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See also: Christie (disambiguation) and Christy (disambiguation) Christie's_sentence_0


TypeChristie's_header_cell_0_0_0 SubsidiaryChristie's_cell_0_0_1
IndustryChristie's_header_cell_0_1_0 Art, auctionsChristie's_cell_0_1_1
FoundedChristie's_header_cell_0_2_0 1766; 254 years ago (1766)Christie's_cell_0_2_1
FounderChristie's_header_cell_0_3_0 James ChristieChristie's_cell_0_3_1
HeadquartersChristie's_header_cell_0_4_0 London, United KingdomChristie's_cell_0_4_1
Area servedChristie's_header_cell_0_5_0 WorldwideChristie's_cell_0_5_1
Key peopleChristie's_header_cell_0_6_0 François-Henri Pinault
Guillaume Cerutti (CEO)Christie's_cell_0_6_1
ParentChristie's_header_cell_0_7_0 Groupe ArtémisChristie's_cell_0_7_1
WebsiteChristie's_header_cell_0_8_0 Christie's_cell_0_8_1

Christie's is a British auction house. Christie's_sentence_1

It was founded in 1766 by James Christie. Christie's_sentence_2

Its main premises are on King Street, St James's, in London, and in the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Christie's_sentence_3

It is owned by Groupe Artémis, the holding company of François-Henri Pinault. Christie's_sentence_4

Sales in 2015 totalled £4.8 billion (US$7.4 billion). Christie's_sentence_5

In 2017, the Salvator Mundi was sold for $450.3 million at Christie's in New York, at the time the highest price ever paid for a single painting at an auction. Christie's_sentence_6

History Christie's_section_0

Founding Christie's_section_1

The official company literature states that founder James Christie (1730–1803) conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766. Christie's_sentence_7

However, other sources note that James Christie rented auction rooms from 1762, and newspaper advertisements for Christie's sales dating from 1759 have also been traced. Christie's_sentence_8

After his death, Christie's son, James Christie the Younger (1773–1831) took over the business. Christie's_sentence_9

1979–1990s Christie's_section_2

Christie's was a public company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, from 1973 to 1999. Christie's_sentence_10

In 1974, Jo Floyd was appointed chairman of Christie's. Christie's_sentence_11

He served as chairman of Christie's International plc from 1976 to 1988, until handing over to Lord Carrington, and later was a non-executive director until 1992. Christie's_sentence_12

Christie's International Inc. held its first sale in the United States in 1977. Christie's_sentence_13

Christie's growth was slow but steady since 1989, when it had 42% of the auction market. Christie's_sentence_14

In 1990, the company reversed a long-standing policy and guaranteed a minimum price for a collection of artworks in its May auctions. Christie's_sentence_15

In 1996, sales exceeded those of Sotheby's for the first time since 1954. Christie's_sentence_16

However, profits did not grow at the same pace; from 1993 through 1997, Christie's annual pretax profits were about $60 million, whereas Sotheby's annual pretax profits were about $265 million for those years. Christie's_sentence_17

In 1993, Christie's paid $12.7 million for the London gallery Spink & Son, which specialised in Oriental art and British paintings; the gallery was run as a separate entity. Christie's_sentence_18

The company bought Leger Gallery for $3.3 million in 1996, and merged it with Spink to become Spink-Leger. Christie's_sentence_19

Spink-Leger closed in 2002. Christie's_sentence_20

To make itself competitive with Sotheby's in the property market, Christie's bought Great Estates in 1995, then the largest network of independent estate agents in North America, changing its name to Christie's Great Estates Inc. Christie's_sentence_21

1998 takeover Christie's_section_3

In December 1997, under the chairmanship of Lord Hindlip, Christie's put itself on the auction block, but after two months of negotiations with the consortium-led investment firm SBC Warburg Dillon Read it did not attract a bid high enough to accept. Christie's_sentence_22

In May 1998, François Pinault's holding company, Groupe Artémis S.A., first bought 29.1 percent of the company for $243.2 million, and subsequently purchased the rest of it in a deal that valued the entire company at $1.2 billion. Christie's_sentence_23

The company has since not been reporting profits, though it gives sale totals twice a year. Christie's_sentence_24

Its policy, in line with UK accounting standards, is to convert non-UK results using an average exchange rate weighted daily by sales throughout the year. Christie's_sentence_25

Price-fixing scandal in 2000 Christie's_section_4

In 2000, allegations surfaced of a price-fixing arrangement between Christie's and Sotheby's. Christie's_sentence_26

Executives from Christie's subsequently alerted the Department of Justice of their suspicions of commission-fixing collusion. Christie's_sentence_27

Christie's gained immunity from prosecution in the United States as a longtime employee of Christie's confessed and cooperated with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Christie's_sentence_28

Numerous members of Sotheby's senior management were fired soon thereafter, and A. Christie's_sentence_29 Alfred Taubman, the largest shareholder of Sotheby's at the time, took most of the blame; he and Dede Brooks (the CEO) were given jail sentences, and Christie's, Sotheby's and their owners also paid a civil lawsuit settlement of $512 million. Christie's_sentence_30

2000s Christie's_section_5

In 2002, Christie's France held its first auction in Paris. Christie's_sentence_31

Like Sotheby's, Christie's became increasingly involved in high-profile private transactions. Christie's_sentence_32

In 2006, Christie's offered a reported $21 million guarantee to the Donald Judd Foundation and displayed the artist's works for five weeks in an exhibition that later won an AICA award for "Best Installation in an Alternative Space". Christie's_sentence_33

In 2007 it brokered a $68 million deal that transferred Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic (1875) from the Jefferson Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to joint ownership by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Christie's_sentence_34

In the same year, the Haunch of Venison gallery became a subsidiary of the company. Christie's_sentence_35

On 28 December 2008, The Sunday Times reported that Pinault's debts left him "considering" the sale of Christie's and that a number of "private equity groups" were thought to be interested in its acquisition. Christie's_sentence_36

In January 2009, the company employed 2,100 people worldwide, though an unspecified number of staff and consultants were soon to be cut due to a worldwide downturn in the art market; later news reports said that 300 jobs would be cut. Christie's_sentence_37

With sales for premier Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary artworks tallying only US$248.8 million in comparison to US$739 million just a year before, a second round of job cuts began after May 2009. Christie's_sentence_38

Guy Bennett resigned just before to the beginning of the summer 2009 sales season. Christie's_sentence_39

Although the economic downturn has encouraged some collectors to sell art, others are unwilling to sell in a market which may yield only bargain prices. Christie's_sentence_40

2010 onwards Christie's_section_6

On 1 January 2017, Guillaume Cerutti was appointed chief executive officer. Christie's_sentence_41

Patricia Barbizet was appointed chief executive officer of Christie's in 2014, the first female CEO of the company. Christie's_sentence_42

She replaced Steven Murphy, who had been hired in 2010 to develop their online presence and launch in new markets, such as China. Christie's_sentence_43

In 2012, Impressionist works, which dominated the market during the 1980s boom, were replaced by contemporary art as Christie's top category. Christie's_sentence_44

Asian art was the third most-lucrative area. Christie's_sentence_45

With income from classic auctioneering falling, treaty sales made £413.4 million ($665 million) in the first half of 2012, an increase of 53% on the same period last year; they now represent more than 18% of turnover. Christie's_sentence_46

The company has promoted curated events, centred on a theme rather than an art classification or time period. Christie's_sentence_47

As part of a companywide review in 2017, Christie's announced the layoffs of 250 employees, or 12 percent of the total work force, based mainly in Britain and Europe. Christie's_sentence_48

Commissions Christie's_section_7

From 2008 until 2013, Christie's charged 25 percent for the first $50,000; 20 percent on the amount between $50,001 and $1 million, and 12 percent on the rest. Christie's_sentence_49

From 2013, it charged 25 percent for the first $75,000; 20 percent on the next $75,001 to $1.5 million and 12 percent on the rest. Christie's_sentence_50

Locations Christie's_section_8

Christie's main London saleroom is on King Street in St. Christie's_sentence_51 James's, where it has been based since 1823. Christie's_sentence_52

It had a second London saleroom in South Kensington which opened in 1975 and primarily handled the middle market. Christie's_sentence_53

Christie's permanently closed the South Kensington saleroom in July 2017 as part of their restructuring plans announced March 2017. Christie's_sentence_54

The closure was due in part to a considerable decrease in sales between 2015 and 2016 in addition to the company expanding its online sales presence. Christie's_sentence_55

In 1977, the company opened its first international branch on Park Avenue in New York City in the Delmonico’s Hotel grand ballroom on the second floor; in 1997 it took a 30-year lease on a 28,000 m (300,000 sq ft) space in Rockefeller Center for $40 million. Christie's_sentence_56

Until 2001, Christie's East, a division that sold lower-priced art and objects, was located at 219 East 67th Street. Christie's_sentence_57

In 1996, Christie's bought a townhouse on East 59th Street in Manhattan as a separate gallery where experts could show clients art in complete privacy to conduct private treaty sales. Christie's_sentence_58

Christie's opened a Beverly Hills salesroom in 1997. Christie's_sentence_59

In January 2009, Christie's had 85 offices in 43 countries, including New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, Geneva, Houston, Amsterdam, Moscow, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Rome, South Korea, Milan, Madrid, Japan, China, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tel Aviv, Dubai, and Mexico City. Christie's_sentence_60

In early 2017, Christie's announced plans to close its secondary South Kensington salesroom at the end of the year and scale back its operation in Amsterdam. Christie's_sentence_61

In April 2017, Christie's is to open a 4,500 square feet two-story flagship space in Beverly Hills, California. Christie's_sentence_62

Notable auctions Christie's_section_9

Criticism Christie's_section_10

Insufficient or invalid provenance for auctioned artifacts Christie's_section_11

Christie's has been criticized for "an embarrassing history of a lack of transparency around provenance". Christie's_sentence_63

In May 2020, Hobby Lobby sued the auction house for its sale of a Gilgamesh tablet, allegedly while knowing it had a fake provenance. Christie's_sentence_64

In June 2020, they were forced to withdraw four Greek and Roman antiquities from sale after it was discovered that they came from "sites linked to convicted antiquities traffickers". Christie's_sentence_65

The same month, they were criticized for putting up a Benin plaque and two Igbo alusi figures for auction. Christie's_sentence_66

The plaque was tied to similar plaques taken from Nigeria during the Benin Expedition of 1897 and remained unsold after an auction was held. Christie's_sentence_67

The alusi figures are alleged to have been taken from Nigeria during the Nigerian Civil War and were sold for €212,500 (after fees), below their low estimate of €250,000. Christie's_sentence_68

Christie's claims to require "verifiable documented provenance that the object was taken out of its source nation prior to the earlier date of 2000, or the date which is legally applicable between the country in which the sale takes place and the source nation". Christie's_sentence_69

Christie's Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS) Christie's_section_12

Christie's first ventured into storage services for outside clients in 1984, when it opened a 100,000 square feet brick warehouse in London that was granted "Exempted Status" by HM Revenue and Customs, meaning that property may be imported into the United Kingdom and stored without incurring import duties and VAT. Christie's_sentence_70

Christie's Fine Art Storage Services, or CFASS, is a wholly owned subsidiary that runs Christie's storage operation. Christie's_sentence_71

In September 2008, Christie's signed a 50-year lease on an early 1900s warehouse of the historic New York Dock Company in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and subsequently spent $30 million converting it into a six-storey, 250,000 square feet art-storage facility. Christie's_sentence_72

The facility opened in 2010 and features high-tech security and climate controls that maintain a virtually constant 70° and 50% relative humidity. Christie's_sentence_73

Located near the Upper Bay tidal waterway near the Atlantic Ocean, the Brooklyn facility was hit by at least one storm surge during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Christie's_sentence_74

CFASS subsequently faced client defections and complaints arising from damage to works of art. Christie's_sentence_75

In 2013, AXA Art Insurance filed a lawsuit in New York court alleging that CFASS' "gross negligence" during the hurricane damaged art collected by late cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and his wife Jacqueline Rebecca Louise de Rothschild. Christie's_sentence_76

Later that year, StarNet Insurance Co., the insurer for the LeRoy Neiman Foundation and the artist's estate, also filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court claiming that the storage company's negligence caused more than $10 million in damages to Neiman's art. Christie's_sentence_77

Ventures Christie's_section_13

Christie's Education offers graduate programmes in London and New York, and non-degree programmes in London, Paris, New York and Melbourne. Christie's_sentence_78

With Bonhams, Christie's is a shareholder in the London-based Art Loss Register, a privately owned database used by law enforcement services worldwide to trace and recover stolen art. Christie's_sentence_79

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