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Hybrid Art Auctions

Hybrid art auctions have become the latest topic in the art community. The art market is an industry that relies heavily on in-person art sales. Due to the lockdowns in various countries, many of the top auction house have had to cancel or postpone events. These measures are costing auction houses a great deal of money. This has led to layoffs and other economic downsizing, causing the industry to struggle. Under normal circumstances, online sales are only a small fraction of an auction house’s earning. Most people want to see the art in person before spending those high dollar amounts. Yet, many auction houses are hoping that an enhanced online experience, might draw in more clients. This could help bolster those types of sales to help keep them afloat during the pandemic.

How Hybrid Art Auctions Work

Sotherby's Hybrid Art Auction


With a hybrid auction, the auctioneer live streams the item, while remote bidders call in bids or make them online from around the globe. Sothby’s found great success with this new style of art sales during their first hybrid event in June. They managed to sell a Francis Bacon triptych for eighty-four million dollars, garnering overall sales of over three hundred million. A great deal of praise was given to the auctioneer. He was able to keep the momentum going and capture the audience from a distance with his enthusiasm. Some attribute the high priced bids to the fact that many of the carefully curated pieces were available for viewing prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns. While others are skeptical about this kind of achievement being duplicated in future attempts.

Francis Bacon - Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus - Hybrid Art Auctions

DACS, London/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; via Sotheby’s

The success of these initial trials for “hybrid” auctions might indicate a change in the market, or this may be a temporary fix for a current problem. Whether buyers will want to spend money on luxury items, without being able to inspect them in person is uncertain. Already other famous auction houses such as Christie’s are planning their own versions of these kinds of events and are optimistic about the collector turn-out.

Grow Your Own Gallery Without Bidding

If you would like to purchase an amazing piece of art, from the comfort of your own home feel free to browse our Best Sellers Gallery. There you will find high quality reproductions of pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edward Hopper, and many more. You can create your own art gallery, without having to bid against anyone!

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.