A Walk Through An Art Auction – How Things Work

What Is An Art Auction
An Art auction such as the Australian art auctions is the sale of artworks. Art auctions have been part of the art market since the 17th century. The activity is usually open to public participation. Art auction houses have catalogs that list the artworks to be sold and make this available to the public before the auction dates. Today, contemporary art auctions are open online. What will attract you to an art auction is that the items on sale are unique or nearly so.

If you have never been to an art auction but are getting ready to go to one soon, you may want to know how things work at an art auction. You may be asking yourself, “how do I prepare?” “what is sold at an art auction?” and “how are the prices set?”

If you have plans to go to an art auction, it’s critical that you first do some homework about the type of art you intend to buy. Though art auctions are open to the public, you will need to register to bid at an auction house.

Before art auctioneers put up artwork to be sold at auctions, the art auction houses first publish online catalogs for potential buyers to go through. Images and information about each artwork are made available. Part of the work’s history, the artist, and related work to the artist can also be found in the online catalog. Take advantage of all the available information and ask, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What Is Sold At An Art Auction
Though paintings are the most common artwork sold at art auctions, any type of unique art can be sold. Art auctions have no restrictions on who gets their work sold at the auction; there is always room for every unique artwork. Small art auction houses sell artwork online and are more liberal than the bigger art auction houses. However, all art auctions sell paintings, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, and more.

How Are Prices At Art Auctions Set?
An excellent art auctioneer will plan an auction several months in advance with a fixed line-up of artwork available for sale. These items are carefully presented in an auction catalog and given to potential collectors to go through before the auction date. On the set date, registered bidders and their advisers come to the auction house, and every bidder is given a paddle to use when responding to a bid.

Expert art consultants help guide prices and reserves or artwork. Auction houses consult art specialists on every artwork on offer to give price guides based on the current art market and broader economic climate. Though price expectations aren’t always fulfilled, some artwork can exceed their estimates by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Before the auctioneer takes their place at the block, there is no limit to predicting what may occur in an exquisite artwork.

However, before the auction, the owners of the artwork may propose predetermined prices for their work to the auctioneer. Sometimes the setting of prices for the artwork may not be precise, and quotations may negatively be impacted during booms as better paintings may come up for sale. The cost of a piece can also be affected if it doesn’t sell the first time at an auction. It is important to note that the price you see in the catalog may not be the final hammer price.

During an art auction, bidding starts low, and the auctioneer subsequently calls out higher and higher prices. The public participates by placing bids to match the auctioneer’s call, and you can continue placing bids until you reach your maximum budget. The artwork is said to have been “knocked down” or “hammered down.”  Bidding stops with the hammer, and the final price is the hammer price.

Art auctions are led by an auctioneer and are most commonly held in auction houses. The events are planned several months before and potential clients supplied with informative catalogs to peruse through. If you plan to participate in any art auction, you need to register as a bidder. Art auctioneers can sell unique artworks from talented artists or sculptors, including the big names and the little known. When buying artwork, it’s essential that you stand in front of the piece you want to buy before you do, you may not feel the same as you thought when you viewed it on the screen.