Christie's to Reduce London Summer Sales

The NY Times is reporting that Christie's will no longer hold summer contemporary art sales in London. The summer contemporary sales having been a fixture for almost 20 years. Christie's will now look to the development of more sales in Asia, where many art collectors and investors are now located. They also speak of more online curated sales and also finding ways of increasing interest in the more traditional auction sales, such as the decorative arts.

The NY Times reports
LONDON — Reflecting major shifts in the global economy, the art market is evolving at a rapid pace. Take Christie’s: For the first time since 1998, the auction house will not hold summer sales of contemporary works in London.

“We think a third contemporary sale in London after Art Basel and everything else that happens in the spring creates overload,” Guillaume Cerutti, the new chief executive of Christie’s said in an interview on Wednesday. Having seen Asian buyers generate 23 percent of the value of sales at the company’s most recent series of Impressionist and modern auctions in New York, Mr. Cerutti, who stepped into the job on Jan. 1, said that Christie’s was seeking to further develop auctions and private sales in Asia “as a third platform.”

With that in mind, Christie’s, a 250-year-old auction house that is owned by Artemis, a company controlled by the French luxury retail magnate and art collector Fran├žois Pinault, has reduced its London contemporary sales weeks to two from three, matching the frequency in New York. Christie’s continues to hold summer offerings of Impressionist and modern art, but its main evening sale on Tuesday will be held the night before the contemporary auction of its rival Sotheby’s. That rescheduling left Sotheby’s selling “Imps and Mods” on its own last week in London.

Changing times led Christie’s to announce in March that it would close its secondary London salesroom. The South Kensington venue, established in 1975 and known as Christie’s South Ken, will hold its last auction on July 19.

“The digital space is the Christie’s South Ken of the 21st century,” said Mr. Cerutti, adding that he envisaged the auction house as a global operation with fewer auction rooms and more online sales. But with more than 75 percent of clients concentrating on 20th-century and contemporary artworks, he emphasized the growing importance of specially promoted, curated auctions in more traditional collecting fields, such as the decorative arts. “We need to reinvigorate these categories and find new collectors,” he said.
Source: The NY Times

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