Bonhams Emerging Fine Art Strategy

I have posted in the now to recent past on the capital infusion into Bonhams as well as there strategy to break the duopoly of Sotheby's and Christie's on the art market(click HERE to read previous post).  Colin Gleadell writing in the Telegraph points out some of the activities Bonhams has been working on to advance there position in the world of fine art and international auction houses.

To compete, Gleadell points out that Bonhams is offering guarantees as well as advances to sellers.  The upcoming 20 lot sale has a color catalog of 120 pages. 

Gleadell writes
Since Bonhams announced its proposed £30 million rebuilding programme this summer, it is becoming clearer that the company means business. While it is cutting down on its outpost activities in Knowle in the Midlands, and in Dubai, it is expanding in more important areas. On Saturday, a glossy contemporary art catalogue was delivered to my door. Contemporary art is one of the biggest money-spinners in the auction business, and until this year, Bonhams had only dabbled at the fringes. But eight months ago, it hired Anthony McNerney, a specialist with experience both at Christie’s and Phillips de Pury & Co, to lead it into the future. To compete with the other three big art auctioneers, McNerney needed a team, and now, with the backing of chairman, Robert Brooks, Bonhams has its first contemporary art team: eight specialists, most with previous experience at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Together they have assembled an intriguing sale of just 20 lots which will be held in the middle of Frieze week on October 13. That Brooks is putting money into the new venture is clear not just from the new level of staffing.

The catalogue for the 20 lots runs to more than 120 pages with colour reproductions and erudite texts on each lot, and highlights have been shipped for viewing in New York and Hong Kong.

The biggest jump for Bonhams, though, has been to offer financial inducements to sellers in terms of guarantees and advances. This has been an area in which Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips have long been involved to secure high-value items for sale. But for Bonhams, this will be the first time you will see the tell-tale symbols in the catalogues that are required by law to denote whether the auctioneer or a third party has guaranteed a sale regardless of the outcome, or has a financial interest in terms of part or full ownership of a lot. It only applies to three lots, but they are the most expensive ones. 
To read the full article, click HERE.

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