Sarah Thornton on art auctions (2012)

The author of the influential book Seven days in the art world presents three articles spotlighting recent developments that are must-reads for those outside the system.

Sarah Thornton on the art market

Three articles in the Economist over the past two years by sociologist Sarah Thornton, author of the acclaimed book, Seven days in the art world, reveal interesting mechanisms about modern and contemporary art auctions. Each article spotlights a different phenomenon, including third-party guarantees, the idiosyncrasies of the Warhol market, and an unusual art auction called Carte blanche.

Click to see the following insightful reports:

> Sarah Thornton’s "Financial machinations at auctions" which spotlights the third-party guarantee process, published in November 2011

> In "The wizards of the Warhol market", Sarah Thornton discusses the impressive turnover of $181 million achieved by Andy Warhol’s art during the spring season of 2011— and the factors attributed to this

> In a third article in November 2010, "A passion that knows no bounds", Sarah Thornton reports on how a prominent art consultant and dealer received the opportunity to assemble "the sale of his dreams" by Phillips de Pury & Company— and an unexpected price was recorded for a Warhol.

While the art market is a well-oiled machine that thrives on its power to surprise, readers can gain a new understanding of its complexities through Sarah Thornton’s musings.