- One of Sotheby’s foremost Auctioneers
- Coordinates Impressionist Art, Modern Art and Contemporary Art sales
- Instrumental in the (RED) auction in New York to benefit the Global Fund
- Oversaw the 2004 sale of Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy, which doubled its presale estimate
- Key player in securing The Vanthournout Collection for sale in 2006
Oliver Barker joined Sotheby's in June 1994. He was Deputy Head of the European Impressionist & Modern Art Department in London, before moving to the European Contemporary Art Department in 2001.
In 2004 he oversaw the sale of Damien Hirst's Pharmacy, which sold at Sotheby's London for £11 million against a pre-sale estimate of £3.5 - 4.9 million. He was also instrumental in organising and auctioneering both the (RED) auction in New York to benefit the Global Fund and the landmark Damien Hirst sale, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, which achieved £111.5 million against a pre-sale estimate of £68.4 - 98.6 million, and established a world record for a single-artist sale.
More recently Oliver has been pivotally involved in a significant rise in value in Contemporary British art. Oliver has been responsible for bringing to the market a group of works by Lucian Freud that brought £4.6 million - headlined by the artist's rediscovered Self Portrait with a Black Eye that sold for £2.8 million (London, February 2010); the Jerry Hall Collection which commanded the well-above estimate total of £2.5 million (London, October 2010); and Francis Bacon's Figure in Movement which sold this month for $14 million, far surpassing expectations of $7-10 million (New York, November 2010). In June 2012 he was responsible for the sale of a remarkable group of eight portraits by Frank Auerbach and one work by Lucian Freud from the Collection of Joseph and Ruth Bromberg for a combined total of £2,476,000.