Find out how auctions of artworks are organised.

    Discover the backstage of how an auction is created and organised, to know when it is the time to make your offer…

    Auction Houses, Sotheby’s  and Christie’s  among the largest, are “powerful” structures that operate for the public sale at an international level of artworks that have an already consolidated artistic and economic value to be maintained over time or to be increased.

    An auction house sells artworks that are rare and nowhere to be found from the art gallery circuit, discovered by specialised experts working in the various internal departments, with the aim of creating the moment of sale through a series of fundamental and useful steps that guarantee the presence of high-level lots.

    Here are the steps that auction houses take to create an auction of artworks:

    • Search for the works
    • Relationships of trust with their customers
    • Sales proposals: starting estimate, marketing, commissions
    • Auction planning
    • Preparation of the Auction Catalogue

    The research of the works by the auction house is fundamental and to do this it is necessary to have continuous relationships of trust with customers and collectors and maintain them over time.

    Behind every work there is a personal story to discover that the experts of the auction house must know and respect to appreciate the moment in which the work will be entrusted to them.

    When the auction house experts consider that there are the best conditions to bring a work to the market, sales proposals are made to the owner, explaining why it is considered important to put the work on sale in that specific moment.

    The proposal establishes the starting estimate of the art object with the aim of reaching the highest final price during the auction, also counting the additional marketing costs that will accompany the work until the date of the auction, plus the commissions for the auction house.

    The auction scheduling takes place well in advance and at certain times of the year, which have become standing appointments for the art world.

    The auction houses, following their internal departments divisions, insert the works selected for the auction sale in the lots dedicated to specific themes or artistic periods: the auctions “Impressionist and Modern Art Sale” and “Post War & Contemporary Art Sale” are unmissable, in May and November in New York and in February, June and October in London or also the “Italian Sale” that takes place in London in October by Christie’s and Sotheby’s, focusing on a selection of big names of the international Italian art market.

    The final phase of creating an auction of artworks includes the preparation of the Auction Catalogue, a very important tool, available online or for sale, which contains all the images and information in strategic sequence by economic value and aesthetic impact.

    Each work is photographed faithfully respecting the original colours, while the information, if detailed, including traceable provenance and optimal state of conservation, represent the basic conditions that make the works attractive to the interested customers.

    The sequence of the works in the auction catalogue is fundamental: it corresponds to the sequence of lots for sale with which the auctioneer creates a sparkling atmosphere and maintains a high level of attention in the buyers.

    The cover of the auction catalogue is very important as well: it shows the most important work among all the lots, strategically chosen by the experts and the one that will have the greatest price increase during the sale.

    Because not everyone browse the catalogue, but many will only see the cover with a Fontana, Koons or Manzoni.

    The day of the auction, the adrenaline will be running high, for this reason knowing the different stages will allow you to be focused when you decide to participate.

    Here is a list of some important Auction Houses:

    If you are interested in selling your artworks at an auction, discover how to do it in 3 simple steps

    Are you ready to make your offer?


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