Given the intense amount of attention devoted to the departures from Sotheby’s this Winter and Spring, it is probably only fair to mention that Christie’s is in the midst of a similar (though smaller so far and from less visible positions) wave of departures as some long-standing members of the Post-War and Contemporary art department have left or are expected to leave quite soon.
Although some of the departing specialists and private sales persons are leaving for other auction houses, there’s a growing migration from auction houses to some of the larger dealers.
This would seem to mark a new trend. For the last several years, dealers have been at a disadvantage in the market perhaps because of the intense use of guarantees at the auction houses. These new hires would somewhat reconfirm anecdotal stories of a reinvigorated private market even as the auction market has contracted in volume.
This isn’t the first wave of departures from Christie’s which quietly shed staff all of 2015. And the timing, right after the May sales, can be seen as a function of the auction calendar. Nonetheless, the gradual evolution of the auction business continues. Meanwhile, the pendulum swing between public and private markets for art may also be well underway.