Part II of the International Art Industry Forum panel discussion in Miami this December focuses on the ways the three different auction models represented here secure consignments, deal with the issues of title, insurance and authenticity. As well as how institutional clients interact the art market.
This International Art Industry Forum panel discussion was a joint effort between Elena Zavelev of Skate’s Art Market Research, galleryIntell, and the Russian Pavilion, and was held at Kavachnina Contemporary in Miami on December 5, 2013.
Javier Lumbreras, Artemundi: You all have very different models. At Christie’s, as far as I understand, you have online sales, but these are the main sales that have an online component. [Anne-Hélène], you have more of a higher-end market, and [Thomas] you have more of a “traditional” online auction house.
So, is this platform benefiting the high-end galleries, the emerging galleries or, perhaps, none? Maybe they are completely new participants in the market? Another thing I’d like to know is who has been giving the consignments? Are you getting the consignments from the traditional sources: clients plus dealers, or the galleries, or are you getting consignments directly from the art owners?
Thomas Galbraith, Paddle8: You are right in that our model is perceived as more “traditional” and in a way it is. But the way we operate is relatively non-traditional. The auctions that we put together are, rather than focus on the contemporary art, or photography, we found that more eclectic, more thematic sales resonate much better with our community and our buyers. So we work with a number of different partners but we also put together our own auctions and those auctions pull together works which are anything from design pieces to contemporary art pieces to three-dimensional pieces. If you look at the website right now there is even a collection of Swatch watches by Keith Harring from the 1980’s. And when you look at it online, in the context of everything else we are offering, and you’re more than welcome to have a look, it’s a great sale, it’s actually exciting, it’s actually fun because you see things in a context which is not “traditional”, which is different. In terms of where we find the majority of our pieces, they are really from dealers, collectors, sometimes we are actually getting consignments from museums, if they produce editions or something like that (they are not deaccessioning pieces through us necessarily). And then we also have quite a large network of collectors, who are sending in pieces for us to sell. The amount of organic inventory that we generate just for the site is significant. It is becoming a platform more and more for people to trade as individuals, as collectors.
Anne-Hélène Decaux, ArtViatic: What we do is quite traditional in a way. We are a peer-to peer platform and what we do is private art sales which we do online and we get art from collectors and from galleries, I think, like everybody. Actually, today I think we mostly have galleries, private dealers – I’d say like 65% of artworks come from galleries and private dealers and 45% from private collectors. Maybe they are looking for another way to sell, and then the buyers are mostly private collectors but we found that we have many institutional clients. Not only art advisors, but also investment funds, private bankers. These kind of people who people who are acting as agents for their clients because today, a lot of them consider art as an investment. That’s why we have this new kind of clientele, in addition to “regular” clients.
Do you think that issues with title maybe difficult to deal with with online-only sales? What happens when somebody sells a painting who doesn’t really have the authority to sell it?
Amelia Manderscheid, Christie’s: So with our online sales at Christie’s we follow all the same consignment stages as we would with our live auction or our private sale. To speak to your title question, we follow all of our normal courses of action – due diligence that we would do in any case, so any problem we would encounter – we would deal with it the same way. We have not had any of those issues yet – to date certainly. In terms of online auctions and what we are offering it really runs a gamut from jewelry to single owner sale of Chinese ceramics, that just started the other day, to photography sales. We do a number of things: both thematically and single artist . This last November, with our main auctions we had online sessions that were various owner, various artist, just like all of our traditional auctions that followed a more traditional path of a hybrid sale. We had a viewing, we printed a catalogue that went with all the other catalogues. We found that our existing client base was interested in those sales. It resonated more with them to have more of a hybrid [sale]. You could view them in person and then you could bid on them online. It was a very successful sale for us – we sold 70-80% of lots.
We also have unique and special things that we do online and that’s what I am most interested in and what I am most excited to go towards. For example, we have a partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation to sell off works for the artist’s estate. As part of that we do online-only sales. We always make works available to be viewed, but we don’t necessarily do a public viewing. But the condition reports are there and you can use a scaling feature. And this is what Thomas was speaking about – there are a lot of fun great things we can do. We did a new media sale n September, that had a lot of video artworks and you can show the entire video online. We had a 100% sell-through rate for the video works during that sale.
We are really interested in meeting our clients where they are at, so both – sellers and buyers, we are giving you different opportunities of how to engage with us: online, privately, or traditional auction.
Thomas Galbraith, Paddle8: That’s actually something that we are implementing. We are implementing a 5-year guarantee, along with all the other things that you mentioned. And in addition to that it’s also worth bearing in mind that there are also insurance policies that will provide guarantees in addition to the title insurance policies. So it’s all the stuff that we are aware of and will work with clients if they are interested in that. We will provide those introductions so that they can have access to those policies. But yes, it is something that we have been aware of and again, that line, that requirement for making people feel comfortable is absolutely something that we understand and are moving towards making those guarantees as part of our contract.
Watch Part I of the International Art Industry Forum panel discussion.
This article and video ©galleryIntell.