Hauser & Wirth founder Iwan Wirth announced on Thursday that the Swiss mega-gallery has hired veteran Christie’s executive Liberté Nuti to oversee all sales of Impressionist and modern art. Nuti, who will take the position of Senior Director Impressionist & Modern, has been on garden leave from the auction house since January and most recently served as Christie’s International Director of Impressionist & Modern, heading up their private sales efforts in the category. Nuti will continue to focus on secondary market private sales in her new role and advise the gallery’s 26 artist estates.
“We look forward to this next chapter in Hauser & Wirth’s evolution as the gallery’s secondary market activity comes into sharper focus,” Wirth said in a statement.
Why it matters
Nuti is the latest in a string of auction house executives to jump ship for the dealer sector of the art market, amid macro-level shifts that have raised the importance of private sales and put greater focus on historical material. A rush to represent artist estates among dealers—and to a lesser extent auction houses—has ensued, with Hauser & Wirth more aggressive than most about prioritizing this segment of their program.
Nuti’s hire signals that we can only expect more to come here, and that increasingly beefed up private sales divisions at auction houses—most notably Sotheby’s Fine Art division, which was borne out of the $85 million acquisition of Art Agency, Partners in 2016—won’t see dealer competition let up any time soon.