Shanyan Koder spent much of her growing up years unlike most little girls—curating her family’s art collection. So it was only natural that she became an art collector herself after she began curating her own collection. Her personal collection has been largely influenced by her family of art collectors and philanthropists as well as her parents, Canning Fok Kin-ning and Eliza Fok, who are equally passionate about the arts.
“My father studied music as an undergraduate and is a professional concert pianist by training, and we have always shared a passion in the arts together. Even today, we speak almost daily about something that has struck us as interesting in the art or music world,” said Shanyan, who was born and raised in Hong Kong and later studied English and Law in Cambridge, UK.
Over the past few decades, she assembled for her family, and herself, a remarkable collection of global artworks and objects that span different eras of history. Shanyan’s personal collection is one of the finest examples of cross-category collecting. It contains masterpieces and objects in the collecting realms of antiquities, works on paper, European and American art, Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists. In addition, some of the biggest names of modern and contemporary art are represented, including René Magritte, Sanyu, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among others.
Shanyan, who has two daughters with her financier husband Matthew Koder, has built a life centred on art, family and philanthropy. She has lived across three continents and her life and passion for the arts has taken her all over the world. The art world entrepreneur remains an active patron of the arts and philanthropist and is currently an ambassador for Borne UK, a Council Member of London’s Serpentine Galleries, and sits on the board of influential contemporary art gallery Unit London.
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Formerly from Goldman Sachs and Sotheby’s, she also founded Hua Art, a digital platform which champions Chinese contemporary artists, and a bespoke art advisory business Shanyan Koder Fine Art where she has placed works by Impressionists, modern and contemporary artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Takashi Murakami and Zeng Fanzhi to name a few, for discerning private clients. More recently, she co-founded a British tech company Global Showcases.
It is no wonder that this highly accomplished woman is the muse for famed jeweller Buccellati and internationally known interiors artist Sera Loftus. She is revolutionising the way people think about art and transact in the ever growing age of digital technology. This petite lady is a power player and definitely a woman to watch in the industry.
In the first part of the Collector’s Circle series for Tatler, Shanyan shares insights and valuable advice for new art collectors.