Bidding Up: Escalating Prices are Putting Pressure on Dealers to Double Down on their Own Artists

(Illustration by Joseph Daniel Fiedler)

Last May, at Christie’s New York, the painting Park Avenue Façade by Abstract Expressionist Michael Goldberg soared to $461,000, well above the $100,000 to $150,000 estimate set by the auction house. The new artist’s record was set by Michael Rosenfeld, the Manhattan gallery owner who represents Goldberg’s estate. The art dealer said  he regularly buys Read More


Preview: Old Masters Week Sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s

22 Photos

The Rothschild Prayer Book, A Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin, Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum (c. 1505-1510)

“Maybe I’m in cloud cuckoo crazy land and I’m crazy, but I think most people are buying because they love the art and they plan to hold on to it,” said Christopher Apostle, head of Old Master paintings at Sotheby’s. “Certainly people don’t want to make silly purchases, but I don’t think people are so motivated by investment as they are about the love of the art.” 

It’s a refreshing sentiment given the motivations of many contemporary-art collectors, and another reason to enjoy the fanfare of Old Masters Week at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The sales start on Jan. 29, including the second Renaissance auction at Christie’s, which includes tapestry, terracotta, decorative art and furniture in addition to painting and sculpture.  Read More

human resources

Domenico De Sole Joins Sotheby’s as Lead Independent Director


Coming on the heels of last week’s news that Alfredo Gangotena will leave MasterCard to serve as Sotheby’s marketing chief, a fresh announcement states that the auction house’s board of directors has unanimously elected Domenico De Sole, the co-founder and chairman of high-end retailer Tom Ford International, as its “lead independent director.” According to the release, Mr. De Sole was elected to the Sotheby’s Board in July and began serving on Dec. 1. His new position—a role described, if not elucidated, below—is effective immediately. Read More

human resources

Sotheby’s Hires MasterCard’s Alfredo Gangotena as Marketing Chief

Sotheby's (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

Sotheby’s has lured Alfredo Gangotena, “a veteran marketing executive with an accomplished record of creating, managing and promoting global brands,” away from MasterCard Worldwide, according to a news release. As the chief marketing officer for the embattled auction house, Mr. Gangotena will act as “Sotheby’s brand steward and lead an integrated worldwide effort encompassing all the company’s communications platforms.” He will assume his new role in early 2014.   Read More

Kenny Schachter

Previewing the London Auctions With Kenny Schachter

16 Photos

Sotheby's has two Wool lots as well, estimated at £700,000–£900,000 ($1,118,740 - $1,438,380) and £200,000 - £300,000  ($319,640 - $479,460)

Presented here is a selection of slides from Observer contributor Kenny Schachter’s recent lecture at the University of Zurich, “X-Rated: Art of Pricing, Fall 2013.” Taken together, they serve as a mini preview of the upcoming London auctions. All caption information pertains to the postwar and contemporary art evening sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Read More


Daniel Loeb Calls for Sotheby’s CEO to Resign

Loeb. (Courtesy PMC)

Daniel Loeb, the CEO of the hedge fund Third Point LLC, which is the largest Sotheby’s shareholder with a 9.3 percent stake in outstanding shares, has called for the resignation of William F. Ruprecht, the auction house’s chairman, president and CEO, in a letter filed with the SEC and published on the agency’s website. The letter, which is really just bonkers, addresses what Mr. Loeb terms Sotheby’s “deteriorating competitive position relative to Christie’s,” which consistently makes out better in its seasonal evening sales, and concludes “that Sotheby’s malaise is a result of a lack of leadership and strategic vision at its highest levels.”

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