Christie's Cuts Jobs as Art Sales Slump

250-year-old auction house downsizes to stay afloat
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2009 7:10 AM CST
A Christie's employee looks at Claude Monet's "Dans la Prairie" in London, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. The venerable auction house announced it would cut jobs as the art market struggles.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – Following months of bad results in America and Europe, Christie's is reorganizing to cut costs, including "significant staff reductions," the auction house said yesterday. While at the start of 2008 the art world seemed immune to the economic downturn, the decade-long boom in art prices busted this fall. At a recent sale in New York, nearly a third of the pieces on the block went unsold.

The art world has been hit hard by the turmoil in the markets and the end of mega-bonus culture, which led financiers to spend millions on works of art at auctions and fairs, the New York Times reports. While Christie's did not reveal the size of its planned cuts, its archrival Sotheby's said last month it would reduce costs by $7 million via downsizing and salary decreases. Christie's, founded in 1766, employs 2,100 people in 43 countries.