On a beautiful morning in Singapore, we had the pleasure to visit the home of one of our collectors, Olivier Simottel a Singapore resident for over a decade and an avid collector of fine art.
His home, a stunning black and white colonial house contains works by famous artists including Ai Xuan, Ling Jian, Liu Guosong, Cai Lei, U Lun Gywe, Tay Bak Koi, Srihadi Soedarsono and more.
We’d like to thank Olivier for his openness in allowing us to interview him and showcase some of the beautiful works in his collection.
Olivier Simottel with his work titled Porcelain Girl by Chinese Artist Ling Jian
How has living with art influenced your life?
I find pleasure in the beauty of art. My children moved from Paris to Texas, USA which lacks the cultural scene that Paris has. But when they are in Singapore, they are surrounded by these amazing art pieces, even during breakfast, which imprints on their minds and souls; it is a spiritual connection. I believe that art provides the sophistication and beauty that is an absolutely critical part of life that we should have.
You seem to have a penchant for Chinese art. What about Chinese art speaks to your strongly?
Well, I love Chinese art but I also do enjoy art from other parts of Asia, like Myanmar and Indonesia. I like collecting art from the different places that I travel to. Asia is a region of burgeoning wealth, it is going through rapid changes in the political scene that can be paralleled in the Industrial Revolution in Europe during the 18th century. The artistic movements and creativity alongside it is astounding. To me, art is not just for beauty and self-enjoyment, it is also a cultural legacy.
Beach Girls by Burmese artist U Lun Gywe
Is there a process in selecting your work?
Yes, there are two components to it. I choose art that I feel emotionally connected to. But I think it should also be an educated decision. I consult Alice on a work that I like, she is trained in understanding the skill level, productivity and auction value of these pieces. I only choose pieces that I like but they should also be a positive financial investment.
Work by Indonesian Master Srihadi Soedarsono
When and why did you start collecting art?
I bought my first piece in Barbados when I was 27 from a Jamaican artist. But I only started being more active in collecting since 2005. I grew up in France where art and culture has always been a prominent aspect of our history so I learnt to understand and appreciate it. I enjoy European art but I also love art from other regions; I have a few pieces of tribal art from Africa. To me, each artwork represents a culture so I try to collect a piece from every country that I visit.
Which is your most cherished piece?
I have two pieces, both from Liu Guosong. It is so timeless and modern, it has such a sense of tranquility to it. I plan on keeping it with me forever. You can see one of the Liu Guosong works in the background below.
From left to right – Ai Xuan, Liu Guosong and Cai Lei
Who are the artists you are currently following?
Cai Lei, his works are so dynamic. He is part of the post-80s generation that is still grounded to his Chinese roots and trying to break into the international art world. His works are authentic to China’s history but also very modern and relatable. I am going to follow him through his career because I think he will be extremely successful as a contemporary Chinese artist.