Christie’s EMERI president Dirk Boll
President of Christie’s EMERI Dirk Boll who was speaking at the Art Business Conference in London.

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“People are now more interested in the decorative arts than they were five to ten years ago,” said Boll who was addressing the Art Business Conference in Westminster today.

“People want to get away from beige and greige – they want to move away from the hotel room style.”

Boll, president of Christie’s EMERI (Europe, Middle East, Russia, India), was speaking on 'Why brown is the new black’. He reported a 26% year-on-year increase in the first half of 2018 at Christie’s for new buyers in the decorative arts category.

Future after CSK closure

He said that despite closing Christie’s South Kensington, the former home of many of the firm’s decorative arts auctions in London, moving sales to King Street and online had boosted sell through rates at the auction house. He added that Christie’s is committed to keeping decorative arts as it is one of the “central parts” of its business.

The auction house’s decorative arts sales in London comprise four interior sales a year, four collector-level sales and an ‘exceptional’ sale.

Boll said its focus on curated sales with interior designers have performed well. “These sales are all about showing eclectic ways of collecting about mixing interesting topics and objects that can stand alone,” he said.

Decorative Arts

Dirk Boll’s address to the Art Business Conference was titled ‘Why brown is the new black’.

He commented on the traditional demand for sales of collections. “People like buying from collections, they like the context and someone else’s collectors’ eye”, he said.

Despite a resurgence for decorative arts, Boll did not believe there will be a return to single-object or single-period sales such as corkscrews.

He added: “Interest comes and goes. I don’t think we will come back to a focus on one particular period. But who knows what will happen in 20 years time.”