The auction of art has evolved over time. Today, auctions have shifted to focusing on hot artists and collections. The most popular artists may be young and have impressive fan bases online, or they may be artists who are currently trending in the art media. The hotness of an artist can be judged by how quickly it sells or whether buyers have long wait lists.
The auction of art is rooted in tradition but is adapting to the digital age. The history of auctions can be traced as far back as ancient Greece. Herodotus relates that women and slaves were auctioned in order to find their suitable partners. Roman art auctions, meanwhile, were usually held to liquidate insolvency cases or to dispose of war booty and slaves. Art auctions were never very popular in Asia, but they were common in Europe until the early Christian era. In the Middle Ages, however, art auctions had become largely obsolete.
Auctions are a great way to find rare works of art that are too expensive to be purchased through traditional means. Many collectors are turning to this method because of the more transparent buying process, access to highly sought-after works, and free secondary-market data. Moreover, these auctions offer high-quality works at low prices. Hong Kong restaurateur Alan Lo, for example, had missed an opportunity to purchase a painting by Nigerian artist John Madu, but found it at auction. Previously, it would have taken him too long to acquire a painting by the artist in the primary market.
There are several categories of art at auctions. For example, modern art includes works created between the late 19th century and 1945. It can be offered along with post-war art or separately. Also, there are categories of art based on editions, multiples, and oeuvres. Limited editions have a set number of works, while open editions don’t have a fixed number of pieces. In addition, auction houses usually set an estimate, which is a minimum price that must be met in order to sell the item.
The auction of art is a major source of income for artists. Many artists dream of selling their work at a major auction house. Their work will attract international art collectors, and news of the sale will spread all over the world. Those who have a large collection can auction their art, resulting in a large infusion of cash.
Unlike a conventional auction, the auction of art is a public event. The highest bidder will get to take the artwork home. The auction is held at an auction house, and participants bid on items by calling out their bids. The bidding will continue until no one is willing to bid higher than the previous bid.
While attending an art auction is a thrilling experience, it is best to do your research before bidding on a piece. Some auctions publish an online catalogue of works several weeks before the auction.