The Future of Auctions?

June 30 2020

Image of The Future of Auctions?

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's held three gargantuan online sales yesterday evening. The prices achieved were equally enormous. The Contemporary Art Evening auction made $234.9m (inc. fees); The Impressionist and Modern Sale made $62.8m (inc. fees); and The Ginny Williams Collection Evening Sale made $65.5m (inc. fees).

The highlight of the three sales was Francis Bacon's Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus which made $84.6m(inc. fees), the third highest price for the artist achieved at auction.

Equally impressive was the way in which these online auctions were broadcasted. Instead of have a virtual countdown, as many of the recent Old Master auctions have been handled, the auction house set up a live saleroom with video links to departments with phone bids around the world. This certainly brings back the excitement of a live physical auction, which can sometimes be lost in the online-only format.

The auction house's website explains further:

During these unprecedented times, Sotheby’s worked quickly to revolutionize its marquee auctions, continuing to present world-class artworks in safe, engaging and new ways. In a dynamic, multi-camera event live streamed around the world, Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker conducted the three evening auctions from Sotheby's London, interacting via video with colleagues bidding in real time in New York, London and Hong Kong. This historic auction capped off a season of digital innovation, as Sotheby’s introduced a suite of new online features that delivered the full auction experience.

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