The competition for private sales among the leading auction rooms will step up during the coming weeks as both Sotheby’s and Christie’s hold exhibitions at their new private galleries in London.
Barely a few minutes walk from each other, Sotheby's are extending their S|2 brand by constructing a new space in St George Street, just opposite the back entrance of their main Bond Street premises. Meanwhile Christie's will stage their first selling exhibition under their 'Christie's Mayfair' banner at the former Haunch of Venison Gallery, also in Bond Street.
Having acquired Haunch in 2007, Christie's closed the well-known dealership in a surprise move back in March. The gallery at 103 New Bond Street was then used as a viewing space for 45 works from the Homage to Chillida show before they were offered at the Contemporary art auctions at their King Street saleroom in June.
However, the exhibition opening on October 9 indicates the future direction of the Bond Street premises: a dedicated exhibition space for the Christie's private sales arm. Entitled When Britain Went Pop!, Christie's have teamed up with Waddington Galleries (now Waddington Custot) and will show works by the likes of Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield.
Billed as 'the first comprehensive exhibition of British Pop Art to be held in London', it includes works owned by private collectors, some of which (but not all) will be for sale.
Opening the day after at Sotheby's S|2 is Joseph Beuys Revealed, an exhibition of works by the German 'Fluxus' artist from a single-owner collection. It includes an early bronze sculpture, Bett, from an edition of six, one of which is in the Tate Modern collection.
As with S|2 in New York, Sotheby's aim to hold regular selling exhibitions at this new gallery which is currently under construction. The company's chairman of contemporary art Europe, Cheyenne Westphal, said that they were planning to host five shows per year curated by both Sotheby's specialists and guest curators.
Furthermore, Sotheby's will be hosting another exhibition this autumn at their New Bond Street rooms featuring British art from the 1960s. Also a collaboration with a well-known gallerist, in this case John Kasmin (the man who gave David Hockney his first break 50 years ago), The New Situation - Art in London in the Sixties will have a number of works loaned from private collections with a selection offered for sale.