Thursday, January 08, 2009

Secrets of the auction room

The advantage to auctions is that they have a certain democratic, or rather meritocratic, element: for new collectors, buying at auction is easier than braving the haughty froideur of some top art galleries. At auction, if you have the money you can simply bid for a work, thereby avoiding the machinations of dealers who have waiting lists for some artists and select those to whom they will sell. The auction room is also often seen as the only place where “hard” figures can be obtained, with recorded transactions visible and available to all. But even this apparently transparent process is not all that it appears. Much of what is going on is secret, one way or another.
Read the fascinating article by Georgina Adam here.