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Christie’s shakes up art departments

Auction house Christie’s has created a new department called 20th & 21st Century Art group by merging its existing Impressionist and Modern Art and Contemporary Art teams.

The new division will be led by chairman Alex Rotter in the Americas and Giovanna Bertazzoni as vice-chairman in Europe.

In a statement from CEO Guillaume Cerutti he said the lockdown period has been an “unprecedented time of change and innovation” and that “robust management” of its “cost base is critical”, which has resulted in “reducing headcount to ensure that we are as efficient as possible”.

Clocks stolen from government office

A group of antique clocks has been reported stolen from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The department has not released details of the timepieces or issued photos but it is believed nine clocks were stolen from storage at the FCO’s King Charles Street building off Whitehall, in Westminster, during July 2019.

According to newspaper reports, their value is £53,000. An FCO spokesperson said: “We take security extremely seriously and we continually review our processes.”

The Met police said the search has been closed “pending further investigative opportunities”.

Rogal promoted at New York saleroom

Swann Galleries in New York has promoted Deborah Rogal as the new director of its Photographs & Photobooks department following the departure of longtime Swann vice president and Photo director Daile Kaplan.


Deborah Rogal of Swann.

Kaplan had been with the firm for 30 years. Rogal joined Swann in 2006 and became associate director in 2014.

Pallant purchases pioneering works

Pallant House Gallery in Chichester has acquired a series of five paintings depicting the first gay kiss and drag ball in British theatre.

The series, which Leonard Rosoman started in the mid- 1960s, come to the institution from the estate of the artist’s widow, Roxanne Wruble Rosoman (1937-2018), through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. The works settled £96,600 of tax.

The works are part of a larger series of 40 paintings and gouaches which Rosoman was inspired to start after seeing John Osborne’s 1965 play A Patriot for Me. The two main paintings in the collection – among those acquired – are depictions of the play’s famous drag ball scene.

A Patriot for Me was initially banned but a legal loophole was exploited which turned the theatre into a private club for the play’s duration.

Online auctions line-up now at 70

Timed online auctions are growing and Berkshire firm Dreweatts is the latest auction house to list its live online and timed sales on its own website and thesaleroom.com.

Dreweatts is the 70th auction house to use a technology supplied by Antiques Trade Gazette’s parent company Auction Technology Group (ATG) to host live and timed sales.

The GAP (Global Auction Platform) White Label product, enables auction houses to hold sales on their own site and via thesaleroom.com simultaneously.

Jonathan Pratt, managing director of Dreweatts said: “Timed auctions are an important growth area and we are excited about the prospect of increasing the number of our timed sales knowing that we wil benefit from the high level of bidders brought to us by thesaleroom.com.”

ATG’s GAP White Label was launched in December 2018 to give auctioneers bidding functionality on their website in parallel to listing on ATG’s marketplaces.

Dutch museum reunites lovers

Portraits of a husband and wife have been reunited after nearly 125 years thanks to a new acquisition by the Mauritshuis in The Hague. The previously missing portrait of Jakob Omphalius (1500-67) is part of a diptych painted by Cologne portraitist Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder (1493-1555), depicting the lawyer and his fiancée Elisabeth shortly before their marriage in 1539.


The diptych portrait of Jakob Omphalius and his fiancée now reunited at the Mauritshuis.

The pair was split up when the work was sold at an auction in London in 1896, with the wife’s side going eventually to the Rijksmuseum in 1912 and to the Mauritshuis on long-term loan in 1951. However, the whereabouts of the husband’s portrait remained unknown. It resurfaced, catalogued as a ‘portrait of an unknown man’, at a small Paris auction in May 2019. There it was snapped up by Galerie de Jonckheere, which took it to exhibit at TEFAF.

After hearing of the portrait’s location through a chain of museum curators, the Mauritshuis raised £250,000 to acquire the work.

Most read

The most viewed stories for week June 25-July 1 on antiquestradegazette.com

1 Antique clocks reported stolen from Foreign & Commonwealth Office

2 Ex-Nicholson’s pair launch auction house in Surrey with £10 vendor fee

3 Top-selling Titanic poster stars in our pick of six auction highlights that caught bidders’ eyes

4 Online marketplace seeks The Bruno Effect

5 The Fine Art Society relaunches in Soho two years after closing New Bond Street premises

In Numbers


The average percentage sell-through achieved during lockdown across all departments – coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery – at London auction house Dix Noonan Webb. The firm announced it had sold more than 6000 lots across 10 live/online only auctions, achieving a hammer price of £3.3m, representing an increase on the first quarter of the year.