Art market

Old Masters to be folded into ‘Classic Week’ at Christie’s this month

One category no longer seen as sufficient to attract new buyers


Christie’s decision to shift its New York Old Master sales from their habitual January slot to the spring came as a surprise when it was announced last year. Now those sales have been repackaged as part of what the firm is calling Classic Week, which will be held for the first time between 12 and 15 April. The move is yet more evidence of the auction house’s pursuit of cross- collectors and its belief in the power of so-called “curated sales” to attract new buyers to the pre-Modern.

Central to the week is the new Revolution sale of 18th- to 20th-century art made in periods of political or social upheaval (13 April). This theme is joined by sales of antiquities, sculpture, classical Japanese art, a two-part Old Master offering and an Exceptional Sale of decorative arts.

Becky MacGuire, the director of the Exceptional Sale, says Christie’s clients have “heartily endorsed” the move.

In March, Christie’s also announced that the highlight of its Classic Week in London will be Rubens’s Lot and His Daughters (around 1613-14), which will be offered on 7 July (est over £20m). The painting is being sold by the heirs of Maurice de Hirsch, a 19th-century noble and banker, who bought it from Blenheim Palace. De Hirsch’s charitable foundations supported oppressed Jewish immigrants.