The ever-expanding Los Angeles art scene now has another anchor for its market. This April, Christie’s will be opening a two-story flagship gallery in the heart of Beverly Hills, where it will host selling exhibitions and facilitate private sales, increasing the auction house’s presence in the City of Angels.
“With its vibrant community of major collectors, artists, tastemakers and cultural institutions, Southern California has been an important market for Christie’s for nearly four decades and is now one of our most active regions for new buyers,” said Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s CEO. “With this new flagship, we are opening our doors to even greater engagement with L.A.’s vibrant arts community and creating a dynamic convening space for both emerging and established collectors.”
The 5,400-square-foot space will be designed by the firm whY, which has worked with a number of local institutions and collectors.
It’s a much more visible presence for the auction house than its previous L.A. office space, which was in Century City, away from the action. And while there will be no auctions held at the space, the Beverly Hills digs can allow for ample foot traffic, increasing the chance a client will amble by and come to snap up some art. Having a gallery in a luxury shopping mecca has worked out pretty well for Larry Gagosian, who has his Los Angeles gallery just steps away from the new Christie’s space.
The new space also makes good on the promise the house made in 2015 to expand out west, when it named Sonya Roth managing director for Christie’s Southern California. That appointment marked a commitment to beef up the house’s L.A. presence as the number of the city’s collectors was expanding and more global gallery outfits were opening West Coast outposts.
No programming for the space has been announced yet, but it should certainly be an improvement from the offerings of the former office, which mostly hosted touring selections from the London and New York sales.
The news comes the same day that Christie’s announced some details regarding its 2016 sales figures. Its overall haul was £4 billion ($5.4 billion), down 22 percent from the previous year. However, the company says that in the realm of private sales—an area that the Los Angeles flagship will focus on—figures are up 25 percent.