Wright and Rago
Richard Wright, CEO; David Rago, president; Suzanne Perrault, president of the newly merged Wright and Rago Auctions.

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Rago Auctions and Wright

Auction houses Rago in Lambertville New Jersey and Wright in Chicago and New York have merged.

Art, jewellery and ceramics firm Rago was founded in 1984 and design specialist Wright in 2000. Both houses will continue to operate under their individual names while sharing technology, expertise and marketing efforts. The combined company has a team of 75.

Richard Wright will become CEO of the combined company.

He said: “I welcome the opportunity of working with a larger team... Our blended perspectives, geographic reach and experience will add to the great work we both currently do.”

Rago president Suzanne Perrault said the deal will “pertain to increased reach and exposure for our shared clientele, consignors and collectors alike”.

Hansons

Jim Spencer
Jim Spencer

Hansons has promoted antiquarian books and works on paper specialist Jim Spencer to associate director.

Spencer discovered a first edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations which sold for £65,000 at Bishton Hall in Staffordshire and catalogued Hansons’ recent sale of the Harold and Mary Wilson collection which achieved an overall sales figure of £226,000 with every lot selling.

Auction house owner Charles Hanson said: “With a knack for uncovering the most interesting examples along with remarkable historical pieces, Jim has made a definitive mark in this field, attracting worldwide attention.”

Phillips

Hartley Waltman

Hartley Waltman

Phillips has hired Hartley Waltman as general counsel Americas from Christie’s, where he worked for 20 years and was most recently senior vice president and senior counsel. He will join Phillips in New York in July.

He will oversee the legal functions in North America and assume responsibility for Phillips’ legal and compliance functions throughout the Americas and report to Martin Wilson, chief legal counsel in London.

Edward Dolman, chief executive officer at Phillips, said: “Hartley is an exceptional lawyer with a long history in the auction business. He brings with him considerable expertise, sharp judgement and a long track record of successfully negotiating high-value art transactions and resolving complex disputes.”

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler

Anne-Laure Alléhaut has joined Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler as counsel in the firm’s Art & Museum Law practice. She joins from Sotheby’s, where she served as senior vice president and associate general counsel for six years.