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Sotheby’s has released an update on its upcoming live and online auctions, following announcements from competitors Christie’s and Phillips over the weekend.
“We are closely monitoring the advice of governments and health authorities in the countries and cities where Sotheby’s is located and adjusting our business and operations accordingly,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.
Eight live auctions scheduled until March 31st – seven in London and one in New York – will be going ahead as planned. The first of which, titled Made in Britain, was held in London today, March 17th and exceeded its pre-sale estimate to achieve £2.1m. The rest in this period are online auctions, which remain unaffected.
Robin Cawdron-Stewart, head of sale for Made in Britain, said: “The beauty of the sale was that it offered something for every collector – when the catalogue went live, I challenged anyone to walk away without spotting something they would love to live with – and that came through in today’s strong results. The depth of bidding was an encouraging sign, with participants from 41 countries – in line with last year – and a surge in online buying”.
The auctioneer has postponed all Paris auctions taking place in March and April and one London auction for Works from the Estate of the Late Patrick Kelly.
It also moved sales that it had previously moved from Hong Kong to a then-safe New York back to Hong Kong, now to take place in the first week of July. These include the following: Chinese Works of Art, Fine Classical Chinese Paintings, Fine Chinese Paintings, Modern Art (Day Sale), Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, Magnificent Jewels, Important Watches, Wine.
Given the speed at which developments are taking place, Sotheby’s said it would take “final decisions about each event” approximately 30 days before they are scheduled to happen.
“Sotheby’s is technologically equipped to operate in a variety of scenarios and, based on conversations with both consignors and bidders, we are considering a number of formats to provide for sales to proceed in the most effective manner,” it said.
All Sotheby’s locations, except London and Hong Kong by appointment, are also now closed to the public until further notice.