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Sotheby’s releases improved figures

Higher auction margins and private sales have boosted Sotheby’s most recent results. Figures for the first quarter of 2017 show an improvement on the same period last year.

Auction margins – effectively the saleroom’s average cut when an object sells at auction – increased from 15.4% to 18%.

Higher returns from private sales, which were up 41% for the quarter, were also an important factor. For the first quarter of 2017, Sotheby’s reported a net loss of $11.3m which was a $14m improvement over last year.

Posting a first-quarter loss is not unusual given the main auction series occurs in the second and fourth quarters of the year.

New gallery for Osborne Samuel

Modern and contemporary art specialist Osborne Samuel will open a new space in Mayfair this month with an exhibition of British Neo- Romantic painting.

The gallery’s new premises is at 23 Dering Street. It moved from nearby Bruton Street as a result of a rise in rent and the area’s increasing fashion profile. It is now located beneath contemporary gallery Annely Juda Fine Art and across from Bonhams.

Funds wanted for Gibbons’ panel


The Grinling Gibbons panel that York’s Fairfax House is aiming to buy.

Fairfax House in York is trying to raise £300,000 to purchase a panel by the celebrated woodcarver Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721) from dealer Tomasso Brothers.

It is the earliest surviving sculpture by the artist, widely regarded as the finest wood-carver working in England in the later 17th and 18th centuries. He has even been described as Britain’s ‘Michelangelo of Wood’.

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Sewell’s archive finds new home


The late Brian Sewell as a young man working at Christie’s.

The archive of art historian, collector and journalist Brian

Sewell (1931-2015) has been donated to the Paul Mellon

Centre for Studies in British

Art, a London-based sister institution of the Yale Center for British Art and part of Yale University in Connecticut.

It includes documents, photos, papers and press cuttings and the donation follows the sale of his collection at Christie’s in Sepember.

The centre is initially providing a small archival display from May 8-September 8.

Gallery raided in Birmingham

Thieves made away with £600,000 of goods including jewellery and watches during an early-morning raid on a gallery in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter on April 21.

The stolen items included vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe watches. The owners of Ana Rocha Bar & Gallery, where the heist took place, have offered a £5000 reward for any information on the burglary. The crime reference number is 20BW/81457U/17.

Erté exhibition

Set and costume designs by artist Erté for the 1980 Glyndebourne Opera production of Der Rosenkavalier are to go on display at Bonhams this month.

Erté (1892-1990) designed 90 sets and costumes for the famous production and the exhibition of this work has been put together by collector Elizaveta Meshkvicheva. The exhibition will take place at Bonhams’ New Bond Street saleroom from May 22-26.

French auction weekend

The annual initiative to promote auctions across France organised by the auctioneers’ association SYMEV takes place on May 19-21.

The event, Journées Marteau, is aimed at familiarising the public with the auction process. Auction rooms across Paris and the regions will be holding valuation days, previews and sales.


In Numbers


The number of visitors to the inaugural TEFAF New York Spring with 4000 people attending the VIP preview on May 3.