S haring the stories behind the art, objects and people that pass through our doors is one of the the most rewarding aspects of our business. This year was no exception – whether filmed virtually, on-location or in Sotheby’s galleries, our 2020 videos present detailed looks at one-of-a-kind masterpieces, first-hand accounts from artists and collectors, fresh perspectives from creative partners and more. To ring in the New Year, discover some of these extra special moments, compiled in a playlist of favorites.
The Man Behind the World’s Most Important Ansel Adams Collection
In this episode of A Life Less Ordinary, meet with Arrington, the extraordinary man behind the auction, A Grand Vision. The David H. Arrington Collection of Ansel Adams Masterworks grew out of his lifelong passion for photography. Arrington has amassed over 650 Ansel Adams photographs – “I’m a Texan and we overdo everything" – the collector remarks in the video.
Cars as Art: Alfa Romeo’s B.A.T. Concept Cars
In this episode of Expert Voices, Ian Kelleher speaks on Alfa Romeo’s ingenuity in the creation of the B.A.T. concept cars. Designed by Franco Scaglione, the cars remain today as a testimony of what one man can do in the field of design. Sculpted by aerodynamics, these cars were sold for the first time ever as a trio in an exclusive auction by RM Sotheby’s – transcending the medium of the automobile into the realm of fine art. Alfa Romeo’s B.A.T. Concept Cars sold for $14,840,000 at the Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
The Arresting ‘Exploded’ Ceramics of Artist Bouke de Vries
Meet Bouke de Vries, the celebrated Dutch artist whose arresting ‘exploded’ artworks are made from fragments of broken antique ceramics. In this episode of By Design, discover how Bouke’s career as a ceramics restorer inspired his creative desire to find beauty in broken things and given them a new narrative. A spectacular bespoke installation by de Vries greeted visitors at the Showroom | The London Edit – Sotheby’s new exhibition space showcasing exciting property by leading designers, artists, craftsmen and makers, available for direct purchase outside of the traditional auction calendar.
Incredible, Eccentric, Accidental: The Life of Art Collector Herbert Lust
Looking back on nearly a century-long life, Herbert Lust can’t help but feel lucky. He has one of the finest collections of works by artists including Alberto Giacometti, Robert Indiana and Hans Bellmer, among others. But he didn’t just collect these influential artists – he learned from them, challenged them and perhaps most importantly, he befriended them. In this episode of A Life Less Ordinary, Lust recounts a life of eccentric curiosity, from his youth in rural Indiana to his career as an investment banker and eventually to his status as one of the leading collectors of art in New York. The close relationships he formed with artists would transform the way Lust perceived and collected art, and today offer us a rare, intimate view into the minds of 20th century icons.
Experiencing Art with Kurt Andersen
Sotheby’s December marquee sales of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art premiered with a special 30-minute pre-show program, hosted by best-selling author and Peabody Award-winning radio host Kurt Andersen, featuring The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik and Digital Strategist for the art world JiaJia Fei, as well as Sotheby’s Amy Cappellazzo, Frank Everett and Ian Kelleher.
Discover Rembrandt’s Unceasing Journey of Self-Depiction
No artist’s face is so instantly recognisable as that of Rembrandt. In this video, discover the artist’s enduring captivation with his own image and his unique mastery of self-examination. Painted in 1632, ‘Self-Portrait, Wearing a Ruff and Black Hat’, shows a 26-year old Rembrandt with his sights firmly set on conquering the Amsterdam art scene. One of the last self-portraits by Rembrandt left in private hands, it was the highlight of our pioneering cross-category evening sale ‘Rembrandt to Richter’. ‘Self-Portrait, Wearing a Ruff and Black Hat’ sold for £14,549,400.
The Surreal World of Set Designer Shona Heath
Shona Heath is one of Britain’s leading Set Designers and Creative Directors. Her Surrealist Art-inspired sets have contributed to some of the most iconic fashion images of the last 10 years. In this episode of A Life Less Ordinary, Shona invites us into her London studio and explains how she became interested in Surrealism as a child, how a shared passion for art historical references drives her creative relationship with acclaimed photographer Tim Walker, and how Surrealist artists such as Francis Picabia, Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning and Kay Sage have influenced her work.
The Qing Wonder Reunited for the First Time in Over a Century
Marvel at the ingenuity and skill of this Qing Dynasty scroll, which was the centerpiece of the ‘Fine Classical Chinese Paintings’ pre-sale exhibition. Part of an original monumental work comprising 12 scrolls, Scroll VI of ‘The Kangxi Emperor’s Southern Inspection Tour’ was cut into seven fragments and separated in the early 20th-century. Now, thanks to the zeal of a determined collector, the fragments have been reunited and the scroll was once again seen as intended.
Behind the Scenes at the Ballet with French Fashion Editor Carine Roitfeld
Get a behind the scenes look at what happened when Sotheby’s asked French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld to style a contemporary performance of the Ballets Russes’ acclaimed 1911 creation ‘Le Spectre de la rose’. Named after the ballet in honor of its Russian heritage, the ‘Spirit of the Rose’ is also the name of a 14.83-carat Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink Internally Flawless diamond which was offered in our auction Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels. The diamond sold for 24,393,000 CHF.
The Nutcracker Reimagined: A Collaboration with the New York City Ballet
Featuring music from The Nutcracker, original choreography by NYCB soloist Peter Walker, and an introduction by artistic director Jonathan Stafford and Sotheby's Frank Everett, this imaginative performance combines art and dance to bring a bit of holiday magic to viewers around the world. The virtual performance was in celebration of Sotheby’s Festival of Wonder.