Sara on Sarah: Day 1 The Auction

In my new blog series Sara on Sarah, the first chapter of Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World takes a look at the auction. In Canada, the two fine art auction houses I’m familiar with are Heffel’s and Maynard’s, however one of the most (or possibly the most) famous auction houses is Christie’s in Manhattan, and this is the setting for chapter one.


Incidentally, 20×24, acrylic on canvas

Having been to only one art auction in my life, I was not only blown away by the dollar values of the pieces that sold, I was intrigued by some of the tidbits Sarah picked up on in her research. Apparently brown paintings don’t do as well compared to those in red or blue (I wonder how mine, above, would fair??!). Happier is fairs better as do pieces that can fit the standard dimensions of a Park Avenue elevator!

Sarah also notes that although not many of the works sold at auction are by female artists, there is quite a lot of contemporary art, due to the slow depletion of work by dead artists. Also experts say that the art that sells most easily has an immediate appeal or a “wow factor”!

Interestingly, Sarah found that some of the work by great artists like Gerhard Richter and Jasper Johns is apparently passe, while artists who sell well are ‘artist-enterpreneurs’.

So my questions are:

Given the book was researched and written before the crash of 2008, have the details of what sells changed? What about the SOLD price tags?

Would you want your work sold at auction, instead of a gallery, or online?


Oh to have the kind of money some of these collectors have to be able to participate in such an event!



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