Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Job Art Losses Continue-Sotheby’s Sacks Auctioneer, Furniture Experts in U.S. Offices

The Art Auction houses started 2009 leaving staffers out of the job.
ART Fag City reported on Christie's chopping heads without any warning and now it is Sotheby's turn. Please read article below written by Linsday Pollock of Bloomberg News.

I want the new government to take power and turn this Economy around. I fear for myself, my dear fellow artists, Museums, Non For Profit Art Organizations and the Art business in general. Then, I see all in the news all the home foreclosures and people losing everything because some one's greed and wonder ...Had we been too Greedy?
And the answer is yes we have. Myself included...

Sotheby’s Sacks Auctioneer, Furniture Experts in U.S. Offices

By Lindsay Pollock

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Sotheby’s has fired about 60 staffers in the U.S. since mid-December, including an auctioneer who was on the rise and an impressionist and modern-art scholar who logged 35 years at the company, according to six current and former employees.

Among those let go are Christopher Gaillard, the head of the contemporary-print department who was considered a rising star as an auctioneer, and John Tancock, the art scholar and a senior vice president.

Sotheby’s staff reductions have cut across departments, seniority levels and offices, according to these employees. Longtime experts in ceramics and French and English furniture were among those fired. About half of the nine jobs in the Los Angeles office were terminated, as well as staffers in the Chicago and Miami offices.

Sotheby’s spokeswoman Diana Phillips declined to comment.

Rival Christie’s International began cutting jobs on Monday.

“The recent wave of terminations at the auction houses reflects the ongoing contraction of the art market,” said art lawyer Peter Stern of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP.

Sotheby’s hasn’t released its fourth-quarter earnings figures yet. Sales during that quarter are usually profitable for auction houses. At Sotheby’s major Nov. 11 contemporary-art sale, about a third of the 63 lots went unsold.

Employees in Sotheby’s North American offices totaled 605, and 1,555 worldwide, as of Dec. 31, 2007, according to the latest company filings. Sotheby’s declined to provide more recent numbers.

Sotheby’s said it expected $5 million in restructuring charges and projected $7 million in savings from salaries and costs for 2009, according to a filing in December.

Christie’s Firings

Christie’s has cut about 80 employees in the New York office, said one staffer who was let go and asked not to be identified. The cuts were made across departments, including contemporary art, 19th-century art, prints and administrative.

“Virtually all departments and geographies are affected by the reorganization,” Christie’s spokesman Toby Usnik said in an e-mail statement. He declined to provide details.

The auction houses are accustomed to paring back. In 2001 and 2002, in the wake of a price-fixing scandal, Sotheby’s cut around 400 positions, or 14 percent. Christie’s axed 15 percent of its staff.

To contact the reporter on the story: Lindsay Pollock in New York at;

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