The Coming Out of Private Art Sales – artmarketblog.com
As I am writing this post I receive an email from Bonhams with the headline “BONHAMS OFFERS UNIQUE 17th CENTURY “MUGHAL MIRROR DIAMOND” NECKLACE FOR PRIVATE SALE – NECKLACE HAS ASKING PRICE OF US $20 MILLION”. According to the email “One of the most important and valuable pieces of Mughal jewellery ever seen on the market is being offered for private sale at Bonhams. The early 17th century Mughal Mirror Diamond necklace, made up of five pendant diamonds with emerald drops has an asking price of US$20m.”
Even more public is the Christie’s Private Sales website which can be found at http://www.christiesprivatesales.com. Featuring an online gallery of available works as well as details of selling exhibitions organised by Christie’s, the christiesprivatesales.com site is an impressive advertisement for Christie’s Private Sales. According to the website, “Private Sales has been an integral part of the Christie’s offering since 1766. Today, Christie’s Private Sales continues to provide out top global clients unparalleled service to meet their diverse and growing collecting needs. Our worldwide specialists, who are experts in their categories, will work one on one with you to advise on Private Sales strategies and your collecting needs.”
Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been focusing on increasing their share of private art sales over the last few years with both companies dabbling in the private gallery sector. Christie’s announced earlier this year that it sold $808.6 million of art and collectibles privately last year which is an increase of 44 per cent on the previous year. Sotheby’s reported 2011 private sales of $814.6 million which was an increase of 65% over the previous year.
Phillips de Pury have a private sales section on their website and opened a New York retail shop at their flagship 450 Park Avenue galleries in March last year. Another Phillips de Pury pop-up shop will open at the famous Claridge’s hotel in London which will sell unique works, limited-editions and prints by artists and designers such as Max Lamb, Martino Gamper, Michael Anastassiades, Tauba Auerbach, Faye Toogood, Bethan Laura Wood, David David, Snarkitecture, Brunno Jahara, Humans Since 1982, Victoria Wilmotte, Jonathan Muecke, Oevffice, and Ben Adams. The shop will be open from the 11 May – 13 June 2012 and the 2-17 July 2012.
In an exciting move for the French art market the French government lifted their ban on private-treaty sales by auction houses last year after vigorous lobbying from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and others in the face of equally vigorous attempts to prevent the change by French art dealers who stand to lose sales. The lift on the ban was effective as of September 2011.
**Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer. He is the founder of the Art Market Blog (artmarketblog.com) which offers independent commentaries as well as research and analysis on the current art market, and has recently been published in Fabrik magazine, Verve magazine, Visual Art Beat magazine, Australian Art Collector magazine, Art & Investment magazine and many others. Nic has made several radio appearances (both nationally and internationally) as an art market expert and has received press from the likes of the New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio and Times of London.
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