untangling the awkward relationship between art and money

Aussie Sotheby’s iSnack 2.0

Tim Goodman

Auctioneer Tim Goodman (picture: Anthony Geernaert via news.com.au)

Well, if anything was going to waken me from my interweb slumber, this would be it.

Down here downunder, we pride ourselves on our audacious and irreverent approach to most things. And so… now we have locally-born Monsignor Tim Goodman – formerly of Goodman’s Auctions, more recently of Bonhams and Goodman, giving Robert Brooks, chairman of British powerhouse Bonhams, the ol’ heave ho. It seems that Tim got a better offer. Bonhams who?

He may just be scraping up the slops, but Tim Goodman (pictured) has successfully wooed the floundering British auction house Sotheby’s and orchestrated a deal by which he will use the Sotheby’s name here in Australia. This in itself is rather surprising. Many in the industry suspected that  Sotheby’s might follow its arch-rival Christie’s, which closed its Australian branch in 2006, and withdraw from the local market. But Sotheby’s has been disinclined to dilute the brand thus far, and has chosen to close under-performing branches rather than pass franchises onto enthusiastic locals. Seems that Tim was very convincing.

My immediate concern? Upwards of 50% of Sotheby’s Aboriginal art sales by value went to international collectors. Whereto from here in the absence of Sotheby’s self-appointed  Aboriginal maestro Tim Klingender? There’s a glittering but fragile network of collectors throughout the world who have looked to Sotheby’s for an indication of what is the best/only Aboriginal art to buy.

Will Goodmans/Sotheby’s be able to stoke the same fires?

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