The Retail Revolution: Christie’s Interiors

Christie’s has consistently been the world’s leading auction house since it began in the late 18th century. Today, its newest global feature, Christie’s Interiors, is setting a new standard for home décor.

By Sara Neff


In 1766, just shy of a decade before the American Revolutionary War commenced, a different type of revolution was started in London. The American Revolution was a tumultuous time in which severe political conflict led the original 13 colonies to seek independence from Great Britain. However, the revolution that took place in London in 1766 was not one of rebellion and revolt-it was a revolution that resulted in the transformation of the auction house to what it is today.

 Everything from antique silverware and mirrors to modern sculptures and vases will be available to buyers-with each item being as unique and magnificent as Christie’s itself.

On December 5, 1766, Christie’s auction house was officially founded in London by James Christie. Soon after, Christie’s gained worldwide respect as a reputable fine arts auction house, and almost two and a half centuries later, it continues to be the world’s leading art business. Each year, Christie’s holds 600 sales in more than 80 categories, including: fine and decorative arts; jewelry; photographs; collectibles; and wine. Additionally, Christie’s has recently led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging markets such as China and the Middle East.

Throughout its 241 years in business, Christie’s has held some of the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including the sale of artwork and personal possessions associated with prominent historical figures such as Pablo Picasso; Rembrandt; Diana, Princess of Wales; Leonardo da Vinci; Vincent van Gogh; Napoleon Bonaparte; and Marilyn Monroe-just to name a few. Now, as we move in to the 21st century, Christie’s is again conducting a revolution of the auction house with the creation of their newest global feature: Christie’s Interiors.

Combining what was previously known as House Sales in New York, Intériuers in Paris, and Interiors in London, Christie’s Interiors makes it easier than ever to furnish a home. This new sale feature, beginning in 2008, offers a wide variety of fine and exquisite, one of a kind objects and collectibles in almost every style with lower price points. Whether a buyer is searching for a classic or contemporary item, Christie’s Interiors includes furniture to fit the discerning tastes of its posh clientele.

The items offered for sale at Christie’s Interiors don’t stop at just furniture. Shoppers and decorators will be able to acquire anything needed to outfit a home in quality décor. Everything from antique silverware and mirrors to modern sculptures and vases will be available to buyers-with each item being as unique and magnificent as Christie’s itself. All property offered for sale at Christie’s is meticulously researched by their skilled team of specialists, and the property presented at Christie’s Interiors is no different. Each item is studied to guarantee the authenticity of each piece.

Experienced decorators and collectors, as well as amateur buyers, are all invited to participate in the Christie’s Interior auctions. The multi-category sales make it simple for buyers to find the exact items they want and need. The unique and distinctive items available for auction allow Christie’s Interiors to stand apart from standard upscale home design stores and other auction houses.

“With our 2008 enhanced Christie’s Interiors offering, shoppers and decorators, both new and old, will have an even more fantastic retail alternative when looking to complete their homes with stylish works that will hold their value,” say Stefan Kist, Nic McElhatton and Lionel Gosset, New York, London and Paris heads of Christie’s Interiors.

With three showrooms and four ways to bid and buy from Christie’s Interiors, home decorating has never been more convenient or flexible. Christie’s has 85 offices in 43 countries around the world, including 14 salerooms in such bustling cities as London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Dubai, and Hong Kong. Three of the salerooms are being dedicated to Christie’s Interiors. In the United States, buyers can visit the Rockefeller Plaza showroom in Manhattan to bid on home décor. If you happen to be in Europe, two Christie’s Interior showrooms can be found either in the heart of Paris near the Champs Elysées or at the South Kensington saleroom in London.

Because buyers around the world will be interested in the ever-changing repertoire of fine and decorative art available at Christie’s Interior, there are three alternative ways to bid at the auctions. Bidders are offered the opportunity to bid over the phone, in writing, and now online with Christie’s LIVETM, a unique, real-time online bidding service. Christie’s LIVETM allows bidders to see and hear the auction live while bidding and tracking each item’s progress. With just access to the Internet, this inventive system lets buyers around the world bid on the numerous lots available at any of the three Christie’s Interior sites.

Purchasing items through Christie’s Interiors is an extremely simple process. Following registering with Christie’s, interested buyers receive a large scale magazine-style catalogue that highlights each lot with a description and illustration. After browsing the immense selection of home furnishing items, buyers choose their bidding methods, and hope to win the item they bid on.

Global auction sales for Christie’s totaled an astounding $4.67 billion in 2006. Subsequently, in the beginning of 2007, Christie’s saw a market increase of 45 percent with worldwide sales totaling $3.25 billion-the highest half-year sales ever in art market history. Helping to increase their sales in 2007 was a jewelry and fine art auction held in Dubai. Christie’s was the first international auction house to hold a jewelry sale in the Middle Eastern tourist and retail mecca of Dubai which totaled $21 million. With the inception of Christie’s Interiors, 2008 will prove to be an even better year for the internationally renowned auction house.

While the transformation of the auction house began in the 18th century, Christie’s continues to revolutionize and develop the art world by providing the world with a progressive showcase of the unique and beautiful. Now, with over 200 years of art auction experience and unparalleled service, Christie’s has, once again, altered the art world. With the implementation of Christie’s Interiors, extraordinary home décor is rising to the forefront of the auction business.