Even so, art lawyer Thomas Danziger said the latest move feels unprecedented. “This is huge,” he said, calling the move a “tightrope act” that will require the auction house to balance its need to appease shareholders seeking profits with artists seeking long-term guidance on how to get—and stay—in the art-history textbooks.
“If there’s a tight quarter, will Sotheby’s be tempted to sell off works in a way that could impact their artists’ careers?” Mr. Danziger said.This is a strange extrapolation from what is known about MacLear's plans. It seems to capture a fair bit of the hysteria surrounding the announcement simply because it posits Sotheby's having direct control over an artist's estate. Such a leap, especially from an art lawyer, seems odd. Sotheby's has a Trust & Estates department but no one is suggesting that in tight quarter the auction house plots the demise of a good prospect. Crow's conversation with a gallerist gets much closer to the real thorns here:
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