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Legendary auction house Sotheby's celebrates 275 years

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Monday celebrated Sotheby’s first auction, a books sale in London that totalled £826, back in 1744.

To celebrate the anniversary, Sotheby’s chairman of the board, Domenico De Sole, accompanied by colleagues, rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange Monday morning, where Sotheby’s is the oldest company traded.

Tad Smith, CEO of Sotheby’s, who stood in the box with Mr. De Sole, says it was a special experience.

Smith stated, “There were 100 people on the floor learning about Sotheby’s from its specialists and seeing the whole stock exchange phenomenon and them cheering us on, it was really a great way to say, ‘Happy birthday Sotheby’s.’”

In the 275 years since then, the firm has expanded both geographically and in the types of works it sells.

Founded by Samuel Baker, Sotheby’s began as a bookseller in London, and over the years, it has continued to auction literary works, including the unpublished papers of Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King Jr.’s collection, and the Magna Carta.

By 1883, the auction house had started selling art. Ninety years later, Sotheby’s sold works by living artists, such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, for the first time, bringing new attention and recognition of modern art.

In 1958, Sotheby’s obtained a collection belonging to Jakob Goldschmidt of seven paintings by leading impressionist and post-impressionist artists Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir for a sale.

 

 

Source: Smart Trend Team