Artinfo explains the auction houses’ success in getting a new law passed in France that will allow private treaty sales thus buttressing Paris’s position in the global art market:
A new law liberalizing auction house sales has just been adopted by the French parliament. Proposed by the Senate in 2009, the law will allow auction houses to conduct sales by mutual agreement, i.e., private sales between the seller and buyer. […] The law brings France into line with other European countries and England, which already allow auction houses to handle private sales. France’s share of the auction market has been declining, and the French government said that the new law will “stimulate the French market,” according to Europe1. […] Auction houses could also conduct private sales through holding companies, which was the practice at Artcurial. Private sales represent five percent of Artcurial’s sales, 10 percent at Christie’s France, and 20 percent at Sotheby’s France. “It’s developing, because we have a huge client base, but it’s mostly in cases of rare objects,” Christie’s president Ricqlès told Les Echos.