Economy & Politics podcast “We have forged new alliances in the art market”

Auctioneer Kilian von Seldeneckdpa

The Corona crisis has set a lot in motion in the art market – because the lack of trade fairs has put many artists and galleries under pressure. And so alliances are formed between artists, collectors, galleries and auction houses; new formats break with the rules of the market. In September, for example, there will be an exhibition in the notorious Berlin techno club “Berghain” with over a hundred artists presenting their works from the time of the shutdown. The organizers expect revenues in the millions – for the club and the artists.

One of the drivers behind such ideas is the auctioneer Kilian von Seldeneck, who has been running the Berlin branch of the Lempertz auction house with his wife for years – and who founded KvS Auctions, a start-up that promotes such new formats. “There is something revolutionary about our concepts”, said von Seldeneck in the podcast “Die Null” (, n-tv, Stern), Corona has “brought a certain dynamic into the market and initiated new alliances”. One thing seems clear: Seldeneck auctioneer, dubbed “the amplifier” by “Weltkunst”, wants to break rules, blur the boundaries between action and auction.

No art fairs without a vaccination

For artists in particular, the crisis means that they are lacking income – many galleries are also missing visitors. “As long as there is no vaccination, there will be no art fairs,” said von Seldeneck, who sits on the presidium of the Federal Association of German Art Auctioneers. “That means stress for one or the other gallery.”

His idea: to dissolve the classic division between the primary and secondary market. Usually a work is sold through the galleries and then passes through the hands of the collectors through auctions. In July, von Seldeneck, in cooperation with a dozen galleries, auctioned the works directly, turning over 900,000 euros. “Traditional barriers” would be broken by Corona, said von Seldeneck, it had also united the scene. A few months ago, the auctioneer held a “good mood auction” for charity, at which experiences after the shutdown – such as Mercedes convertible trips, but also guided tours through private collections such as those of Julia Stoschek or Christian Boros – could be bought.

From Seldeneck expects high prices on the art market due to the fresh flood of money from the central banks – which had already run hot before and had seen many records. “We will surpass these records”, expects von Seldeneck.

Listen to the new episode of “The Zero Hour

  • What is behind the action in the techno club “Berghain”
  • How to start collecting art yourself
  • What bizarre experiences he had as an auctioneer in some houses

“Zero Hour” is available directly from Audio Now, Apple or Spotify or via Google.


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