Reto Barmettler joined Sotheby’s as Russian Pictures Specialist in 2013, before becoming Head of the Russian Pictures department in London in 2018, and recently returned to Switzerland to lead Sotheby’s Zurich team.
Born and raised in Central Switzerland, Reto graduated with an MA in Political Science from the University of Lausanne and completed an MA in Art History at Birkbeck, University of London, as well as spending several years in Moscow.
Under Reto’s leadership - as Head of Russian Pictures sales since 2015, and later as Head of Department - Sotheby’s team consistently dominated the market in this field, achieving £25.9 million of sales in 2021 alone and setting the benchmark for expertise in Russian art spanning from the 19th century to the Contemporary era.
Reto has overseen record-breaking sales for leading artists including Ilya Chashnik, Semyon Faibisovich, Ivan Kliun, Konstantin Makovsky, Alexander Rodchenko, Konstantin Rozhdestvensky, Sergei Sudeikin, Oleg Tselkov and Konstantin Yuon. And, in 2020 Ivan Aivazovsky’s The Bay of Naples became the most valuable painting ever sold in any online auction worldwide, selling for £2.3 million.
Reto has also been instrumental in offering landmark collections, including an Important Private German collection of the avant-garde, 100% sold for £11.6 million in 2014, and one of the most impressive private collections of Soviet non-conformist art, sold for £6 million in a dedicated sale in 2021.
Reto became a Sotheby’s auctioneer in 2022 for the sale of Karl Lagerfeld collection in Cologne, the first-ever live auction held at Sotheby’s new German headquarters. Since then he has taken sales of Fabergé and Wine in London. He is a fluent German, French, Russian and English speaker.