After more than 40 years at Sotheby’s, Mee-Seen Loong has joined the Beijing-based Chinese ink art gallery INK Studio, where she will hold the position of director. Most recently a vice chairman at Sotheby’s New York headquarters, Loong is also responsible for founding the auction house’s contemporary Chinese ink art department.

In a press release, Chris Reynolds, who is one of the co-founders of the gallery alongside Chris Yee and Britta Erickson, said:

Up until now, INK Studio has been a curation-driven, primary-market gallery. With Mee-Seen’s decades of experience heading up Sotheby’s dedicated contemporary ink art auction sales, she immediately expands what we can accomplish for our artists, working with international collectors and institutions not only in the primary market but now in the secondary market.

The news brings together two rising trends in the market: the migration of top auction house figures to commercial galleries, and the rise of contemporary Chinese ink art. The release notes that the market for ink art is almost six times as large as it was a decade ago, as evidenced by the auction houses launching sales devoted to ink art, and a boutique fair that focuses on the medium, Ink Asia, that launched in Hong Kong in 2015.

In this arena, collectors and curators attested to Loong’s expertise. Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, said:

Mee-Seen Loong is a pioneering, legendary figure in the world of Chinese art. She has generously mentored generations of newcomers to the field, both professionals and amateurs, sharing her knowledge and passion in ways that have changed lives and built careers. Over the past decade, her engagement with the emerging field of contemporary ink has done much to bring it to the center of the global art conversation.