Even before the pandemic, we were seeing year-on-year growth in online sales and international bidding by phone; in other words, collectors were making the choice to bid in a more accessible, flexible, and convenient way. With the events of this year, our plans for digital innovation were accelerated as auctions were quickly forced to pivot online. The changes required an openness from the collecting community to embrace these new technologies, and the market responded confidently to a steady stream of dynamic online-only sales, hybrid sales, and live virtual sales across all categories. Of course, there’s nothing quite like seeing a great work of art in person and we absolutely remain committed to our brick-and-mortar locations, this year going so far as to open a new outpost in Southampton. However, we are also keenly attuned to the reality of digital life and well aware that many of these advancements have proven to be extremely welcome and are here to stay.
Of the many solutions adopted by people in the art market in response to the exceptional challenges of 2020, which one do you think will have the longest-lasting impact?
With many art fairs having been put on pause, we’ve seen galleries, curators, and artists working much more closely with auction houses and I do see that as a longer-lasting trend.
What art market practices from before the pandemic do you think will never return?