Shortly after Guillaume Cerutti took the helm as CEO of Christie’s in late 2016, he instituted a few changes. They included closing Christie’s South Kensington sales room in London, which mostly handled antiques and decorative art, and canceling the post-war and contemporary art auction that Christie’s would have held in the city that coming June. At the time, the house cited the busy art world calendar, with Documenta in Kassel, Germany, and the Venice Biennale, and the lead-up to Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland all jostling for collector’s attention during the summer. Christie’s pledged to focus on London contemporary sales in October during Frieze London and in March 2018. Sotheby’s and Phillips decided to still hold postwar evening sales last June, despite the lack of one at Christie’s.
Now, the house has announced in The Art Newspaper that it will be bringing back contemporary sales to London in June, albeit on a smaller scale, with two sales during the day on Thursday, June 28. First is an auction called Post-War to Present, which will sell works in a price range from £2,000 to £700,000 and include artists such as Katharina Grosse, Alicja Kwade and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The second is titled Handpicked, and will consist of 100 works from the collection of British advertising macher Charles Saatchi, who was an influential early backer of the YBAs. “Charles [Saatchi] retains a very strong eye and continues to lead the market,” Francis Outred, Christie’s European head of post-war and contemporary art, told The Art Newspaper. “If you look at the big names that are coming through now, such as Mark Bradford, Charles was showing him 15 years ago.”