The New York Times’s story about the decline of Drouot, the collective home of a group of smaller French auction houses, puts the sales decline in the context of Christie’s and Sotheby’s global rise.
Up against the international monoliths of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, Drouot has watched revenues sag 22 percent over the past four years to 375 million euros, about $409 million, a humbling position for an institution in what once was the main international hub for art, antiques and antiquities before the 1960s. Last year alone, Christie’s reported record sales of $7.7 billion, and Sotheby’s announced record sales of $6 billion.
Of course, Drouot isn’t competing against the big two auction houses in London, New York or Hong Kong. But it is battling them in Paris, an art market that has long been on the verge of breaking out.
Locally, Sotheby’s has been the big gainer with Art Curial close behind. Together the two firms have out performed Drouot. Sotheby’s made €218m in 2014 and Art Curial totaled €192m. For Sotheby’s, that was a 13% rise in Paris.
French Auction House Trades Haughty for Hip (NYTimes.com)