Christie's Halt Archive Enquiries

January 8 2021

Image of Christie's Halt Archive Enquiries

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has been in touch, alongside a post made by @MulraineArt on Twitter in December, that the Christie's Archives is no longer responding to requests from researchers.

The Christie's Archives has provided an incredibly valuable service to researchers over the years. The service was particularly useful when it came to identifying old stencil marks on the back of paintings (pictured). In hindsight, it is rather remarkable that they provided this service free of charge for so long. But, it seems that the virus crisis has finally put an end to that.

To provide a short example of my own experience, I had emailed the department in May 2020 and received an auto-reply explaining that staff had been furloughed. A few days later I then received a message that staff were working remotely from home without access to materials.

A reader who had emailed the department in December was told that the member of staff who used to deal with archive enquiries has now left the company. The Department has been closed to outside enquiries since 2nd November 2020.

One wonders whether a subscription or pay-as-you-go system might help the problem of funding resources, if it is indeed money that is the issue.

Update - Christie's have supplied the following comment:

As a courtesy Christie’s has previously supplied complimentary archival information for the purposes of research.  However, with regret, the archives team has had to be reduced and can now only serve the needs of our own specialist teams.

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