Christie's announced that it has named Loic Gouzer as the co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art in the Americas. Along with Alexander Rotter, the former worldwide head of Sotheby’s contemporary department, who joined the house in March, the two fill the void left by longtime chair Brett Gorvy, who announced a partnership with the dealer Dominique Lévy in November.
The Swiss-born Gouzer, who has been with Christie’s since 2011, is known for befriending deep-pocketed collectors like Leonardo DiCaprio and a willingness to use guarantees as a bargaining instrument to win high-value lots. He has over the past few years made a name for himself with thematic auctions that mix Modern and contemporary works of art, most recently a sale titled Bound to Fail in May 2016. They were also supplementary to Christie’s main auctions, adding another valuable evening sale to the calendar during a period when the demand for art seemed to be insatiable.
The release states that Gouzer “has... been instrumental in driving markets for artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Martin Kippenberger, Yves Klein and Raymond Pettibon,” and that his Looking Forward to the Past sale in May 2015 totaled $705.8m. That sale set records for the most expensive painting—Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Verson ‘O’) (1955), which sold for $179.3m—and the most expensive sculpture, Alberto Giacometti’s L’homme au doigt (1947), sold for $141.3m.
Gouzer previously worked under Rotter at Sotheby’s, and per the house’s news release, the two will be responsible for “senior business-getting, working closely with key members of the team to expand Christie’s services to collectors and further its scope of market coverage”.
“Two years ago I did this sale called Looking Forward to the Past,” Gouzer wrote in an email. “Now I can say that I look forward to the future of working with Alex Rotter, who is extremely talented, but also one of my best friends.”