Trend in sight

Auction Houses: New Deals, New Marketing

Art & Business | The exploding sales market at auction houses has resulted in the development of international marketing and communications strategies such as new concept creation and the shake-up of databases and customer relationship management (CRM) in the houses. The auction house of today is seeking to transmute into a brand.

Vente aux enchères ’’L’envers du décor’’ © FauveParis
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Vente aux enchères ’’L’envers du décor’’
© FauveParis

The current challenge of auction houses is to embody a brand and a cultural-event centre in an effort to become a media-brand and content producer.
Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Artcurial structure the French market, particularly in the high-range sector, while combining communications initiatives. Artcurial has opted for a multidisciplinary approach as per Christie’s, leaning on its Parisian roots and making its private mansion house a living space (book shop, co-branded exhibition, Italian restaurant, etc.). Christie’s and Sotheby’s have begun a number of initiatives, while seeking to expand their influence : private sales, making their gallery available for collector exhibitions and using « strategy people » from Alexis Mabille to Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld as curators, to ensure the continuous expansion of their databases.
Simultaneously, new concepts are arising and breaking the codes of informed and established collectors’ target markets. Outside of the golden triangle, Piasa has set up on the Left Bank and FauveParis has chosen the capital’s bobo 11th arrondissement, where thirty-somethings, concept stores and fashion abound. Like « a cat among the pigeons » , two young, new-generation wild things, Lucie Eleonore Riveron (ex Piasa) and Cédric Melado (ex Tajan), have launched their auction house in the way of a brand, with a name evocative of this breaking with norms : Fauve (big cat). Their particularity is targeting the masses (including young people), changing auction and exhibition times, appealing to all price ranges, crossing exhibition gallery with the friendliness of a wine bar and using storytelling to create a duality between magazine and catalogue with the « matalogue » ; in short, appealing to proximity, opening times, accessibility and glamour to pull in a new generation of clients. This bold approach falls fully in line with the sourcing and profiling of a new median market until now dominated by Drouot, which has lost much of its accessibility. In Marseille, Damien Leclère] is pursuing his dynamic strategy. Following the creation of a blog and a « consumer » Artefact, the team has launched Paradise, a video zone - devised by two rising young curators, Charlotte Cosson and Emmanuelle Luciani - open to the generation Y of artists who question the post-Internet era. Both local and global, the market may be sizzling, but it remains oligarchic in its fundamental structures.

Virginie Bertrand
Publié le 27/05/2014
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Vente aux enchères ’’L’envers du décor’’
© FauveParis

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