The law governing the sale of property at auction is complex.  It consists principally of the ‘law of contract’ within the context of a public sale.

At any auction, bids are invited and the item usually sold to the highest bidder, unless there is a reserve price below which the seller will not sell and the bids fail to reach the level of that reserve.

The fundamental principle of auctions is that the auctioneer is the ‘agent’ of the seller.  When an auctioneer agrees to sell a work of art he or she will do so on the basis of the ‘Conditions of Sale’ drawn up by the auction house.  These will be set out in the auction catalogue and any buyer or seller should make sure that they are familiar with these.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s

The new year ushered in several important judicial decisions dealing with artlaw matters, including the Bacon Estate; the Sotheby’s and Christie’s so-called ‘price-fixing’ case; payments to artists of… Continue Reading Sotheby’s and Christie’s

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Sellers, Buyers and Auctioneers Beware

London is arguably the world’s leading art auction location, and the oldest. Sotheby’s was established in 1744, Christie’s in 1796, Bonham’s in 1793 and Phillips in 1796. The legal and business framew… Continue Reading Sellers, Buyers and Auctioneers Beware

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Artists’ Selling Power

The film and entertainment industries exercise strong bargaining power over non-negotiating artists, or ‘hired hands’, whose marketability remains unproven and relatively low – the powerless majority.… Continue Reading Artists’ Selling Power

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Beautiful Inside My Head Forever

‘The fine artist came to seem a near-miraculous creator of value, transmuting relatively inexpensive materials into fabulously expensive commodities.’ Katy Siegel and Paul Mattick’s comment on the dev… Continue Reading Beautiful Inside My Head Forever

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