The sale of artworks at auction usually reaches a broad international impact, especially when the media echo the last estimate of a renowned artist or a desired piece. However, keep in mind that the vast majority of transactions in auction houses do not reach those prices or get noticed by the media.
Auction houses are quintessential business centres of the second art market
Auction houses are quintessential business centres of the second art market, i.e. the place where pieces that already belong to an individual are sold. It is the opposite operation of art galleries, where also an outreach and promotion of young artists is done by betting on their work. In the galleries, the relationship with the artist is fundamental, and the buyer acquires works that generally did not previously belong to anyone.
An auction house is the place to go when the owner is interested in selling a piece and getting an objective market appraisal, and it is also the best way to gain access to works that have been in private hands for a time, particularly in the case of deceased authors. Like any business, auctions have particular rules that are useful to know.
Points of interest include:
► Guarantees of auction houses in sales transactions
► Agreements of sale and benefit for the auction house
► Discrepancies in pricing offered by the auction house
► Possibility to claim against the auction house in case of falsity of the work or pricing error
► Bidding system and payment methods
► Contract and delivery of the work between buyer and seller
► Return of pieces if there is no bid or final sale in the auction