Last year, in a column for this siteauctioneer Simon de Pury has wondered aloud why galleries leave auctions to Sotheby’s and Christie’s around the world, when those same houses have, for years, scooped up increasing shares of the private sales pie.
“I’ve always been surprised that the bigger galleries allow this to happen without fighting the auction houses on their own turf,” he writes. “Why, if the major auction houses became the best dealers, couldn’t the major galleries become the best auctioneers? »
Now, in a new initiative, de Pury will seek to address this power imbalance.
Through his company, called de PURY, the art world veteran is launching a series of curated online auctions of consignment artworks direct from artists and galleries, with 100% off prices adjudication due to them. Winning bidders will pay an 18% premium, part of which will go to a charity tied, thematically, to the sale.
The inaugural series is an auction of artworks created over the past two and a half years by contemporary female artists such as Genieve Figgis, Chloe Wise, Minjung Kim and Allison Zuckerman. The event, titled “WOMEN: Art in Times of Chaos,” will take place virtually on August 25, with an avatar of de Pury presiding over the sale. Three percent of the proceeds will be donated to UN Women, an international non-profit organization dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“The high demand for young female artists at auction is precisely the motivation behind this new initiative,” de Pury said in a statement, noting that the “vast majority” of her favorite contemporary artists are women.
“These newly set record prices have benefited collectors who had been lucky enough to buy these works on the primary market and are now cashing in,” the auctioneer continued. “Our approach with this new series is to cut short this speculation and ensure that the artists, along with the dealers who defend their work, are the primary financial beneficiaries.”
This isn’t the only feature designed to distinguish PURY’s curated auctions from traditional auction pricing. To guard against rollover, buyers will need to commit to holding onto their purchases for at least three years.
The names of all bidders for a given work will also be shared with the senders of the work, i.e. the artist and his gallery. The idea, according to PURY’s announcement, is to encourage “building future relationships” between creators and collectors.
The pieces included in “WOMEN” will be presented in a digital exhibition starting August 5.
As for the avatar of Pury who will lead this event? Well, the image is still under development, a company spokesperson said, noting that it speak in sync with the auctioneer’s audio stream and mimic their own body movements. (Maybe the graphs of De Pury’s first haunting music video will provide some inspiration.)
Other sales are also underway and will be announced at a later date, the representative said.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.