the growth of the Chinese Art Market impacted your business yet?

AS: It has, especially with the boom of Chinese Art in 2006, which trickled down to Indonesia as well.

MB: What do you use artnet for? How frequently do you use it?

AS: I use the site at least every month. I enjoy artnet for its insight on the art market. We also use it to promote our auctions and auction house.

MB: What are your favorite museums and galleries?

AS: As we focus on Indonesian Art, we enjoy even the dust-collecting art museums of Jakarta. Of course, we love the MoMA (New York, NY), the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Louvre (Paris, France), the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the Mumok (Vienna, Austria), and the Kroller Mueller (Otterlo, Netherlands).

Di Front, Mojokerto by Harijadi Sumadidjaja

Harijadi Sumadidjaja, Di Front, Mojokerto, 1964, oil on canvas, sold at Sidharta Auctioneer, Jakarta, Indonesia

MB: Do you collect art yourself? If so, tell us about your collection.

AS: My parents collected art, and I am slowly adding some interesting works of art into the family collection.

MB: If you could have dinner with any three artists, living or dead, who would you choose?

AS: Sudjojono, Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519), and Edward Hopper (American, 1882–1967).

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