It has been a busy morning at the two top auction houses. On Wednesday, 14 December, Christie’s announced that Guillaume Cerutti, the president of Europe, Middle East, Russia and India at Christie’s in London, would be taking over as CEO, effective 1 January 2017. Meanwhile, Sotheby’s announced that Christy MacLear, the chief executive of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation since 2010, would be joining the New York auction house’s advisory team.
Earlier this year, Cerutti moved to London from Paris
, where he was chief executive of Sotheby’s France
. In 2015, his remarks to a French parliamentary committee on culture and education drew scrutiny when he proposed that museums should be able to deaccession works that had been in public collections for at least 50 years “so that other, more relevant works can be acquired”. His promotion at Christie’s comes “on the recommendation of Patricia Barbizet [the company’s current chief executive] and with the full support of the Pinault family”, according to a press release. Barbizet, who had been installed as CEO since the departure of Steven Murphy in December 2014, will become vice chairman of Christie’s board and remains chief executive of parent company Artemis.
Christy MacLear. Photo: Carsten Fleck
MacLear will be working with the adviser Allan Schwartzman, whose firm Art Agency Partners was bought by Sotheby’s for $85m in January, to expand the auction house’s business advising private clients, which will now include not only collectors, but also artists and estates. Schwartzman said in a statement that MacLear, with a long history of steering institutions, including the Philip Johnson Glass House and the Museum Campus in Chicago, “fills a void—the role between estate lawyers and gallerists that exists specifically to help living artists to plan, estate trustees to transition, and existing artist foundations to manage programs.”