Georgina Adam identifies an interesting court case that involves an auctioneer’s desire to keep a consignor’s name hidden from the buyer. The inference she draws is that the ruling would make the names of buyers and sellers public. That inference has gotten a lot of pick up in the art market twitter-/blogo-sphere.
However, the way Adam phrases her story it is impossible to tell whether the headline is really justified. See if you can discern from this whether the quote below tells us that the names need to be revealed to the public or simply put on the contract between buyer and seller.
a commercial law – which originally dates back to medieval England – which states that the vendor’s name must be on the contract. [The auctioneer], following the usual saleroom practice, had just put a number for the seller, #428. The judge found for [the buyer], agreeing that the commercial law imposed the naming of buyers and sellers. […]
In a recent judgement, it ruled that New York auctioneers will have to reveal the names of both consignors and buyers to ensure a sale contract is binding.
Until now, such information was covered by the sacrosanct “confidentiality” clauses of the auction houses, and revealing it could be a disaster for them.