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June 2020

A NEW NORMAL: LIVE-STREAMED FROM SOTHEBY’S

By | Art Market Snapshot, Business, Gurr Johns News | No Comments

Last night the art market had its first major public test since the lockdown with a major ‘Evening auction’ session at Sotheby’s. This was certainly not a return to business as usual; viewing was by appointment, there were no glitzy receptions, and there was not even a saleroom filled with paddle-wielding bidders: instead, Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s European Chairman, stood on a rostrum in London for over four hours and conducted a livestream auction with staff manning phones in front of him, as well as in salerooms in New York and Hong Kong, and with clients also bidding directly online. It is often said that auctioneering is the second oldest profession; and while last night’s innovative event was a futuristic, slick-looking operation, the fundamentals were very much the same; supply, demand, a sense of occasion – and guarantees.

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