Christie’s Mysterious New Blood

Courtesy Christie's, via ArtInfo.com Steven Pleshette Murphy: Christie's 1st American born CEO

Christie’s recent top management shuffle has inspired a good deal of speculation regarding the strategic intentions of owners, François Pinault and his investment firm, Groupe Artemis SA.  Does Artemis, which acquired the auction house in 1999 for $1.2 billion have secret plans to sell in the near future?

Sprung upon with announcements of a new CEO, Steven Pleshette Murphy, formerly president and CEO of Rodale publishing, and the promotion of former CEO, Edward Doleman to chairman, Christie’s execs can’t help but wonder what to expect next.

Kept secret until its announcement via a Sept. 20th e-mail to worldwide staff, the news apparently caused quite a shake up, not only because it was so sudden and unanticipated, but also because Murphy was chosen over seemingly more likely candidates like Marc Porter, the chairman of Christie’s America, and François Curiel, president of Christie’s Asia.

Artemis, meantime, denies all rumors of an impending sale, claiming it holds long-term plans for Christie’s which is, they say, one of their “strategic assets,” producing sales of $2.3 billion in the first half of 2010.

However, asked by ArtInfo’s Judd Tully about whether Christie’s has any more surprises in store, Murphy, Christie’s very first American born CEO, said, “There will be more to say in a few months.”

Art Market Predictions

In the face of China’s rise to third-largest art market (slipping in ahead of an aggrieved France), Clare McAndrew, head of the Dublin-based consulting firm, Arts Economics, is “ looking at resale rights in Europe. There are real

Clare McAndrew, Photo for ARTINFO by Kip Carroll
Clare McAndrew, Photo for ARTINFO by Kip Carroll

worries in Europe. New markets like China emerging is very good for the market overall but difficult for countries, like the U.K. and France, that have been hampered by regulations and taxes. They have to compete not only against the U.S., which has fewer regulations, but also against countries, like China, that don’t have resale royalties.” (Via ARTINFO)

She also says that, as art becomes viewed more and more as a long term investment, speculators have been “shaken out.”

Continue reading “Art Market Predictions”

Arts Funding Lags Behind Market Growth

ARTINFO, has produced a tidy little report about how three cities hit hard by the recession, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., are finding new ways to keep their art institutions afloat.

Los Angeles is proposing the repurposing of fees charged to government-funded construction and usually used toward new acquisitons, to support staffing for it’s 25 arts centers.

Detroit is leveraging social media to attract a younger audience; is it telling that the eggheaded DIA is also “reinstalling its collection in 2007 with simpler labels and more interactive elements?”

While Washington, D.C. seems to be seeing a slight resurgence in giving, it has also experienced an increase in cost due to inflation: it estimates that it will need to raise $3 million more than it did last year in a struggling game of catch up.

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