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.
It was not clear whether other major auction houses planned to undertake similar measures. Representatives for Sotheby’s and Phillips did not immediately respond to requests for comment on potential closures and postponements of sales.
In February, with the coronavirus spreading across Hong Kong, Christie’s postponed its marquee sales planned for the city and moved them to New York, rescheduling them for the week of April 16. Those auctions were not listed among the sales Christie’s had delayed on Friday.