By Jon Dwyer, on 26-Nov-2009

Art market veteran Jon Dwyer, one of the major participants in the November round of auctions with expenditure of over $2.5 million on behalf of clients, gives his view on the shape of the auction landscape next year, based on his interpretation of saleroom events during the week.

The recent November auctions only further highlight the astute and savvy takeover lead by Tim Goodman of Sotheby’s Australia.

One needs to look no further than the Sotheby’s auction this week. The sale enjoyed  a solid result in excess of $7 million far exceeding all competitors. Why? Rightly or wrongly, Sotheby’s, has a lustre that many potential vendors find too alluring.

The November Sotheby’s catalogue presented works from the Scheumack Collection, Estate of Kate Crookston, works from the Basil Sellers collection and a group of fine de Maistre  and Bunny works from the London office. These vendors represented about seventy five percent of the seven million dollar plus auction. To the despair of other house these works were bound only for Sotheby’s.

If anyone believes that is about to change they are sadly misguided.  Although an Australian run Sotheby’s may offer ammunition for it’s competitors, a re-invigorated, hungry and vibrant Sotheby’s will create heart burn for fellow houses.

However the writer hastens to add that it will not be all plain sailing for Team Goodman. Awareness of brand dilution will be critical to ongoing success and although there has been staff rumblings at the old Sotheby’s including the resignation of two former board members  such actions will only embellish the  new look, Team Goodman will be  quietly contented with the new Sotheby’s.

Auction branding, coupled with image and reputation is very significant and critical for success and although auction staff relationships may play a part securing consignments these relationships take decades if not a generation to build trust. In essence, in the auction world, brand power is king.

Goodman, a veteran of the art market as a dealer and auctioneer would be acutely aware of this. Tim Goodman has surrounded himself with fellow directors of high experience and reputation and having known Goodman in business for many years he is not deterred  by hard work, and is prepared to get his hands dirty. Sotheby’s Australia is now in the hands of Goodman, it is now just the way the deck of cards fall.

Expect Team Goodman to lay down a royal flush.

About The Author

Jon Dwyer is a Director of Dwyer Fine Art, Valuers and Consultants. From a three generation ‘art’ family and with over 35 years experience in the art business, Jon commenced his career with Leonard Joel becoming Head of the Art Department. Jon was formerly a Director of Christie’s, Head of Christie’s Valuation Department, and Head of Christie’s Australian & International Painting Department and Auctioneer.