Christie’s Becomes First Major Auction House to Close Most Locations in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

Christie’s Becomes First Major Auction House to Close Most Locations in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

With no immediate end in site for the coronavirus pandemic, museums, fairs, biennials, and galleries around the world have taken action, postponing major events and closing to the public. Now, one of the world’s biggest auction houses has followed suit. On Friday night, Christie’s, which has salesrooms in 10 cities around the world, said it would temporarily close many of its locations and postpone 14 sales planned for New York and Paris between now and the end of April.

Guillaume Cerutti, chief executive officer of Christie’s, said in a statement, “In the days ahead, we will be communicating a number of necessary changes to our usual course of business, including further changes to our sale calendar. These decisions are undertaken with a great degree of care and in close consultation with our clients.”

Christie’s has closed its offices in Brussels, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Dallas, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Houston, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Milan, Monaco, Moscow, Munich, New York, Rome, San Francisco, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Vienna, and Zurich. It will continue running with a reduced staff in Amsterdam, Geneva, and Paris, and its London auction house will operate as normal for now.

[See a complete guide to the coronavirus’s impact on museums, fairs, and more around the world.]

On Saturday, after this article was first published, Phillips said it would postpone all sales that it had scheduled for between now and mid-May, and that its American and European offices were now closed. In a statement, chief executive officer Edward Dolman and global chairwoman Cheyenne Westphal said, “The health and safety of everyone remains our top priority and our thoughts are with those of you who have already been personally affected by the virus.”

A representative for Sotheby’s did not immediately respond to request for comment on whether its offices were closed and whether sales would be postponed. In February, with the coronavirus spreading across Hong Kong, Sotheby’s postponed its marquee sales planned for the city and moved them to New York, rescheduling them for the week of April 16. Those sales are slated to go on.

Update 3/14/20, 1:35 p.m.: A previous version of this article misstated the auction house that moved its Hong Kong auctions to New York. It was Sotheby’s, not Christie’s. This article has been corrected.

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