Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Tag: bidding

A comprehensive report on the current art market from the Art Lending Services division at U.S. Trust

U.S. TRUST, AS DO MANY OF THE MOST HIGHLY REGARDED BANKING AND FINANCIAL ADVISORY INSTITUTIONS, OFFERS EXTENSIVE ART SERVICES. AS ART IS NOW CONSIDERED TO BE AN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT, AND NOT SIMPLY AN AESTHETIC PLEASURE, BANKING HAS ENTERED VERY FORCEFULLY IN THE COMPETITION TO PROVIDE ART LENDING SERVICES TO HELP BOTH COLLECTORS AND INSTITUTIONS HELP NAVIGATE THE COMPLEX ART WORLD.

RECENTLY U.S. TRUST, THE PRIVATE BANKING ARM OF BANK OF AMERICA,  PUBLISHED AN EXTREMELY COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS ON THE STATE OF THE CURRENT ART MARKET. IN A TIME OF TURMOIL AND CHANGE, GENERAL REEVALUATION AND A GLOBAL SHIFT IN THE ART MARKET, IT IS PARTICULARLY RELEVANT AND THE LRFA BLOG IS PLEASED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU. WE ARE DELIGHTED, AS WELL, TO REPORT THAT DANA PRUSSIAN, VICE PRESIDENT AT U.S. TRUST ART LENDING SERVICES, WILL BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE LRFA BLOG IN THE MONTHS AHEAD.

PART ONE

“We feel that you should not buy art purely as an investment. Buy it for love, desire, legacy, culture, pleasure, addiction,

status, and community.”

Art Services Market Update

At Bank of America Private Bank, we maintain a sharp focus on the art market and on the collectors, dealers, auctions specialists and institutions that make it function. We work closely with many of you across four pillars: art lending, art planning, consignment services and institutional arts endowment management. This update features our observations on the current state of the art market from a business perspective.

The Market

  • Current low interest rates, solid equity markets and more stratified wealth creation worldwide continues to drive capital toward art. The maturation and globalization of the art market has expanded the collector base and transformed the art market from a niche lifestyle into a $60 billion global industry.1 Still, overall art market growth in terms of total art sales has stalled since 2012, even as the S&P 500has currently more than doubled since that time.
  • If the Federal Reserve (Fed) continues its dovish policy, we expect collectors’ continued allocation of capital to art. When interest rates fall, the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-bearing assets like art goes down. The art market is driven by sentiment, so the greatest risk we see is a geopolitical event that impedes the global flow of capital and credit prompting collectors to pause.

• We anticipate that financial returns for contemporary art will be lower in the next decade than some may expect. The market has absorbed a lot of art since the turn of the century. An exceedingly large percentage of those works may be worth close to zero in a generation or so. And because we’re in a more mature and efficient art market, there may be fewer upside surprises than in decades past. We feel that you should not buy art purely as an investment. Buy it for your passion, enjoyment, legacy, culture, status or community.

The Auctions

• During the New York Spring Auctions, the market absorbed over $2 billion of art at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, handily above the $1.6 billion pre-sale estimate. It was the first auction season defined by large estates of postwar
and contemporary art. Eye-catching results such as the $91 million Koons “Rabbit”, the $110 million Monet “Haystack” and the rapidly growing market for KAWS belie a more modest 5.1% annualized return2 achieved for repeat sales during the season. Given the recent performance of London auctions and the lack of clarity around a Brexit deal, New York will continue to be the premiere sale site for high-end postwar and contemporary art for the foreseeable future. Fresh-to- market works, typical of the artist’s oeuvre, in good condition, with strong provenance, continue to perform strongest at auction. Works by female and black artists also continue their rise.

• You likely saw that in June, Sotheby’s accepted a $3.7 billion buyout offer from French media entrepreneur Patrick Drahi. Interestingly, Bonhams was also bought out earlier this year. Going private will allow Sotheby’s more flexibility to compete for top lots, which will benefit major collectors, and will provide time and space to evolve its business model, which, like Christie’s, is challenged. Competition for top pictures has become a race-to-the-bottom: China isn’t the growth engine everyone hoped it would be, and online sales have yet to deliver meaningful scale or margin expansion. With business margins at around 10% for the industry, auction houses are officially on the hunt for new revenue streams.

• Look for the auction houses to continue to expand into art advisory, financial services, brand licensing and even investment research as they look beyond their supply-constrained auction business. As a collector, you may see better terms when consigning top works at auction, but expect higher commissions for lower- value works. Buyer premiums will continue to expand at all levels. Finally, get ready for more convenience. Virtual reality will change how you view upcoming sales, and artificial intelligence will soon be sending you an endless array of Netflix-style lot recommendations across all categories based on what you’ve perused across the internet.

Sotheby’s now and ahead with Senior VP and Contemporary Specialist, Courtney Kremers

Sotheby’s New York

In 2015, Tad Smith was appointed to head Sotheby’s. Prior to that, Mr. Smith had spent a year as chief executive of the Madison Square Garden Company, which, among other businesses, owns the New York Knicks basketball team, the New York Rangers hockey team and Radio City Music Hall. Before that, he spent five years at Cablevision Systems, which like MSG is controlled by the family of Charles Dolan.

In an interview, Mr. Smith said he could not add to the expertise of Sotheby’s art experts, but he could act as a business catalyst. “The market for art is very large, it is global and there is an immense amount of new wealth being created every year,” he said. Sotheby’s said it was also splitting the jobs of chief executive and chairman of the board, both of which had been held by Mr. Ruprecht. Domenico De Sole, former chief executive of the Gucci Group and chairman of the luxury retailer Tom Ford International, who is currently Sotheby’s lead independent director, became its new chairman.

Tad Smith
President and CEO
Sotheby’s

In January 2016, Schwartzman and Cappellazzo joined Sotheby’s as Chairmen and Co-Heads of its newly formed Fine Art Division and the traditional structure of the auction house radically changed in an effort to adapt to an industry in flux.

https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2019/by-women-for-tomorrows-women-n10041.html

A recent auction was just one way in which Sotheby’s reflects and responds to the social and political issues of our times: an art exhibit and auction hosted by Sotheby’s and Miss Porter’s School called “By Women, for Tomorrow’s Women.” The event was the first all-women-artist benefit held at a major auction house.

Carmen Herrera
Sotheby’s By Women, For Tomorrow’s Women auction

Sotheby’s has taken a major leap into the 21st Century with its acquisition of Thread Genius, an AI-based recommendation platform, and Viyet, a high-end furniture design consignment platform focused on an emerging generation of antique and high-end interior design enthusiasts, just two of its recent corporate acquisitions since Mr. Smith took charge.

Viyet at Sotheby’s

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO CONTINUE ITS CONVERSATION WITH COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORY ART SPECIALIST AT SOTHEBY’S.

COURTNEY, WELCOME BACK.

IN 2015, TAD SMITH WAS APPOINTED PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SOTHEBY’S. SOTHEBY’S HAS BEEN RESTRUCTURED AND TRANSFORMED, ACQUIRING SEVERAL BUSINESSES THAT EXPAND OUR IDEA OF THE ROLE OF AN AUCTION HOUSE.  HOW HAS SOTHEBY’S GROWN AND CHANGED SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT?

We have changed a lot in the last few years, and that change has been exciting. We are adapting to a more global market and one that increasingly operates on digital platforms and outside the traditional auction seasons. Our business has become a 360 degree endeavor – and we are investing as much in new collectors, across all categories, as we are in those bidding in the blockbuster evening sales.  

Sotheby’s BIDnow
Live Online Bidding

SOTHEBY’S IS, UNLIKE CHRISTIE’S OR PHILLIPS, A PUBLICLY HELD COMPANY. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT ITS BUSINESS DECISIONS AND POLICIES?

As a public company, Sotheby’s has to maintain the highest standards of transparency and accountability. In a business that has a reputation for not always being those things, this distinction sets us apart. Trust is an advantage. 

Sotheby’s London

WITH A SOFTENING ART MARKET, POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY, A HIGHLY VOLATILE STOCK MARKET AND A SLOWDOWN OF GLOBAL GROWTH IN GENERAL, HOW IS THE ART MARKET AFFECTED BOTH SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM?

The art market isn’t immune to the global financial markets and political turmoil. But it is remarkably more resilient and less volatile than it was 12 years ago; it is a much more global market. I was in London in June 2017, when we held our Contemporary Sales only a few days after the Brexit vote. We had no idea what would happen, but we didn’t think it would be good. Contrary to expectations, any slack in UK bidding was far outweighed by the enthusiastic paddle raising from US and Asian collectors saw an opportunity because of currency fluctuations. The auctions were likely stronger than they would have been with no-Brexit. 

Sotheby’s Hong Kong

WHAT ARE YOUR IMMEDIATE PLANS AND FUTURE PROFESSIONAL AMBITIONS?

If I am doing exactly what I am doing now, in 20 years, I would consider myself lucky. I love my job, the artworks, the collectors I work with, and the team of people I work with. If it sounds unambitious to hope for more of the same, then so be it. 

IT DOESN’T SOUND UNAMBITIOUS AT ALL- BUT THE LRFA BLOG IS CERTAIN THAT IN MUCH LESS THAN 20 YEARS, YOU WILL HAVE RISEN HIGH IN THE RANKS AT SOTHEBY’S OR ANY OTHER ENDEAVOR YOU PURSUE. COURTNEY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INSIGHTFUL CONTRIBUTION.

Sotheby’s Paris

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, WE WELCOME TIMOTHY MACDONALD, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED, A NEW YORK BASED INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM. TIM HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COLLEAGUE, FRIEND AND SOURCE OF CLIENT REFERRAL AND WE WILL LEARN ABOUT THE MANY PROJECTS HE HAS OVERSEEN, BOTH HERE AND ABROAD AND HIS LOVE OF ART AND DESIGN.

PLEASE JOIN US!

Life in a jewel box with Courtney Kremers, Sotheby’s VP and Contemporary Art Specialist

The History of Now: The Collection of Daniel Teiger
Sotheby’s London

THE COLLECTION OF DAVID TEIGER, A MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT AND FORMER TRUSTEE OF THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, WAS SOLD AT SOTHEBY’S STARTING IN LONDON LAST OCTOBER DURING FRIEZE WEEK. THE COMPETITION BETWEEN THE AUCTION HOUSES VYING FOR SUCH A SUPERB, VARIED AND LEGENDARY COLLECTION MUST HAVE BEEN FIERCE BUT SOTHEBY’S MARKETING STRATEGY WON THE DAY. TITLED “THE HISTORY OF NOW”, THE COLLECTION FEATURED EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLES OF MODERN, FOLK AND CONTEMPORARY ART, FEATURING EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLES BY SUCH ARTISTS AS JASPER JOHNS, DAVID HOCKNEY, JOHN CURRIN, PETER DOIG AND MARK GROTJAHN IN A SERIES OF TEN TARGETED SALES WORLDWIDE.

Mark Grotjahn
The History of Now- The Collection of David Teiger

DAVID TEIGER CREATED A LIST OF PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE HIM IN HIS COLLECTING. SOTHEBY’S ADVOCATED THE SAME FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION IN ITS MARKETING AND SELLING OF IT: TRAVELING WORKS TO MANY CITIES, THREE IN ASIA ALONE; RESEARCHING, DOCUMENTING AND CATALOGUING EACH LOT; SELECTING THE VENUE THAT WOULD BEST SERVE EACH WORK OF ART, RESULTING IN AN OVERALL TOTAL OF MORE THAN $100 MILLION.

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2018/history-of-now-collection-david-teiger-l18623.html

Peter Doig
Buffalo Station 1
The History of Now- The Collection of David Teiger sale

THE HARD WORK, DEDICATION AND KNOWLEDGE OF WORKS  OF ART AND OF THE ART MARKET REQUIRED FOR THE SALE OF THE TEIGER COLLECTION IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF THE VIRTUALLY DAILY DEMANDS ON SPECIALISTS IN A TOP AUCTION HOUSE. CONSISTENTLY PLEASANT, CHEERFUL AND POLITE TO EACH AND EVERY DEMANDING COLLECTOR AND ADVISOR IS ANOTHER REQUISITE.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME BACK COURTNEY KREMERS, SENIOR VP AND CONTEMPORARY ART SPECIALIST, TO SPEAK FIRST HAND OF HER SOTHEBY EXPERIENCE.

WHEN DID YOU START AT SOTHEBY’S AND WHAT PROMPTED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN AN AUCTION HOUSE?  CUSTOMARILY, MANY PEOPLE START AT AN AUCTION HOUSE AND THEN GO ON TO WORK AS A DEALER OR ADVISOR?

Yes I did it backwards. But I am so thankful I did. I was able to understand the ecosystem that the auction house serves by first being a part of that ecosystem. Sotheby’s approached me about an opportunity to revamp their mid season sales in early 2013; that fall, we introduced the Contemporary Curated sales. It was an exciting new challenge, and when I left Kim to pursue it, she couldn’t have been more supportive.

Vija Celmins
Burning Plane
Good to Go: Property from the Collection of Joni Gordon

WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN AN AUCTION HOUSE?

I am surrounded every day by people that love what they do. My colleagues, both in and outside the Contemporary department, are some of the most passionate, inspiring, and hard-working people that I have ever encountered. The energy is contagious. Not to mention the thousands of objects I get to see, handle, basically live with, every year. And not just Contemporary works… Our office is a rotating museum of Old Master paintings, jewels, photographs, Japanese scrolls, the most beautiful mid-century design objects. I spend most of my waking life in a jewel box essentially. It is a privilege to work at Sotheby’s, so I try to earn it every day. 

Ed Ruscha Broken Pencil In Its Own Light: Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR AUCTIONS OR SINGLE OWNER SALES OR SPECIFIC LOTS THAT STAND OUT AS HIGHLIGHTS DURING YOUR TIME AT SOTHEBY’S?

The Joni Gordon Sale in 2014 – we sold a rare Vija Celmin’s plane painting (now on view in the SFMoMA show) and achieved a record price for the artist. In 2017, the sale of works from the Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw which included the most breathtaking works on paper by Anselm Kiefer, Michael Andrews, and Brice Marden… These weren’t the most high value consignments, or the biggest single owner sales in recent years, but the works were rare connoisseurs’ gems.   

Cecily Brown
Bonus
In Its Own Light: The Collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw

HOW DOES S/2, SOTHEBY’S GALLERY, WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SALES DEPARTMENT?  HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT THE BEST VENUE WHEN ADVISING A CLIENT INTERESTED IN SELLING A WORK THEY OWN?

Simply stated, when advising collectors regarding auction versus private sale, we need to understand what it is that they value most. For some, privacy and control of the sale process is paramount, and so private sale would be our recommendation. For others, the auction platform, which can present a unique opportunity for upside at a particular moment, is more appealing. With that said, every conversation is highly circumstantial and takes into account any number of factors. One that comes up frequently is depth of an artist’s market in relation to works currently consigned for an auction season (e.g. if we have four Calder mobiles already consigned for auction, we are likely not going to recommend adding a fifth).

Alexander Calder
Art Contemporain
Sotheby’s Paris, June 5, 2019

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU WORK ON A FORTHCOMING AUCTION?  DO YOU HAVE A FEW LOTS THAT COME IN THAT ANCHOR A SALE AND THEN SEEK OUT WORKS COLLECTORS MIGHT HAVE THAT WOULD COMPLEMENT THE SALE AND BE ENHANCED BY EXISTING LOTS?

Yes – you nailed it. We generally work on sales six months in advance, but naturally the intensity ramps up about two months out. Roughly half of the sale comes in from collectors who reach out to us directly. The other half we seek out proactively. Based on what has come into the sale in the first few months, we seek out artists and periods that we don’t yet have. We start to create ‘wish lists’ that we work from. If we are a month away from deadline and see that we don’t have a great Joan Mitchell or Donald Judd, we will go out and try to find one. Our wish list changes a bit every season depending on what we know collectors are looking for, and also, opportunities we may see to tell a particular story in an auction season. We look at the ingredients on the table, and then figure out how to make a well balanced meal! 

Joan Mitchell
L’Arbre de Phyllis
Lumieres: The Levy Family Collection
Sotheby’s NY May 16, 2019

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, COURTNEY WILL SHARE HER PERSPECTIVE ON SOTHEBY’S PRESENT AND FUTURE.

PLEASE JOIN US!

AND HAVE A HAPPY AND LONG-AWAITED MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

The career path leading to Sotheby’s New York with Courtney Kremers, Senior VP and Senior Contemporary Specialist

Sotheby’s New York

SOTHEBY’S IS CELEBRATING ITS 275TH ANNIVERSARY BUT IS HARDLY AN OLD FOGEY, DYNAMIC IN ITS EVER INNOVATIVE EXPANSION IN TERMS OF ACQUISITIONS OF NEW COMPANIES, FROM EVERYTHING AS DIVERSE AS THREAD GENIUS, A COMPANY THAT DEVELOPED ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE CLIENT EXPERIENCE BY MATCHING AN OBJECT TO AN INDIVIDUAL’S PREFERENCE AT A CERTAIN PRICE POINT, TO THE MEI MOSES ART INDICES, THEREBY GAINING UNIQUE ACCESS TO AN ANALYTIC TOOL THAT PROVIDES OBJECTIVE AND VERIFIABLE MEASURES OF THE ART MARKET BY TRACKING THE VALUE OF AN OBJECT OVER TIME. IN 2016, SOTHEBY’S BROUGHT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN-HOUSE WITH THE ACQUISITION OF ORION ANALYTICAL AND THE APPOINTMENT OF ITS FOUNDER, THE RENOWNED ART WORLD SCIENTIST JAMES MARTIN, KNOWN AS A TOUR DE FORCE IN USING TECHNOLOGY TO UNCOVER NEARLY UNDETECTABLE MISTAKES IN COPIES THAT APPEAR FLAWLESS TO THE NAKED EYE.

New Sothebys Galleries
designed by OMA

THIS SPRING, SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK, IN TIME FOR OUR FORTHCOMING IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN, POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY MAJOR AUCTIONS, OPENED ITS NEW DAZZLING RENOVATION TO THE PUBLIC. ARCHITECT SHIGEMATSU OF OMA, NEW YORK HAS UPDATED THE INTERNATIONAL AUCTION HOUSE’S HEADQUARTERS. THE INCREASED EXHIBITION SPACES, THE MIX OF VARIOUS SHAPED ROOMS, CORRIDORS AND GALLERIES  AND EXPANSION OF PRIVATE SALE VIEWING ROOMS, AS WELL AS  THE CREATION OF A DOUBLE-HEIGHT SPACE ON THE GROUND FLOOR ALL CONTRIBUTE STUNNINGLY TO SOTHEBY’S AMBITION TO BE THE BEST IN A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ALTHOUGH REMARKABLY SMALL INDUSTRY.

Cecily Brown

SENIOR VP AND SENIOR CONTEMPORARY SPECIALIST, COURTNEY KREMERS, WAS KIND ENOUGH TO PROVIDE A TOUR OF THE NEW GALLERIES AND IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE THAT THE LRFA BLOG CONTINUES OUR CHAT.

TODAY, COURTNEY WILL TRACE HER PROFESSIONAL PATH FROM UNIVERSITY ACADEMICIAN TO SOTHEBY SPECIALIST WITH A HISTORY OF HER ART WORLD EXPERIENCE PRIOR TO JOINING THEIR RANKS.

WELCOME!

COURTNEY, DO YOU THINK THESE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS HAVE BEEN PUT TO GOOD USE IN THE WORK YOU DO TODAY, AS AN AUCTION SPECIALIST AND, IF SO, HOW?

There were plenty of confused parents when I said I was getting an Art History degree (from Duke). They would ask, perplexed, “Well what will you do with that?” A kid growing up in NYC probably received a different reaction, but in Frederick, where no one knew anyone who worked in the art world, I think they thought I was wasting a good college education. I feel very lucky that my undergrad/grad time was a precursor to what I do on a daily basis now. As a Specialist, I am constantly researching art works, analyzing importance, condition, etc. My job now involves an assessment of value, which wasn’t part of my formal education, but it is certainly an extension of it.  

Kerry James Marshall

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE ART WORLD?  WHAT WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS YOU LEARNED THERE?

My first job out of college was working for the Mugrabi Collection. I had no idea who they were. I remember trying to Google them before the interview. In the first week, both Tobias Meyer and Larry Gagosian called. I answered the phone, and asking if they could spell their last names for me please almost ended my employment. 

The Mugrabi family taught me a lot, and they still do. They are tough businessmen who know their markets cold. If someone thinks the price they are quoting is too high, they will pull out five auction catalogues in which comparable works were sold and walk you through each result, and how that example stacks up to theirs and also where the markets were then/now. And for artists where they see future growth, they are more than happy to hold their position, and their asking prices, and wait for everyone else to catch up.  

Mark Rothko

THE MUGRABI FAMILY IS KNOWN AS MARKET MOVERS, TAKING MAJOR POSITIONS ON ARTISTS SUCH AS JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT AND DAMIEN HIRST. THE VALUE OF THEIR COLLECTION, WHICH INCLUDES THE LAREST PRIVATE CACHE OF WORKS BY ANDY WARHOL, HAS BEEN ESTIMATED AT OVER $100 MILLION.

WHAT WERE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AT THE MUGRABI COLLECTION?  WHAT ASPECTS OF THE JOB WERE THE MOST REWARDING?

Day one through Day 365, I did a lot of answering the phone and fixing the printer, but also, noting auction prices in the catalogues, creating fact sheets for new acquisitions, and providing clients with research, images, etc. for works under discussion. My responsibilities grew. The Mugrabis were incredibly generous in opening doors, and encouraging me to attend gallery openings, dinners, and art fairs on their behalf. When we loaned works to a Basquiat exhibition in Rome, I flew over to make sure the installation was as promised. For a 22 year old, new to New York, and new to the art world, it was all pretty thrilling. Looking back now, probably nothing was more impactful than meeting the artists who would come in for lunch, and the artworks that would come and go from the walls.

WHAT WONDERFUL TRAINING FOR THE TIME AHEAD!

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, COURTNEY WILL GIVE US HER VERY INFORMED RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT COLLECTING ART!

PLEASE JOIN US!

Christopher Wool

NB The artworks featured in today’s LRFA blog post are lots in the forthcoming Contemporary Evening Auction on May 16th at their New York headquarters at 1334 York Avenue.

The art market, present and future, with Phillips post-war and contemporary expert, Robert Manley

 

Edward Dolman, second from left, chairman and chief executive of Phillips, with, from left, the house’s art experts Jean-Paul Engelen, Robert Manley and Scott Nussbaum. Credit Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Edward Dolman, second from left, chairman and chief executive of Phillips, with, from left, the house’s art experts Jean-Paul Engelen, Robert Manley and Scott Nussbaum.
Credit Alex Welsh for The New York Times

NEWS OF ONE OF MANY MAJOR SHIFTS IN THE AUCTION WORLD POSTED IN AUGUST, 2015, IN THE ART INDUSTRY’S NEWSLETTER,  JOSH BAER’S BAER FAXT,  ANNOUNCING THE DEPARTURE TO PHILLIPS AUCTION HOUSE OF CHRISTIE’S SPECIALISTS, JEAN-PAUL ENGELEN (POST WAR AND CONTEMPORARY ART, CURATOR OF PUBLIC ART AT THE QATAR MUSEUM), HUGUES JOFFRE  (19th AND 20th CENTURY ART) AND ROBERT MANLEY  (DEPUTY CHAIR, POST WAR AND CONTEMPORARY ART). WITH THIS TRIUMVIRATE IN PLACE, PHILLIPS MADE ANOTHER LARGE STRIDE AWAY FROM ITS EARLIER MONIKER, “THE THIRD AUCTION HOUSE”, TOWARDS BECOMING TODAY’S POWERHOUSE WITH A GLOBAL PRESENCE.

HAND-PICKED FROM SOTHEBY’S AND CHRISTIE’S, PHILLIPS HAS OFFERED MANY SPECIALISTS FROM THOSE VENERABLE HOUSES THE PROSPECT OF JOINING A TEAM HEADED BY EX-CHRISTIE’S AUCTION VETERAN, ED DOLMAN, CEO AT PHILLIPS SINCE 2014, AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHAPE A NEW PLATFORM FOCUSING ON THE TASTES AND VIEWPOINT OF THE CURRENT CONTEMPORARY COLLECTOR.

http://www.artnews.com/2015/03/24/ed-dolman-at-phillips-auction-house/

Edward Dolman CEO Phillips

Edward Dolman
CEO Phillips

Dolman’s years at Christie’s coincided with a sea change in collecting habits. “The profile of the collector when I started in this business was someone fairly late in life who had gotten interested in a niche market and would spend 10 to 15 years building that collection,” he said. “But now the profile is completely different. They are much younger, they have much more money to spend, and they want to put together a collection a lot more quickly. They’re a little more impatient, and the supply problem is solved by the contemporary market.”

https://news.artnet.com/market/phillips-three-hires-christies-323427

IT IS A PRIVILEGE FOR THE LRFA BLOG TO CONTINUE ITS DIALOGUE WITH ROBERT MANLEY, DEPUTY CHAIR AT PHILLIPS, WHOSE UNDERSTANDING OF THE ART AND AUCTION MARKETS AND HIS DEEP RAPPORT WITH COLLECTORS BOTH ESTABLISHED AND NASCENT, SETS A HIGH STANDARD.

Robert Manley and Jean-Paul Engelen Phillips’ Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Robert Manley and Jean-Paul Engelen
Phillips’ Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art

ROBERT, WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE WILL BE THE EFFECT OF THE CORRECTION THAT IS TAKING PLACE IN THE ART MARKET? IN WHAT WAYS, CAN COLLECTORS PROTECT THE VALUE OF THEIR COLLECTIONS DURING THESE SHIFTS IN THE MARKET?

I don’t see much effect of the so-called correction on any area of the market, with the exception of works over $20 million. And even in that heady territory, there is still demand, just not quite as deep. The market is alive and well although maybe a bit of the froth has subsided. You might have to fight a tiny bit less for certain works and your place on the waiting list at a top gallery might be a little bit shorter, but fundamentally, things haven’t changed much.

I try to maintain the same outlook whether it is a down market or an up market. At the risk of lapsing into an extended art world cliché, you should buy the things you love and buy as well as you can. It’s also important to put together a collection that has some themes or some kind of focus, that make it more than the sum of its parts. Get some good advice from people you trust, like Leslie Rankow for instance!

BANKSY Submerged Phone Booth 2006 Phillips London Evening Sale October 2014

BANKSY
Submerged Phone Booth
2006
Phillips London Evening Sale October 2014

One important thing to do is decide on personal financial thresholds for your collection. Under a certain amount, you should be buying purely for the love of it, and with no hope or expectation of resale or appreciation of value. Above a certain amount, you expect a work to maintain its value, which in effect, makes it more of an “investment”.  

I hate talking about art as an investment, but if you want to protect the value in your art collection, the best way to do that is to avoid putting yourself in the position of having to sell something quickly. Most quality works of art by established artists can be sold at a price that is commensurate with its quality, if you have a long enough time horizon.

The best investment advice for art is…don’t invest in art. Invest in things that make you lots of money, and then your reward is the art you buy with it. The joy you get from it is your dividend, and if it goes up in value, it’s icing on the cake. Like any form of investing, it’s a pursuit for professionals. It’s a hard business to thrive in, with high opportunity costs and massive capital risk, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to make it your full-time occupation.

Interior view Phillips Auction House, London

Interior view
Phillips Auction House, London

THAT IS VERY GOOD ADVICE.

WHAT IS PARTICULARLY EXCITING ABOUT JOINING PHILLIPS AND WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

It was a great year on garden leave but I very much looked forward to joining Phillips. I am working side by side with Jean-Paul Engelen, providing strategic planning and vision for the Contemporary department worldwide. Most of my time is spent doing the same things I’ve always been doing, working with top clients and important works of art. Essentially I’ve been doing the same thing for about 26 years, but it never gets old because there are always new things to learn, and great collections to see.

The new challenge I welcome very much is working with Jean-Paul and CEO Ed Dolman, and many others, to create a strong team mentality, with complete trust and transparency. Phillips has put together an incredible team, some of the best and most experienced from all of the top auction houses, in all of the fields that matter to Phillips. The shareholders of Phillips are passionate art collectors themselves, have a long-term vision and are willing to invest in it. We have some innovative ideas about how we are going to organize our auctions and reach into new markets…at a smaller company like Phillips, we can do things that are impossible at a larger corporation. I’m very bullish on the contemporary art market in general and feel Phillips is positioned like no other company to play a leadership role in it.

Phillips New York

Phillips New York

ROBERT, THIS WAS SUCH A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG. SO MANY THANKS!

IN THE NEXT POST, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO VISIT THE LORETTA HOWARD GALLERY IN CHELSEA. THE GALLERY SPECIALIZES IN CLASSIC POST-WAR AMERICAN ART WITH AN EMPHASIS ON ARTISTS WHO CAME INTO PROMINENCE IN THE 1950s AND  1960s.  THE FORTHCOMING SOLO EXHIBITION OF MAJOR CANVASES BY EDWARD DUGMORE FROM THE !960s OPENS ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd AND CONTINUES THROUGH MARCH 25th, AT 521 WEST 26th STREET, IN CHELSEA, NEW YORK.

UNTIL THEN, THANKS FOR FOLLOWING THE LRFA BLOG!

 

The hierarchy of the auction world with Robert Manley, Deputy Chair of Phillips

auctions-1

THE FIRST RECORDED AUCTION ACTIVITY TOOK PLACE IN GREECE IN 500 BC WHERE WOMEN WERE AUCTIONED OFF AS BRIDES BY THEIR FAMILIES. ACCORDING TO THE RESEARCH POSTED IN THE TELEGRAPH, IN A BLOG BY CHARLOTTE ZAJICEK, IN OCTOBER 2016, THE ROMANS, AS WELL, WERE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE AUCTION PROCESS, REGULARLY SELLING OFF THE SPOILS OF WAR, SLAVES AND DEBTORS’ HOLDINGS BY THIS MEANS.

Roman Slavery Auctions

Roman Slavery Auctions

AFTER A LULL OF SEVERAL CENTURIES, THE AUCTION HOUSE, IN A FORM SIMILAR TODAY, BEGAN TO MULTIPLY, THE FIRST, THE STOCKHOLM AUCTION HOUSE APPEARING IN 1674, FOLLOWED BY SOTHEBY’S, FOUNDED IN 1744 AND THEN CHRISTIE’S, IN 1766.  IN RECENT DECADES, MODERN TECHNOLOGY HAS TRANSFORMED THE PROCESS OF AUCTIONING, INITIALLY WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF TELEPHONE BIDDING AND AND CURRENTLY REVOLUTIONIZING THE AUCTION PROCESS WITH ONLINE AUCTIONS DURING A PERIOD WHEN THE CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET HAS EXPLODED TO A FULLY GLOBAL SCOPE.

Online auction

Online auction

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG WELCOMES BACK ROBERT MANLEY, DEPUTY CHAIR AND WORLDWIDE CO-HEAD OF POST WAR AND CONTEMPORARY ART AT PHILLIPS, FOR A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE AUCTION HOUSE DEPARTMENT HIERARCHY, FORM AND FUNCTION. THANK YOU, ROBERT, FOR TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN US!

HOW DOES CHRISTIE’S STRUCTURE ITS DEPARTMENTS? WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A JUNIOR SPECIALIST, SENIOR SPECIALIST AND DEPARTMENT HEAD?

At the top, you have the International Head (or Co-Heads) who provides the vision and overall direction of the department worldwide. Then there are the local Heads of Department in New York and London, who report into the International Head. Then there are Sale Heads: Evening sale, Day Sale, Off-season (such as First Open), and Online sales. These Sale Heads are in charge of virtually every decision related to their sale, and they report into the local Department Heads. Junior specialists/cataloguers generally report to Sale Heads. 

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Then there are various senior colleagues who report to International Heads, who work on various important deals and assist important clients. We also had a separate Private sale department within the department, with its own team of specialists and administrators. This was the general structure about 1 year ago. In many ways, all specialists do the same things—we work on appraisals, price and evaluate artwork, help bring in business, help manage consignments, and work with collectors and dealers when it comes to buying and selling art.

Working side by side with the International Heads and Department Heads are Business Managers, who make sure everything runs smoothly and help manage everything on a day to day basis. They are the unsung heroes of the departments, in some ways, along with the various administrators who help manage the mountains of paperwork and logistics.

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HOW MUCH INVOLVEMENT DID YOU AND YOUR TEAM HAVE IN THE WRITING OF THE CATALOGUE LOT NOTES, A RICH AND HUGELY ACADEMIC CONTRIBUTION NOT JUST TO THE SALE BUT TO THE UNDERSTANDING AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE LOTS COMING UP FOR SALE.

When I started in 2000, the specialists on the team wrote all of the notes. I wrote a fair amount of the Evening sale essays in my first 6 years at Christie’s and it was an important part of my learning experience. I remember on more than one occasion, being at Christie’s at 3AM as we were finishing the Evening sale catalogue, and having Brett Gorvy (the International Head of Christie’s) ask me to write or rewrite a quick catalogue note. The catalogue deadline period is a bit like being in graduate school, and working insanely long hours was (and still is) a regular occurrence.

I forget the exact date but it wasn’t until about 2008 or so that we finally hired a proper full-time writer…by the time I left, we had a small team of writers (and a pool of freelancers) writing most of the essays. Brett Gorvy was a writer before he joined Christie’s and he took the texts and catalogues very seriously, obsessing about the comparables we would use, and the catalogue layout. He wrote many of the texts himself and still writes on the things that are important to him. In this regard, he was very much an inspiration and I learned a great deal from him.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS IN TERMS OF CONSIGNING WORK FOR SALE? HOW DOES THE SELECTION PROCESS OF WHICH SALE WOULD BENEFIT THE CONSIGNEE THE MOST TAKE PLACE?

Another great question, impossible to answer quickly. It really depends on the object. For 90% of the works, the choice is clear—all sales have a general band of minimum and maximum values and most artists have a clear track record of having performed well in those venues. And as I said before, my personal philosophy is that the auction estimate is what matters, more than the venue.

But there are situations in which a work of art can arguably be put in more than one sale and that is a decision that is generally made by a Sale Head. When it involves an Evening sale, the Sale Head typically gets input from their senior colleagues. We treat one-off consignments differently than a collection. You might not put a $100,000 Warhol in an Evening sale, but if it comes in with a nice group of higher value Pop Art, you might.

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There is also an intangible quality, a bit hard to define, but you are looking to put as many “special” works as possible in the Evening sale. Unlike a day sale, you can only have a finite number of works in an Evening sale and since it is the only Sale that the press will cover, it needs to be both interesting and commercially successful.

Personally, I think the distinction between an “Evening sale lot” and a “Day sale lot” is a false one. Every situation is different. I remember putting some great works by the Canadian Color Field painter, Jack Bush, into an off-season sale in July 2013 (from the collection of Andy Williams)…a move that some people in the trade were second-guessing. The three works in the sale remain three of the four highest prices ever paid for the artist, including the current world record, which sold for over $600,000 against an estimate of $30-50,000!

Jack Bush Red Side Right (Right Side Red) 1965

Jack Bush
Red Side Right (Right Side Red) 1965

YOU REACHED THE STATUS OF DEPUTY CHAIRMAN AT CHRISTIE’S PRIOR TO YOUR DEPARTURE? WHAT WERE THE RESPONSIBILITIES IN THAT ROLE AND IN THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ON WHICH YOU SERVED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY DEPARTMENT?

Essentially I did the same job I always did…working with top clients on top consignments. The only difference was that on the Executive Committee (and other committees I served on), I was involved with the strategic planning and overall vision of the department.

THE ART MARKET ENTERED A CORRECTION PHASE AT LEAST TWO YEARS AGO, AND WITH EACH PASSING SEASON OF AUCTION RESULTS, CONTINUES ITS REVISIONIST TREND. ROBERT MANLEY IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED AND SEASONED VETERANS OF THE AUCTION WORLD AND, IN OUR NEXT POST, THE LRFA BLOG IS VERY PLEASED TO HAVE HIM AS OUR GUIDE.

PLEASE JOIN US!

 

 

The art of auction with Robert Manley, Deputy Chair at Phillips

Christie's London: Robert Manley and colleague with Ed Ruscha's 'Mint (Red)' (R) and Willem de Kooning's 'Untitled XVII' (C)

ANDY WILLIAMS: AN AMERICAN LEGEND Robert Manley and colleague with Ed Ruscha’s ‘Mint (Red)’ (R) and Willem de Kooning’s ‘Untitled XVII’ (C)

A SINGLE OWNER SALE AT AUCTION OFTEN REPRESENTS A LIFETIME OF COLLECTING, A FIERCE COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION TO A PERIOD OF ART,  A PASSIONATE UNENDING SEARCH, ATTENDING AUCTIONS, ART FAIRS, AND GALLERIES, VACUUMING UP KNOWLEDGE FROM EVERY DEALER, SPECIALIST AND CURATOR. EACH AUCTION HOUSE COMPETES AGGRESSIVELY  FOR A SIGNIFICANT ESTATE OR COLLECTION OFFERING GUARANTEES, PREMIUM CATALOGUE PLACEMENT, SOMETIMES A SEPARATE PUBLICATION, AS WELL AS EVENTS PREVIEWING THE WORK, TRAVELING HIGHLIGHTS TO THEIR RESPECTIVE AUCTION HOUSES AROUND THE WORLD.

THE PASSION OF THE COLLECTOR RESONATES IN A SINGLE OWNER SALE, SUCH AS CHRISTIE’S ANDY WILLIAMS: AN AMERICAN LEGEND.

In addition to music, Williams’s other great passion was art. His collecting philosophy was based on exemplary connoisseurship – taking time to study an artist’s oeuvre and buying only the best examples… with special emphasis on artists working in New York and Los Angeles, some of whom he knew: de Kooning (a favorite), Hofmann, Diebenkorn, Kline, Noland, Ruscha, Motherwell, Oldenburg and Basquiat. ‘I could not imagine a life without paintings,’ he once admitted. ‘I look at my paintings every day… I could not imagine a room without art.’

Damien HIrst: Magnificent Obsession Barbican Art Gallery, London

Damien HIrst: Magnificent Obsession
Barbican Art Gallery, London

THE ARTIST DAMIEN HIRST HAS BEEN AN IMPASSIONED COLLECTOR SINCE CHILDHOOD. IN THE BARBICAN EXHIBIT, MAGNIFICENT OBSESSIONS: THE ARTIST AS COLLECTOR, HIRST SPEAKS ABOUT HIS COLLECTION OF SKULLS, TAXIDERMY AND MEDICAL MODELS AS

…reminders of what life is, and what it might be or will end up being. A collection is deeply personal, and says so much about who the collector is, and what they believe in or are afraid of, but I think it also inevitably ends up speaking of many fundamental and universal truths.

 

DURING HIS 16-YEAR TENURE AT CHRISTIE’S, ROBERT MANLEY, FORMER DEPUTY CHAIR OF THEIR POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY DEPARTMENT, LED SEVERAL OF THE HIGHEST-GROSSING SALES IN AUCTION HISTORY. HE WORKED CLOSELY WITH MANY OF OUR MOST PRESTIGIOUS COLLECTORS AND BROUGHT THEIR WORK TO THE MARKET AS HE CONTINUES TO DO SO AS DEPUTY CHAIR OF PHILLIPS.

THE LRFA BLOG IS PLEASED TO CONTINUE ITS DIALOGUE WITH AUCTION EXPERT, ROBERT MANLEY, ON THE ART OF AUCTION.

 

Robert Manley with Warhol's Silver Liz Looking Forward to the Past 11 May 2015, New York

Robert Manley with
Warhol’s Silver Liz
Looking Forward to the Past
11 May 2015, New York

YOU ARE KNOWN AS A “RAINMAKER”, AND JUSTIFIABLY SO. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THAT MONIKER?

I take that as a compliment, but I’m not comfortable with these kinds of descriptions, there is far too much ego in it. I know full well that a fair amount of the business that I’ve done has been a result of my being at the leading contemporary auction house. At the end of the day, the focus should be on the art, the artists, the collectors and the dealers (in that order)…auction house “rainmakers” should be near the bottom of the attention-getting food chain. 

I think of myself as an advisor of sorts, someone who helps people with making smart decisions when it comes to building their collections. If you build trust and confidence with people, they will think of you when it comes time to sell. I also get a fair amount of referral business from people I’ve worked closely with.  Most of the “rain” that I’ve made has come from people who I’ve worked with over the years.

Robert Manley & Leslie Rankow Evening Sale Preview Christie's New York 2010

Robert Manley & Leslie Rankow
Evening Sale Preview
Christie’s New York 2010

 

I admire truly experienced art advisors, who understand the business, know the history behind things and the market. In some ways, people like you are how I model everything I do and that’s not a facile compliment.

IN AN INDUSTRY THAT IS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE, WHAT GUIDANCE DO YOU GIVE A COLLECTOR IN TERMS OF HIS OR HER EXPECTATIONS WHEN CONSIGNING A WORK? AT AUCTION, CATALOGUE PLACEMENT, SALE PLACEMENT, PRIVATE SALES VS. AUCTION, TO NAME A FEW CONSIDERATIONS THAT COME TO MIND.

That is an excellent question, and one could write a book with the answer. I hate to generalize, but I know from experience that the most important thing is that the work must have a sensible and attractive estimate. The rest is essentially window dressing. If you are working with a knowledgeable auction specialist or advisor, put your trust in them and more often than not, you’ll be rewarded with a successful outcome. Don’t be seduced by aggressive estimates.

Regarding private sale versus auction for contemporary art, it really depends on the object, but in general, I think auction houses thrive best with classic examples by big name artists. In general, auction houses are not set up to handle private sales for works of art under $250,000 and they have little success with artworks that are atypical or by artists who don’t have a strong track record.  

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One increasingly smart option for collectors is to get both auction and private sale options from an auction house, what we call a “rollover” consignment … an object is consigned for a limited period of time for private sale, and if it doesn’t sell, it immediately goes to auction. In this scenario, consigning a lower priced artwork to an auction house makes sense for all parties concerned.

For a large percentage of the art that is in search of a home, an auction house is not the best place for it. A good auction specialist refers plenty of business to dealers who are better equipped and more knowledgeable about a particular artist. I would rather give clients the best advice, even if it means some business goes elsewhere.  

Jackson Pollock Christie's, 2004

Jackson Pollock
Christie’s, 2004

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SALES THAT YOU CONSIDER THE MOST SIGNIFICANT?

In 2004, Christie’s had the first Contemporary Auction that surpassed $100 million…we had a great Pollock work on paper from MoMA that sold for a world record price for the artist of around $10 million. We all thought there probably would never be another $100 million Contemporary sale, at least not for many years (anyone who tells you otherwise is lying). Little did we know that it would be the beginning of an incredible bull run in the contemporary market, in which every season would be more valuable than the next.

POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY EVENING SALE SALE 2785 New York, Rockefeller Center 15 May 2013

POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY EVENING SALE
SALE 2785
New York, Rockefeller Center
15 May 2013

One important landmark was Christie’s May 2013 Post-War and Contemporary Evening sale auction. At $495 million, it which was the highest value sale of its kind, anywhere, in any category. Previously, all of the top value auctions were Impressionist and Modern sales. Now that the contemporary department had surpassed that, it was clear there would be no going back. The disparity between the Contemporary and Impressionist and Modern sales would increasingly grow with each passing season. This isn’t because one market was better or stronger, but simply there wasn’t enough supply of great Impressionist and Modern works.

Henry Darger At Sunbeam Creek/At Wickey Sansia Christie's New York: January 27, 2003 20th Century Self-Taught and Outsider Art

Henry Darger
At Sunbeam Creek/At Wickey Sansia
Christie’s New York: January 27, 2003
20th Century Self-Taught and Outsider Art

One sale that was lower value, but as meaningful as any I was involved with, was the Outsider Art auction that I curated for Christie’s in 2003. Consisting mostly of works from the incomparable Robert Greenberg collection, it was the first standalone outsider auction at an international auction house. I somehow squeezed this project in, in-between my working 80 hours a week at Christie’s East on the 20th Art sales.

Clyfford Still 1947-R-no. 1 Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 2006 5,000,000 - 7,000,000 USD Sold 21,296,000 USD Premium

Clyfford Still
1947-R-no. 1
Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 2006
5,000,000 – 7,000,000 USD
Sold 21,296,000 USD Premium

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC WORKS AND/OR COLLECTIONS THAT WERE THE MOST OUTSTANDING DURING THE TIME YOU HEADED THE POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY SALES?

One of the most memorable experiences was a consignment of a painting by the Abstract Expressionist painter Clyfford Still. Dating from 1947, dramatically painted in red and black, and in the same collection for over 40 years, the painting had all of the fire and jagged energy that you could ask for. It was truly as good a painting as you would ever get on the market, and since the artist sold few works in his lifetime (with the rest locked up in a trust), it was extremely rare. The deal was still being done on July 30, 2006, and as my fiancée was walking down the aisle, I remember taking the call from the consignor (I kept the call brief!). I worked on the deal throughout my entire honeymoon. Estimated at $5-7 million, it sold for over $21 million, a world record at the time.

Right: Collector Anita Kahn with Christie's Robert Manley (Photo: Sarah Thornton)

Right: Collector Anita Kahn with Christie’s Robert Manley
(Photo: Sarah Thornton)

I will also never forget working with Andy Williams and Anita Kahn, and bringing their collections to market when they died. It was bittersweet selling the works of two good friends, but I knew that I honored their collection and their memory in a way that few people could have. The auction results were astonishingly good, both between $70-$100 million, which is a testament to their eye and their passion. 

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, ROBERT WILL DESCRIBE THE ENORMOUS SCOPE AND SCALE OF FOCUS AND DEDICATION THAT A SIGNIFICANT POSITION IN THE AUCTION WORLD DEMANDS. ROBERT IS PASSIONATE ABOUT HIS WORK AND ABOUT ART AND HERE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ROLE OF AUCTION SPECIALIST!

Cheyenne Westphal shares the history of her professional path in the auction world

Cheyenne at Phillips, London 2017

ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I’D LIKE TO POSE A QUESTION THAT I AM SURE WILL INTEREST EVERYONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT  A CAREER IN THE ARTS. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE?

When I was at St. Andrews, I received a scholarship to study in California and took an art history course that was very traditional. The first lecture that addressed contemporary art was on Cindy Sherman and I wanted to know more!

My first job was at Sotheby’s. I applied in 1990 and had the advantage, not as common at the time, of being bilingual. I started in the Impressionist Department cataloguing for the first year. There is an enormous volume of material to research, to estimate to determine if it should be consigned. I did this all day long. One develops a great deal of knowledge and also the eye to recognize a wonderful work by seeing a great many lesser examples.

YOU HAVE SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS, AND DESERVEDLY SO, POSITION. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS OR AMBITIONS FOR THE FUTURE?

I love what I do. It doesn’t get boring. Although the format stays the same, there is always new material, new collections, new clients. I can’t get blasé about it when I am surrounded by extraordinary works such as the group of Richters, the Clyfford Stills and the minimalist works coming us this November.

It is completely interesting to make auction history – such as with the Damien Hirst single artist sale in 2008. This year has been one of extraordinary accomplishment bringing in the great German works from the Sixties. In the private sale sector, I enjoy making the deal, finding exactly the work that someone is looking fr, knowing where all the works are and approaching the owner.

I love the momentum of auction, the crescendo of the events leading up to the auction itself.

THANK YOU, CHEYENNE, VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME AND ASTUTE KNOWLEDGE AND FOR THE PLEASURE OF YOUR ABSOLUTE DELIGHT IN WHAT YOU DO.

Next week, I look forward to interviewing Nicholas Christopher, who heads Turon Travel, the designated  travel agency specialists for art fairs around the world. In anticipation of Miami Art Basel, I am very pleased to have a chance to speak with him.