“I grew up breathing art,” said Shanyan Koder. She is the eldest daughter of entrepreneur Canning Fok, dubbed Hong Kong’s “employee king”, who is both an art collector and a concert pianist. “We always shared a passion for the arts,” Koder recalls, “whether it was fine art, theater, opera, dance, or music.”
It is therefore only natural that Koder, based in Hong Kong, has made a career in the world of art.
After studying English and law at the University of Cambridge, Koder was an analyst and then a partner at Goldman Sachs before leaving the financial sector to join Sotheby’s London, where she worked with Patti Wong, then president of Sotheby’s Asia. .
In 2010 Koder founded the Hua Gallery in London to help promote contemporary Chinese art. Five years later, while transforming the physical art space into an online platform, she founded Shanyan Koder Fine Art to find and purchase works by impressionist and modern masters for wealthy clients. She also sits on the board of several museums and was a board member of the Serpentine Galleries.
Most recently, Koder became the brand ambassador for the world’s first decentralized mobile NFT social platform, Artemis Market. To celebrate this partnership, Koder will launch its first exclusive and out-of-print digital art collection on the platform, including four unique self-portraits.
While expecting twin girls, the mother-of-three spoke with Artnet News about her family’s collection, her homes between London and Hong Kong, and how her love of art impacted her sense of purpose. style.
OWhat was your first purchase? And what was your last purchase?
The first piece was woman in the bath, a beautiful and delicate charcoal on paper by Edgar Degas. It was a graduation present from my parents. Since then, my collection has moved from the Impressionist era to the modern era; I now also like to collect emerging artists in the field of contemporary art.
My most recent acquisition is a painting by contemporary Bahamian artist Cydne Jasmin Coleby, whose work has been acquired by many leading collections and museums.
What works or artists do you hope to add to your collection this year?
We’ve been looking for a suitable Lichtenstein for a while now. Basquiat or Warhol is always a good option for our family collection. I am [also] a huge fan of Mark Rothko’s work, and one day I hope to own one.
What is the most expensive work of art you own?
It all depends on the market values! We have most of the impressionist, modern, surrealist and contemporary masters.
Where do you most often buy art?
I would say auction houses have always been a popular buying platform for us.
Prior to [2020 I also] enjoyed attending gallery openings, museum exhibitions and meeting artists in their studios to see how they work in their environment. I have traveled a lot and always wanted to see art.[These days], however, we make a lot of decisions online. Social media has helped a lot as galleries and museums are now using [those] platforms as a way to showcase new shows and artists.
Is there a work you regret buying?
Not really! We are satisfied with our collection
How do you like to display your artwork?
Most of our works are exhibited in our residences around the world.
What work have you hung above your couch?
Back home in London we have a beautiful painting of butterflies by Damien Hirst, titled Eden. It hangs above our sofa in our main living area.
What’s the least practical piece of art you own?
Most of our artwork is on a household scale, making it easy to hang. I guess our butterfly painting by Damien Hirst is incredibly heavy!
What work would you have liked to buy when you had the opportunity?
I guess I got very lucky in the way I collect art because I never had a wishlist. We already have many masters that I have always dreamed of owning. When I collect, it’s often quite fortuitous; I appreciate the moment of [encountering] a work of art for the first time and be struck by its beauty and meaning. I like the surprise effect and the visual impact.
If you could steal one piece of art without getting caught, what would it be?
It would be one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance! But fortunately, with the new NFT technology, I can now digitally own a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci or Raphael.
What does art represent for you?
For me, art is and has always been a way of life, a passion that has guided my senses for as long as I can remember. I connect with art on a spiritual, emotional level; he is soothing to me and has always comforted me when needed.
Colors have always spoken to me, pastels in particular. One can never underestimate the power of the relationship between color and composition, as in a magnificent Rothko, or in Summaries Picture by Gerhard Richter.
When I appreciate art, it fuels my soul.
What does style mean to you? How do you define the relationship between art and style?
My sense of style is closely linked to my taste for fine art, inspired by the beautiful depictions of the female body by impressionists such as Renoir, Degas and Matisse. I find their work sensual and elegant, feminine and classic. It certainly had an impact. I like to embrace my femininity, my sensuality – this translates into fashion, jewelry, accessories etc.
As a gallery owner and art advisor, what advice would you give to new collectors?
I’m going to share three tips I’ve learned from the three most important people in my life as an art collector: My dad always said, “Don’t get carried away with the pursuit of a work of art. My art teacher always said, “Trust your instincts.” My husband always says, “Buy what you like.”
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