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Buying art in Singapore: We asked readers where to find the best pieces

Whether you’re just getting into art or you’re an art connoisseur, there are plenty of art galleries in Singapore to cater to all tastes. Here, eleven Expat Living readers tell us where they bought their favourite piece of art and how they display it in their homes.

Elena with the painting she bought from 11.12 Gallery
Elena with the painting she bought from 11.12 Gallery

Elena Maliarova-Watt, Russia and Australia
4 years in Singapore

“I visited 11.12 Gallery in June this year with a friend. I really liked its cosy atmosphere and the fact that all the artists represented use different techniques .

I bought a painting called Wonderland by Alina Maksimenko. Her artwork caught my eye because of its bright colours, and beautiful images of women and their unique styles. Wonderland touched my heart as it reminds me of the summer days I spent on the Black Sea as a child. The water, boats and bright, vivid colours are beautifully reflected in this special piece of art, which perfectly complements the feature wall in my bright city apartment.

While living in India, I acquired numerous pieces of art that captured the tradition and culture of the country. I own original pieces by various artists from Russia, some Southeast Asian countries and Australia, as I like to collect art from the countries I’ve lived in and visited.

11.12 Gallery is the first Russian gallery in Singapore and they feature works from prominent and up-and-coming Russian artists. I love visiting their exhibitions and I hope to buy another piece soon.”

11.12 Gallery
36 Armenian Street, #04-02
6636 7738 | 11-12gallery.com

Rita has bought several artworks from Asiatrendgallery
Rita has bought several artworks from Asiatrendgallery

Rita Reber, Switzerland
5 years in Singapore

“I have bought several artworks from Asiatrendgallery, most of which are contemporary pieces approximately a metre square or larger.

My favourite piece is titled Dancers in the Sky by I Made Wahyudi. This piece evokes a tremendous amount of emotion through his use of colour. It’s as if the image projects a 3D effect. The artist’s gentleness and sensitivity is apparent from his work.

I have previously bought art from galleries in Hong Kong, Vietnam, New York and Switzerland, and I find the service at Asiatrendgallery both professional and highly personalised. They don’t have a fixed location; clients can view the works by appointment, and exhibitions are held three to four times a year.

The gallery currently carries works from 17 talented artists, mainly from Indonesia and Vietnam, all using different styles, techniques and media. Andrea, the owner, knows all the artists personally. Besides promoting their art, she is also helping them gain exposure so they can earn a better living.

Our Singapore home doesn’t have any wall space left, so I’m now buying for our new apartment in Switzerland!”

asiatrendgallery
58 Duchess Avenue, Duchess Crest
9627 6429 | asiatrendgallery.com

Sharon's first two art purchases since arriving in Singapore were from Astrid Dahl Studio Gallery
Sharon’s first two art purchases since arriving in Singapore were from Astrid Dahl Studio Gallery

Sharon Garside, Australia
8 months in Singapore

“Our first two art purchases since arriving in Singapore were from Astrid Dahl Studio Gallery. The first one is called Blossoms Falling, a mixed media semi-abstract piece in beautiful shades of blue, green, orange, red and gold. The second piece is a six-panel semi-abstract landscape painting in similar colours to the first.

I love the colours and the abstract yet realistic nature of both pieces. Besides, I knew I had the perfect places to hang them. I viewed Astrid’s paintings in galleries while I was back in Sydney, and I would love to buy most of them! I’ve seen many beautiful landscapes over the years, but I love the different feelings and emotions that come through when I look at her paintings.

Taking one of Astrid’s art classes has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of the process of painting on canvas. For people unsure of how to choose art, attending an art class is one way to learn more about colours and design and develop an eye for choosing pieces for their home.

I’ve picked up some great pieces at local art shows, markets and regional galleries. Art is very subjective, so the most expensive doesn’t always mean the best.”

Astrid Dahl Studio Gallery
20 Lorong Telok
#03-01 Boat Quay
8383 1642 | astriddahl.com

Sophy with the canvas she customised for her husband's 40th birthday
Sophy with the canvas she customised for her husband’s 40th birthday

Sophy Weenink, New Zealand
7 years in Singapore

“I was looking for a special gift for my husband’s 40th birthday, and a customised piece of art that invokes happy memories for both my husband and me was the perfect solution.

I bought a 56cm x 120cm canvas in gunmetal blue with our children’s names and birthdates and our previous addresses listed in sequential order. The process of choosing the piece was straightforward, and Cristina provided expert advice on the size of the writing and the layout. I hadn’t realised how nice the different-sized lettering would look until she showed me some other pieces she had produced.

When buying art, I tend to research an artist that I like, choose a piece that complements my style and then package it as a gift for my husband! While I’ve bought pieces by well-known artists through auctions, from brokers or from the artist directly, some pieces I have on display are impulse buys from my travels abroad and have sentimental value.

Although I have limited experience of buying art in Singapore, I will only ever buy pieces that I think will increase in value or that I really love.”

C+S Art Prints
52 Newton Road
9188 6197 | csartprints.com

Rosie fell in love with this painting by Patricia Cabaleiro
Rosie fell in love with this painting by Patricia Cabaleiro

Rosie Oliveira, Brazil and UK
2 years in Singapore

“I attended an exhibition at CdeM and I fell in love with this artwork titled Meditation in Blue, painted by Patrícia Cabaleiro.

It’s an abstract piece composed of a number of free-form circles in multiple colours, some bordered in white. It was done with acrylic paint on canvas with a wooden frame and measures 180cm x 120cm. It was the perfect size for a wall in my dining room, where it is currently mounted. It creates a very peaceful atmosphere when I sit down to have breakfast. I love to look at it and meditate.

Apart from a large Chinese landscape painting I rescued from being discarded by a dealer in Pasir Panjang, this is the first work of art I have ever acquired. CdeM is full of beautiful pieces, mostly abstract but in a variety of styles or themes, and created using a variety of materials and techniques.

I don’t know much about the art market here in Singapore yet, but I believe it is very vibrant. We have friends from overseas who say they want to come here to purchase art because the market here has such a high reputation.”

CdeM Atelier & Art School
Block 5 Westbourne Road, #01-02
9620 4997 | cdem.com.sg

Antoine with Dawn Ng's artwork Toy Car, hung on the main wall in his living room
Antoine with Dawn Ng’s artwork Toy Car, hung on the main wall in his living room

Antoine Emmanuel Vidal, France
1 year in Singapore

“When I moved to Singapore last year, I wanted a distinctly Singaporean artwork. I heard that Benjamin Hampe’s gallery was renowned for its quality works by Singapore-based artists.

When my partner Jackson saw Dawn Ng’s artwork Toy Car in his gallery, we immediately thought it would be perfect for us. We hung it on the main wall in the living room, so we see it every day. It gives us a slice of Singapore in our home!

Collecting watches is something I’ve been doing for a long time, but this is my first art purchase ever. Benjamin was a good guide to help me discover Asian art. There is always something happening at Chan Hampe Galleries; it is one of the busiest galleries in town. It gives me great pleasure to view the art there. At the moment, I’m considering something from their latest exhibition.

Let your heart make the decision when buying art. Art should make you see the world differently or question what you see. This is why we chose to buy this painting.”

Chan Hampe Galleries
328 North Bridge Road
#01-20/21 Raffles Hotel Arcade
6338 1962 | chanhampegalleries.com

Guy bought three paintings from Colors Palette Art Gallery
Guy bought three paintings from Colors Palette Art Gallery

Guy Thompson, UK
2 years in Singapore

“I’ve been collecting art for the past 15 years from different parts of the world. I find the works of contemporary artists particularly fascinating and suited to my liking. I never treat art as a financial investment, so I only buy works that strongly appeal to my aesthetic sense.

I’ve browsed through quite a few art galleries in Singapore and my taste in art did not find a refuge until I chanced upon Colors Palette’s collection. The three paintings I bought there were my first art purchases in Singapore.

Art has always been a personal space for me, where thoughts and emotions come together in an expression I can relate to or draw inspiration from. When I looked at this painting, it immediately appealed to me as its style and colours perfectly blended to paint a sphere of thoughts which I found to be captivating, enriching and uncannily reflective of the world around me. And the price tag, although not a deciding factor, left me pleasantly surprised and made the decision easier!

The owners’ passion for art shows in their selection of paintings and they represent the full spectrum of celebrated maestros and emerging artists. We are in talks about a Sunil Das masterpiece and a work of abstract art by Biplab Dutta.”

Colors Palette Art Gallery
8186 8684 | colors-palette.com

Hester with one of the oil paintings of Singapore shophouses by Singapore-based American artist Shelby Dillon
Hester with one of the oil paintings of Singapore shophouses by Singapore-based American artist Shelby Dillon

Hester Aba, UK
9 months in Singapore

“I bought one large and two small oil paintings of Singapore shophouses by Singapore-based American artist Shelby Dillon. I love shades of green and blue and I like the colourful “Miami” feel of the paintings, even though they are of Singaporean architecture! It’s nice to feel like we have something unique that represents where we live.

To be honest, we are only just graduating to buying proper paintings for our home. Until now, we’ve mainly picked up prints or photos on our travels. I love that Culture Square makes it easy and affordable to invest in art. Besides, the team is really helpful and friendly.

Culture Square has a really diverse collection of paintings, quirky illustrations and photos, mainly by young Singapore-based artists who create works in various sizes. The non-intimidating environment is perfect for younger buyers looking to own their first real pieces of art.

My company, Sassy Mama Singapore (sassymamasg.com), is one of the media sponsors for the upcoming Affordable Art Fair in November, which is a fantastic art event. For the mums, there is even a kid’s drop-off area so you can let the kids get creative while you browse.”

Culture Square
72 Duxton Road
6222 3283 | culture-square.com

Aziza with a few of the 200-plus works of art she has in her home
Aziza with a few of the 200-plus works of art she has in her home

Aziza Ali, Singapore

“I love art and have about 200 works of art in my home, some of which are my own paintings. I love to support local Singaporean artists and have bought many local artworks over the years.

I bought this pencil charcoal painting by Singaporean artist Jeffrey Wandly from Maya Gallery. This particular painting is done on Chinese paper. He comes from an architecture background and it shows in his works; look, for example, at the mud house in China depicted in this painting. He is a very talented artist and I appreciate his style, so I will continue to support him.

The owners of Maya Gallery have a good vision and have stocked the gallery with a good selection of artworks. Besides local artists, they have pieces by Turkish, Malaysian, Indonesian, Spanish artists and more.

When it comes to art, I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’ll buy an art piece if the piece speaks to me and appeals to me; it has to grow on me! It’s a bonus if I know the artist and his or her background.”

Maya Gallery
666 North Bridge Road
6291 1760 | mayagallery.com.sg

Dr Iskandara with his painting by Scottish artist Ronnie Ford
Dr Iskandara with his painting by Scottish artist Ronnie Ford

Dr Bassel Iskandarani, US
6.5 years in Singapore

“This painting by Scottish artist Ronnie Ford reminds me of a community in Puerto Rico that we lived in before we moved to Singapore. I love the artist’s unique landscapes painting technique featuring highly textured surfaces and vibrant colours. I was also fortunate to meet him and his lovely wife when they visited Singapore in November 2012.

Besides this painting, I’ve bought several oil and mixed media paintings in various sizes from Ode to Art by Asian, American and Europeans artists. The styles vary from abstract to contemporary to figurative. In general, I have a preference for vivid colours and cheerful subjects.

I have been collecting paintings and sculptures for many years from various countries. Art is a passion for me. I don’t collect it for investment purposes. I like art pieces that speak to me and transport me to a different world. I am usually more drawn to unusual, distinctive art styles and techniques that have evolved from multiple experiences.

Ode to Art has a diverse collection that is vast enough to satisfy all sorts of interests. The gallery represents both promising and well-established artists from around the globe. I’m a steady client because the staff is knowledgeable, prices are just right and the location is very accessible.”

Ode to Art
252, North Bridge Road
#01-36E/F Raffles City Shopping Centre
6250 1901 | odetoart.com

Fran and Justin with the portrait they bought from REDSEA Gallery
Fran and Justin with the portrait they bought from REDSEA Gallery

 

Fran and Justin Boyd, UK
4 years in Singapore

“We bought a portrait of an English bull terrier by Australia-based British artist Christian Palmer, from REDSEA Gallery. It’s acrylic on canvas and measures 135cm x 75cm.

We never really thought about where we would hang the painting or whether the colours would complement our home; we just loved the artwork so we bought it. In fact, we loved it so much we went back to the gallery and bought two others in the series! The other two paintings are of a British bulldog and a hog. What attracted us to them are the expressions and the song lyrics, which add to their personification.

The artworks represented at the gallery are all beautifully painted or constructed, often with real humour. Every piece will provoke a reaction, which is what art should be all about. This is a good place to look for art; it’s not intimidating at all.

If the art is within your budget and you love it, buy it. Don’t underestimate the pleasure that owning a piece of art will bring you.”

REDSEA Gallery
Block 9 Dempsey Road
#01-10 Dempsey Hill
6732 6711 | redseagallery.com

 

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