Adeline Chia’s piece on Nicole Schoeni’s remarkable story is worth the read this Monday.
At the age of 32, she is heading one of Hong Kong’s top galleries, Schoeni Art Gallery, which specializes in Chinese contemporary art. She deals in millions of dollars, selling works by Chinese A-listers such as Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang, and Yue Minjun. She’s not only young but well-spoken and glamorous, with a Swiss-Chinese heritage.
“To be honest, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride,” she says, sounding levelheaded and calm. She has a certain knack for understatement, downplaying her own resilience in the face of tragedy. Her father’s death and its repercussions were “a big adjustment to her life.” On her remarkable ability to hit the ground running, she says: “Till this day, I’m still surprised at myself. I was just a student, a typical spoiled Hong Kong kid. At that point I think I’d had only two work experiences.”
But it was clear to her that she had to take over the family business when her father died. There was simply no other option in her mind.
She encountered her fair share of skeptics at the start. “There was a lot of uncertainty as to whether I was capable of doing the job,” she says. Older artists who had dealt with her father and known her as a little girl were unaccustomed to her being the laoban (the boss).