In a surprise move, leading auction house Christie’s is all set to discontinue its annual sales in India as a part of its broader strategy to consolidate operations around the world….reports Asian Lite News
“Christie’s continues to adapt to meet the needs of our clients and plan for the future as every business must,” Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s, informed.
“Following our success in leading the development of online-only art sales and growing our global client base through our investments in Asia and other regions, we are considering shifting more sales into our key regional hubs and online. Christie’s will remain ahead and we will stay the leading business for our clients if we are adaptable, relevant and focused on our clients.
“We continue to welcome new talent to our firm and execute successful sales as evidenced by Christie’s achieving the strongest selling rates in the market last week during our major London auctions. I am committed to investing in our expansion, our culture and our team,” Cerutti added.
It is expected that auctions of Indian modern and contemporary art will now take place internationally, in London and New York.
While Christie’s is looking at cutting its costs in India, major investments are likely to flow in the online segment as the auction house’s online-only sales in 2016 increased 106 per cent.
The firm also witnessed a 39 per cent increase in its buyers from America and is thus likely to focus more on such markets.
The international specialist team based in Mumbai will continue to work together on these auctions and will serve the clients “in new and more appropriate ways”.
Christie’s has also confirmed that it is undertaking a “global review” to adapt its activities “to better serve” the evolving art market, growing “international client base” and “enabling ongoing investment” in the company’s digital art sales platform.
The Mumbai office of Christie’s was set up in 1994 and will remain in its present location. This office will now serve as the window for the firm’s regional clients to the world market of Christie’s.
One of the leading players in the art business, Christie’s first annual sale in India took place in December 2013 and raised the bar for art auctions in India. It doubled its pre-sale expectations with a total of Rs 96,59,37,500.
With this sale Christie’s pioneered in the Indian art space, becoming the only international auction house to hold annual sales in India. Every year since then, new records were made and fresh segments were added to their catalogue.
A review will also be conducted to the sales calendar in Amsterdam to focus on 20th Century Art sales as well as to consolidate South Asian Art auctions in New York and London.
“Yearly we will be holding three stand-alone sales for South Asian Art — two in New York and one in London, as we did for the past 25 years,” the auction house said.
The announcement has been made as part of a broader strategy to consolidate operations around the world.