Private Viewing at Sotheby’s, 16 October 2017

Veronica Comyn, Vice President of ABIE, Cyrille Cohen, Vice President of Sotheby's France and Jeremy Durack, Secrétaire general, Sotheby's France

Veronica Comyn, Vice President of ABIE, Cyrille Cohen, Vice President of Sotheby’s France and Jeremy Durack, Secrétaire general, Sotheby’s France

A private pre-sale viewing of the Sotheby’s auction “Modernity :  From Avant-Garde to Abstraction” proved a fascinating two hours for ABIE members this week.

Generously hosted by ABIE member Jeremy Durack, Sotheby’s Senior Director and General Secretary, it is the second time Sotheby’s has opened its doors for a privileged tour for ABIE.

The house, founded in London in 1744,  is the oldest and largest auction house in the world.

 It is also the oldest publicly traded company on the NYSE, with its ticker symbol “BID”, and a global network of 90 offices.  The head office is now based in New York.

Sketching the company’s business model, Jeremy Durack said their buyer’s premium varied from 12 to 20%, and their loan department, founded 25 years, ago has lent more than $US4 billion.

While concentrating on auctions, Sotheby’s also brokers private sales.

It was magic to walk through the two floors of artworks, champagne in hand, marvelling at the masterpieces :  Soulages,  Nicolas de Stael, Duchamp’s iconic Travelling Box, the first flexible sculpture in the history of art, several Miros, Rodin’s bronze sculptures and a now-glowing Monet that arrived from a private home dark with chimney and cigarette smoke.

Cyrille Cohen, Sotheby’s Vice President, France, is a world specialist of impressionist and modern art, and he shared his knowledge generously, pointing out the collection’s major pieces, and putting their importance into historic context.