|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, January 16, 2021
|Sotheby's, grand old lady of auction houses, eclipsed by Christie's|
In this file photo taken on October 5, 2012 a woman walks past an illuminated board of the Sotheby's logo in Hong Kong. French billionaire Patrick Drahi says on June 17, 2019 he acquires Sotheby's auction house in $3.7 bn deal. Philippe LOPEZ / AFP.
NEW YORK (AFP).- Long a giant in the competitive world of auction houses, Sotheby's once led the glamorous field of fine arts sales, but in recent years has seen rival Christie's steal its thunder.
Snapped up by French business magnate Patrick Drahi in a $3.7 billion deal announced Monday, Sotheby's was founded in 1744 by British entrepreneur Samuel Baker and focused exclusively on book sales before expanding into other fields at the end of the 19th century.
That diversification was dramatically accelerated in 1917, when it moved from its base in London's publishing hub on the Strand to set up shop in Mayfair, the British capital's center of the arts.
Sotheby's expanded even further afield and opened its New York branch in 1955, three years before Peter Wilson began a 22-year tenure leading the auction house.
As the auction world's dominant player, it bought up the leading US fine art auctioneer Parke-Bernet in 1964, which gave it an entry into New York high society.
Wilson was quick to understand the power of turning Sotheby's auctions into major social events, attracting movie and pop stars and breaking with traditional British discretion.
A key turning point was the 1958 sale of the Goldschmidt collection in London, a black-tie celebrity event attended by such luminaries as Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, W. Somerset Maugham and Dame Margot Fonteyn.
As the first auction house to become a truly international enterprise, Sotheby's was organizing sales in Hong Kong by 1973, Russia in 1988 and India in 1992.
To boost its profile, it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1977 before being bought up in 1983 by US businessman Alfred Taubman, under whose tutelage it became a US company.
Back in pole position
The son of Jewish immigrants from Poland who had built his fortune in shopping malls, Taubman gave the venerable establishment the make-over it needed as Christie's threatened to eclipse its luster.
He offered new services to collectors, including storage, insurance and financing, before returning Sotheby's to the stock exchange in 1988.
That put Sotheby's back in pole position ahead of Christie's, but only for a while: by the 1990s, its rival was regularly topping it in terms of total sales.
Then in 1997, the 200-year-old establishment was rocked by a scandal when US authorities revealed that it had colluded with Christie's to fix prices and swindle customers out of millions.
Taubman was sentenced to a year in jail, a piece of publicity Sotheby's could have done without. The scandal also brought down Sotheby's CEO Diana Brooks, at the time considered to be the most powerful woman in the art world.
At the start of the 2010s, Christie's pulled ahead of Sotheby's, bolstered by savvy marketing and promotion, including the historic sale of "Salvator Mundi" in 2017, and of the Rockefeller collection last year.
In the high-stakes world of attracting collectors and securing sales of major collections, Christie's is now regularly in the lead, clocking up $7 billion in sales in 2018 against $6.4 billion for Sotheby's.
The previous year Christie's racked up $6.6 billion, compared with $5.5 billion for Sotheby's.
© Agence France-Presse
June 18, 2019
French billionaire Drahi acquires Sotheby's in $3.7 bn deal: auction house
Gun 'Van Gogh killed himself with' to go under hammer
Newly discovered photograph of Albert Einstein
Drahi, self-made French cable tycoon with rich taste in art
Louvre opens bookings for blockbuster Leonardo show in October
Sotheby's, grand old lady of auction houses, eclipsed by Christie's
The Musée du Louvre partners with HTC VIVE Arts for first virtual reality experience
School of Visual Arts donates nearly 100 iconic Subway Series works to newly opened Poster House Museum
Outstanding set of pier tables and glasses (mirrors) by Thomas Chippendale acquired for the nation
Heiress and legendary socialite, Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95
Burt Reynolds' last custom owned 1979 Pontiac Trans Am sold for $317,500
Jung Ho Lee's first solo exhibit opens in New York
The 2019 edition of Art Basel attracted a truly global audience, catalyzing excellent sales at all levels
Exhibition revolves around the complex emotional relationship between humans and technology
The Michener Art Museum appoints Laura Turner Igoe as Curator of American Art
Italian crime writer Andrea Camilleri, 93, hospitalised
Successful conclusion: paper positions basel 2019
Thousands gather to pay homage to Italian director Zeffirelli
VOLTA Basel 2019: 15 electrifying years
Miller & Miller Auctions announces results of sale of art, antiques and clocks held June 8th
The personal collection of Moe Howard, founding member of The Three Stooges, to be auctioned
A reinterpretation of Hokusai and Dürer in new work based on Old Masters
Doyle to auction the Estate of Oleg Cassini on June 27
Shortlist announced for 2019 Film London Jarman Award
Guide to Buying Art Projector
Top 5 Fun & Creative Rakhi Gift Ideas for Your Artist Sister
10 Ways to Grow From 0 to 20k Followers on Instagram
A Look at the Artistry in the 2019 CFDA Awards
How to Choose the Best Magnetic Drill Press
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.