Arts & Giving | Diary of a Somebody

Francis Outred

The auctioneer on the new, multinational nature of collecting art

Francis Outred

February 16 2011
Francis Outred

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We had a long day of viewing. The exhibition was open until 7pm so there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between my office and the salerooms as clients come to see works in the sale. There has been a really encouraging response to the auction with lots of interest from all quarters. We built the sale around a core of American and European post-war artists: Warhol, Basquiat, Richter, Raysse and Fontana. Then we have more contemporary works by Koons, Gursky, Hirst and Saville. We also have a selection of works by artists from Brazil, Iraq and China – a global offering for what is now a completely global market.

I have lunch with an American collector who I’ve known for about 10 years. I love his taste and he has always had an incredible knack for staying a step ahead of the game – I sold him a Gursky years ago for a fraction of what it’s worth now. When the day’s viewing ends, I hold an “interest” meeting with the international team; colleagues from nearly every major collecting city in the world have come to London for the sale.

It really is an international team – we speak English for the meetings, but I counted 16 different languages in the room. We run through the catalogue determining which client is interested in what work. By the time I get home I’m exhausted. I catch the news but head to bed early – tomorrow’s the day of the evening auction.

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