HISTORY OF SALE OF PAINTING ON AUCTIONS
Savior of the world. Leonardo da Vinci. Sold at Christie’s for $ 450,000,000 The first fine arts market was captured by commissioner pioneer former Marine Officer James Christie Sr. Having arranged the first sale in 1766 in London, he soon already owned a room with a specially built auction room for him. Christie owed her heyday to the 1848 revolution, which marked the “era of great sales.” It is believed that it was Christie who turned the trade in antiques into art – the largest auctions of the 18th and 19th centuries were held here. And by the way, none other than James Christie himself acted as an intermediary in a deal to sell the collection of paintings by Sir Robert Walpole to the Russian Empress Catherine II. The purchased collection of works of art became the basis of the future Hermitage Museum.
Sotheby’s founder was book seller Samuel Baker, who held his first auction in London in 1744 and published the first book with a fixed price. In 1754, Baker opened a permanent auction house. For a century, Baker and his successors specialized exclusively in books and were the organizers of the auction of all famous libraries, including the libraries of Prince Talleyrand, the Dukes of York and Buckingham, and the Napoleon Library, which the emperor took with him to exile on St. Helena.
In 1778, the case passed to Baker’s nephew John Sotheby, whose heirs led the company for over 80 years. Since 1778, the company became known as Sotheby’s. During this period, the company expanded its activities by selling engravings, coins, medals and other antique products, but the main thing was still the bookselling.
There was a tacit agreement by which furniture and paintings were sent to Christie, who succumbed to all Sotheby’s books. It was violated in 1913 by the sale of the “Portrait of a Man” by Frans Hals, sold for a good price for that time at 9,000 pounds. And in 1917 a big sale took place, for the first time including paintings along with furniture and prints. At the end of 1950, Sotheby’s took the lead in the auction sale of works of art.
Sotheby’s was a closed “club” where only aristocrats could get a job. By the beginning of the 80s of the twentieth century, Sotheby’s almost went bankrupt. In 1983, Sotheby’s was sold to the American entrepreneur A. Alfred Taubman, the owner of a large chain of stores. Today Sotheby’s is more than 100 offices worldwide, including a branch in Moscow. The annual turnover is more than $ 2 billion. In 2000, Sotheby’s became the first international auction of art objects, conducting tenders on the Internet. Among the most interesting lots sold on the Web is the first print of the Declaration of Independence (more than $ 8 million).
The third largest and most versatile auction house in the world – Bonhams. It was formed in 1793 by renowned engraving dealer Thomas Dodd and book antiquarian Walter Bonham, and expanded by the mid-19th century. Today Bonhams trades in 70 categories, including painting, cars, musical instruments, wines, carpets and design objects. The auction house holds over 700 sales worldwide. Bonhams has auctions in the USA (Bonhams & Butterfields) and in Australia (Bonhams & Goodmans).
The largest and most respected auction house in German-speaking countries, Dorotheum in 2007 celebrates the 300th anniversary of its founding. Founded in 1707 by Emperor Joseph I, in this sense, the oldest of the world’s major auctions. Dorotheum holds an average of about 600 auctions per year. In addition to Vienna, where the headquarters is located, it has offices in several Austrian cities (Salzburg), as well as in Milan and Prague.
The relatively young MacDougall’s is the only auction specializing exclusively in Russian art. Auction sales in 2006 rose to $ 10 million. The auction house sells paintings and other works of art from the 18th century to the present day and set several records for Soviet non-conformist art. The head office is in London, there are offices in Paris, Moscow and Kiev. Auctions are held on average twice a year.
STOCKHOLM AUCTION HOUSE
Stockholm Auction House (Stockholms Auktionsverk) – the oldest auction house in the world, was founded in 1674 in Stockholm. It holds an average of 75 auctions per year. It works only in Sweden, has offices in Gothenburg and Malmo. At least once a year, specialized Russian auctions are held. Also, Russian things can often be found at auctions selling European fine and applied art of the XIX-XX centuries.