Sotheby’s Art Auction Breaks Records

Sotheby’s specialists taking phone and online bids from around the world. (Courtesy Sotheby's)
The virtual event, linking buyers across the globe, played out like a high-stakes night at the casino.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S otheby’s, with Christie’s one of the two big auction houses, held its big-ticket modern and contemporary evening auction this past Monday. It’s Sotheby’s cash cow for the year, and it was a fascinating, well-done virtual event. I saw the future of the auction business, and it worked. Bidding was spirited, and the balletic, gestural Oliver Barker as auctioneer was himself a work of performance art. He can coax bids from a mummy.

Art by Francis Bacon, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, and others, priced in the millions, sold, mostly sight unseen, in an event that was part old-fashioned auction, part variety show,


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