Sotheby’s and Christie’s cancel Russian art auctions in response to war in Ukraine

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Sotheby's London headquarters on New Bond Street, where the house's sales of Russian art were typically held in June Photo by Ungry Young Man, via Flickr
Sotheby’s London headquarters on New Bond Street, where the house’s sales of Russian art were typically held in June Photo by Ungry Young Man, via Flickr

Sotheby’s and Christie’s have both said that they are cancelling their upcoming auctions of Russian art due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to The Art Newspaper. The auctions, typically held in June, had been favourites of Russian collectors.

“Sotheby’s will not be holding Russian art sales in June,” a spokesperson for the auction house says in a statement. “Our hearts and thoughts go out to all those affected by the Ukraine crisis and we are actively supporting those impacted by the tragic events unfolding in the region through corporate and employee fundraising.”

Sotheby’s London sales of Russian art in November 2021 totalled £17.7m (including fees), a take the auction house described as both the “highest total” and “higher than that of all other auction houses holding Russian sales combined” during the event known as Russian Week.

Within hours of Sotheby’s calling off its auctions, Christie’s followed suit. “We have made the decision to cancel our June Russian sales,” a spokesperson said.

Both auction houses said they are closely following regulations relating to sanctions, which bar dealings with individuals and companies that are listed.