Contributor

Michael Goedhuis

International Art Dealer and Patron of Chinese Art

Michael Goedhuis was born in Holland. He attended school at Eton College and then spent some years at European universities in France and Germany before completing his MBA at the European Institute for Business Administration (INSEAD) in Fontainebleau.

Trained as an economist, he became an investment banker with First Boston Corporation in New York and London. He then worked at Hambros boosting their commitment to the Eurobond market. He subsequently took a degree in Art History under Anthony Blunt at the Courtauld Institute in London.

He then joined Jacob Rothschild working with the Rothschild art investment companies and was later instrumental in establishing the Oriental Department at Colnaghi starting with the sale of Baron Edmond de Rothschild's famous collection of Persian and Mughal manuscripts and miniatures. This major exhibition also included the sale of a Polonaise carpet for a then record £1 million to the Shahbanou of Iran.

By 1982 he had established his own company dealing in Islamic paintings and works of art, Indian, Japanese and Chinese art. During this period he also wrote for the Economist on art and the art world. In 1986 he succeeded in discovering and selling (to the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian for $7 million) the Vever Collection of paintings and manuscripts which had been lost since the 1930's. A film- "The Vever Affair" was made by the Smithsonian on this sale and on Goedhuis's role in the discovery.

His career in the art-world since then, both as an investment advisor and as a dealer, has been based on a policy of identifying commercially neglected areas which are of investment potential and are therefore appropriate for market development.

His work since the 1980's has focused on building major collections over a period of two to five years while concurrently stimulating interest in the area. He has done this in many fields: Islamic Metalwork (he acquired Prince Sadruddin Agan Khan's collection), Persian and India paintings and manuscripts (the Rothschild and Vever collections), ancient Chinese and Ming bronzes, Japanese porcelain and Indian sculpture.

Over the last 15 years, he has established himself as a pioneer in the field of modern and contemporary Chinese art, carefully identifying the best and most original artists working today. He now represents many of the most promising emerging artists as well as the most established masters from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Europe, and the United States.

The culmination of these early pioneering years was the comprehensive exhibition organized by Michael Goedhuis with Sotheby's New York in 2001, the opening of which, with an attendance of 1800 people was, apparently, unprecedented at Sotheby's.

In 2002 he expanded his activities by opening a gallery in New York to appeal to the accelerating interest in this field amongst institutions and private collectors in the U.S. Recently he opened an office in Beijing so as to be able to move rapidly to identify emerging talents in China and to create connections with the government, museums and the new generation of collectors as future clients for Chinese art, both ancient and modern.

In the summer of 2007 he negotiated the sale of the Estella Collection for $23.5 million, which represented the successful outcome of the investment of $3.8 million over the previous 3 ½ years. This collection was published and exhibited by the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

His principal activity now in the new gallery in London is a concentrated effort to develop links with both institutions and the generation of collectors in Asia. The drive by the Chinese to reclaim their cultural heritage is sweeping over the auction rooms of the world and his mission is to assist them in acquiring the best quality works of all periods, styles and media, from ancient to contemporary.

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