Arts & Giving | Diary of a Somebody

Cheyenne Westphal – Day 3

The auctioneer bids farewell to the Big Apple – but not before one final art sale and a spot of Christmas shopping

Cheyenne Westphal – Day 3

November 15 2012
Cheyenne Westphal

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

It’s a perfect on-the-cusp-of-winter day in New York – brisk, bright and sunny. We’re all on cloud nine following last night’s milestone achievement, so even though it’s an early start with the day sale kicking off at 9.30am, our energy levels and collective spirits are very high.

While the contemporary art evening auction presents the rarest and most sought-after available works for sale by blue-chip artists, the day auction provides buyers with the very best collecting opportunities at a slightly more affordable tier. Between 10.30am and 11.30am, I execute bids for various clients – including on some beautiful little pieces by Alexander Calder. Promisingly, the intense energy and dynamism that we witnessed throughout last night’s auction has continued into today.

My final business appointment of the trip, before returning to London this evening, is with Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s chief operating officer, which we’re able to do over lunch at Petaluma. This is to discuss a variety of topics, but mainly selling tactics within Europe, which is the geographical market I oversee within the contemporary art arena.

In the afternoon, I set aside some time for myself to go Christmas shopping, take in some of the city and see an exhibition. New York is the perfect place to seek out a present for my son Jesper, who’s just turned 10. The toy emporium Zittles (at Zitomer on Madison Avenue) stocks some of the coolest children’s gifts. They have plenty to choose from, including stuffed animals, books and board games, so after having a great time browsing, I pick one that I know he’ll love. (Jesper, if you’re reading this, you’ll have to wait until I get back home to find out what I’ve bought you.) Then I pop down to Bergdorf Goodman to buy my mum a little thank-you present – she’s kindly holding the fort and looking after my son while I’m away.

Just two weeks ago, the troubling news of Hurricane Sandy unfolded in the media with emotive visuals of the devastation that the Frankenstorm had caused. Being here this week, I’m heartened to see that the city has mostly got back to its familiar state, but I’m truly concerned about some of the galleries that were hit hard by the flooding and still haven't reopened. I really hope they’re able to get up-and-running again soon. I am always inspired by the positivity and resilience that the American people demonstrate, and never more so than during this testing time.

Before making my way to JFK to board the 8pm red-eye back to London, the last stop I make is for a final dose of culture at the Guggenheim. I’ve heard great reviews about their show Picasso Black and White, so this is a must-see for me. I’m delighted to say the show doesn’t disappoint – it is definitely worth the visit.

Homeward-bound, I hope to get some rest on the plane.