Auction  May 13, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Christie's Website Hacked Days Leading Up To Major Auctions

Courtesy Christie's

Event by Brice Marden (2004-2007)

There typically would be great anticipation leading up to Christie’s 20th and 21st Century Evening Sales, as works by Basquiat, Keith Haring, Monet, Ed Rusche, Van Gogh, Joan Mitchell, and Agnes Martin find new proprietors. Yet, technical difficulties dampened these big events. On May 10th, expectant buyers were confronted with a new message on the website's main page, “We apologize that our website is currently offline. We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and regret any inconvenience. To register your interest, or to bid, in an upcoming sale please use the contact details provided.”

This week was originally expected to bring in around $840 million, as reported by The Art Newspaper. Starting off on the 14th, with Miami collector Rosa De La Cruz’s live auction in New York, 26 lots featuring pieces by Ana Mendieta, Peter Doig, and Hernan Bas were estimated to make upwards of $30 million. 

Vincent van Gogh, 1887

Vincent van Gogh, Grass and Butterflies (1887)

However, the lack of cyber security puts these approximations into question. Online bidding will be accepted in these three upcoming auctions, but it still raises concern for those who are shelling out cash as this is not the first time Christie's has experienced this kind of issue. In September, an online data breach exposed the specific GPS coordinates of 10 percent of the artistic works that collectors had uploaded for review. 

Despite this, the 2024 art market, which has yet to find its footing compared to 2022’s $2.8 billion peak, still holds hope. The 21st Century Evening Sale, also taking place on May 14th, expects to earn more than $100 million. A piece by late New York artist Brice Marden, titled Event (2004–7), is thought to bring in around $50 million, with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s The Italian Version Of Popeye Has No Pork In His Diet (1982) more than $30 million.

Two days later is the 20th Century Evening Sale, believed to make the auction house somewhere around $500 million. Led by Vincent van Gogh’s Coin de Jardin avec papillons (1887), and Monet’s Moulin de Limetz (1888), the 64 lots will be some of the most important sales of the season. 

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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