WHAT’S IN STORE: The infiltration of commercialism in art is taking on another dimension with Sotheby’s opening of “The Emporium” in New York.
The retail outpost blends art, design and luxury items and is being housed in the auction house’s Upper East Side galleries. All of the items are available for immediate purchase. The setup is an extension of the auction house’s Buy Now online marketplace, a round-the-clock shopping opportunity. In line with COVID-19 safety protocols, visitors need to make reservations with Sotheby’s although admission to its galleries is, as always, free.
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Sotheby’s head of global luxury division Josh Pullan said in a statement, “Over the past year we’ve seen enormous growth and transformation within the luxury landscape as evidenced by the success of online auctions and the response to our Buy Now e-commerce platform.”
All the time at home over the past year has helped to spark sales for art and high-end collectibles. Interest in NFTs, a robust stock market, Millennial collectors, younger millionaires, the home-improvement trend and a greater appreciation for sneakers have all helped to bolster business. Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s are planning for strong sales for their upcoming spring auctions.
In the past few months at Christie’s digital artist Beeple rang up $69 million for “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days”; Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting “Warrior” sold for $41.7 million, and Banksy’s “Game Changer” sold for $23.1 million and benefited the U.K.’s National Health Services charities.
The first edition of The Emporium has been curated by makeup artist and entrepreneur Gucci Westman and other stylish influencers will also follow in her footsteps in the months ahead by selecting their own assortments. At this point, six style-makers a year are expected to cycle through highlighting their favorite items. Sotheby’s is open to introducing the model in other locations, but nothing has been finalized yet, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman said.
Shoppers can check out what Westman, a champion of clean and sustainable beauty, has curated for Sotheby’s in the New York Emporium or via the Buy Now site until June 10. As items are sold, the assortment of The Emporium will be updated. The auction house expects to fully restock the space in August, and then again in time for the holidays.
Sotheby’s is thanking Westman for her involvement by making a donation to the Right Livelihood Foundation, an organization that has a humanitarian goal of ending material and spiritual poverty, and contributing to fundamental justice and world peace.
The founder of Westman Atelier has chosen a black and silver sequin mini flap Chanel bag with silver hardware at $5,500; a $2,400 pair of Art Nouveau Gooseneck desk lamps; a $650 late 20th-century Signe Persson-Melin glazed bowl; a $95,000 gold, platinum and diamond David Webb necklace; a $50,000 yellow diamond, and diamond cigar band.
The Emporium will also be used to house special collaborations, such as the seven artisan-crafted chestnut roasters from Loewe Weaves. Made by the potter Antonio Pereira, these pots of clay are available this month online and in the Emporium. Sotheby’s digital shoppers can find 5,000-plus authenticated luxury items including fine jewels, fine art, collectible sneaker, watches, designer handbags, furniture and other items.
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