Cheyenne Westphal

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In Brief:

  • Joined Sotheby’s in 1990
  • Educated at St. Andrews in Scotland and the University of California, Berkeley
  • Oversaw every major contemporary art sale in Europe since 1999
  • Dubbed “Sotheby’s secret weapon” by Harper’s Bazaar

The June 2011 sale of the Duerckheim Collection realized a record-breaking £62 million ($97 million), but for Cheyenne Westphal, Co-Head, Contemporary Art Worldwide, perhaps the most satisfying moment was gaining the client’s trust. When she first approached Count Duerckheim about his collection of postwar German art, “he was just flat out not interested,” she says. Over time, however, the two struck up a friendship, and “I was the first person outside the family to see the collection. He simply said, ‘You do what you do best.’ And he was thrilled with the results.”

That was not the only high point of Cheyenne’s tenure in the contemporary department, of which she was named European Chairman in 2006. In 2008 she was instrumental in realizing the unprecedented Damien Hirst auction Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, which achieved a staggering £121 million ($200 million), as well as the $140 million sales of the famed Helga and Walther Lauffs Collection of post-war European art.

“If you had told me when I was growing up in Baden-Baden that I’d be the head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, I would not have believed it,” she says. Among her recent initiatives was the launch of the London branch of S|2, Sotheby’s contemporary art gallery, which opened last October with a show of Joseph Beuys drawings and sculptures she secured. “No day is exactly the same here, and that’s the beauty of what we do.”

Videos featuring Cheyenne Westphal

An Introduction to the Gunter Sachs Collection

Gerhard Richter’s ‘Wand (Wall)’

‘Three Self-Portrait Studies’ by Francis Bacon

Blog Posts by Cheyenne Westphal

S|2 Comes to London

Joseph Beuys Revealed

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Feb ‘16