Shanyan Koder grew up breathing art. Coming from a family of private collectors, Shanyan’s knowledge of the art world was built over two decades of collecting for her family collection, and for her own private collection.
Shanyan Koder’s passion for fine art
Shanyan Koder tells HBVN, “My upbringing had everything to do with my love for fine art. My family fostered it and instilled my passion for fine art. Our life revolved around a combination of fine art, ballet, opera, and classical music.” Whilst her father is predominantly known as a successful global entrepreneur and businessman, he studied music as an undergraduate and is also a professional concert pianist by training. The family members have always shared a passion for art.
It was a natural part of her childhood to visit art museums, galleries, auction houses, and view paintings. Shanyan Koder attended auctions with her parents at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. They bid on works from the Impressionist and Modern art sales. She smiles, “I suppose you can say that my insight into art and collecting was given to me via learning by osmosis. I just absorbed the knowledge from a very young age. It was very organic and natural.”
The passion grows into the profession
An art-world entrepreneur, Shanyan Koder has had several businesses in the art world. She has provided a tailored and independent fine-art service to new and established collectors: sourcing and selling artworks as well as building and maintaining art collections.
How does she make an investment decision? “The value of art is an important factor when looking at the purchase price. Like all purchases of significant value, one certainly does not want to overpay. Art is also unique. There is only one original artwork unless you are looking at prints, where there is a limited edition number. The uniqueness of each work makes value very interesting, as it can become subjective.”
Shanyan Koder advises across Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary Art, and has collected and placed works by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Jean Michel Basquiat, Marc Quinn, Damien Hirst, Zeng Fanzhi, Takashi Murakami, and Andy Warhol, amongst many others.
Modern art or Contemporary art?
Shanyan Koder has always enjoyed and appreciated modern art. As a child, she grew up collecting works by modern masters such as Matisse and Picasso; or modern surrealists such as Dali and Magritte. Shanyan shares her experiences, “I bid for a late work on canvas by Miro at a Sotheby’s auction in the late 2000s. The prices of these works have always commanded attention. The institutional museum shows across the biggest cities in the world continue to elevate the value of the artists. Glamorous evening sales, beautiful exhibitions at the auction houses, and worldwide tours of the highlighted artworks. The prices have continued to rise for these masters, as has the appetite for owning these works. Modern art, in general, holds its value consistently and steadily.”
How about contemporary art? Shanyan Koder describes excitedly, “It is completely a kettle of fish. It’s dynamic and ever-changing. Prices of living artists can easily skyrocket. Then just as quickly, they may come down from their highs. Of course, the “mainstream” contemporary art masters will always command a certain value. Warhol, Lichtenstein, Basquiat, and Hockney, amongst many others in the same league. Many other contemporary artists still fluctuate in value as the world of collectors and art investors move in and out of different aesthetics and styles.”
A representative of women in the art world
As a respected member of the international art world, Shanyan Koder has served as a Council Member of the Serpentine Galleries and a member of the women-only Artemis Council of the New Museum of New York. She is also on the Advisory Board of Unit London, an emerging contemporary art gallery in London. Shanyan believes it has never been so important as now for the presence of women in the art world. She says, “I am so pleased to see the emergence of so many more women artists in recent years, as well as women in leading roles in art institutions worldwide.”
In the era of NFTs
Shanyan Koder has long been an advocate of using the technological advances of the digital age as a means of enabling cross-continental fine art acquisitions and collecting. As fine art moves into the crypto space, she recently became a Brand Ambassador for the world’s first decentralized mobile NFT social platform, Artemis Market. To celebrate their partnership, Artemis minted Shanyan’s first NFT series, titled Remember Me Like This. She hopes her partnership with Artemis will encourage more crossover collecting between traditional fine art and NFT art going forward. Shanyan advises collectors, “The art world develops together with the ever-evolving digital and technology age, and the emergence of NFTs. I think it’s wonderful to see how collectors and investors alike evolve in sync, almost like a dance, with the new technologies of contemporary art creations.”
Shanyan Koder’s thoughts on a favorite painting
A favorite piece from her collection is Damien Hirst’s Butterfly painting that hangs in her London residence. It is from his Kaleidoscope Butterfly series and is made entirely out of real butterfly wings.
Shanyan describes, “The wings are arranged in such a way that is reminiscent of a stained glass window in a cathedral or church. It is no surprise that it is titled Eden, given the biblical references of the composition and colors. It is an absolute delight to view the painting. The display of colors by the natural beauty of the butterfly wings is a celebration of Mother Nature and the beauty of natural science and natural history itself. Some of the butterfly wings, particularly those of the Papilio Ulysses, are iridescent and create a sense of luminescence across the entire work. I love how the painting is a subtle yet powerful reminder of the beauty of life and the beauty of death.” She explains, “Butterflies have a very short life. They are beautiful in life as in death. For me, it is a constant reminder telling me to always cherish the present, appreciate life, live my life, and not take anything for granted. It teaches me also that even in death, things are beautiful. So whilst life is so short, one should accept and embrace death when it is our time.”
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