Three years ago, a wide audience saw Amy Capelazzo in her element. In the Emmy-nominated documentary The Cost of Everything, as chairman of Sotheby’s Global Fine Arts, she spared no words: “If museums have too many works of art that are never shown, they are cemeteries.” Or “The context is really important. An artist shown in the lobby never appears in front of an audience. This is his kiss of death. ” The documentary was about the relationship between the value and the purchase price of contemporary art.
Calm, in the back of the limousine, we see her in the movie talking on her cell phone. She is shrewd, charismatic, endowed with almost infinite energy, an eloquent defender of the market, which is sometimes ruthless, especially for young artists, writes the German Handelsblatt in a comment.
Even competitors admit that she is a “genius master of the deal” – her customers blindly trust her. But the 53-year-old Capelazo, in addition to business acumen, has an equally deep passion for art.
Now the star has announced that he will leave Sotheby’s after the important spring auctions. Not surprisingly, her five-year contract expired in January. In an interview with industry magazine The Art Newspaper, she said: “I was hired to help privatize the company and it was done.”
Capelazzo’s steep rise in the auction business began in 2001 as Christie’s co-director of postwar and contemporary art in New York. Together with Brett Gorvey, she catapulted the department into the undisputed market leader.
A single night in November 2013 raised $ 691 million from 63 lots, the highest in bidding history. When she left the company in 2014 with the title of Chair of the Post-War and Contemporary Development Department, the contemporary art market became a global phenomenon.
Together with the equally good art consultant and curator Alan Schwartzman – one of his best clients is the Brazilian art park Instituto Inhotim, the work of former mining entrepreneur Bernardo Pass – and lawyer and investment banker Adam Chin, Capellazzo fills a major market gap. .
Their consulting firm Art Agency, Partners (AAP) caters to the needs of the best international collectors with full service – so successfully that only two years later the new CEO of Sotheby’s Thomas Sidney “Tad” Smith brought this expertise to the company you are.
He paid the trio an impressive $ 85 million to head a new Fine Arts business, mainly for 20th and 21st century art, and to improve the profit margins of the then-listed company.
From the autumn of 2019, the new owner Patrick Drahy focuses mainly on the fast-growing market of luxury goods such as design, jewelry, bags and wine. In early 2020, Capellazo rose to the position of chairman of the Global Fine Art Division, responsible for almost all global art business, including old masters, Latin American art, photography and Asian art.
Insiders suggest that one of the reasons for the separation may be her high salary; but perhaps she is no longer interested in the flow of managerial tasks.
As early as November 2019, Capelazzo told The Canvas magazine in a typical American way: “I am an entrepreneur.”
Her former AAP partners have also left Sotheby’s. Schwartzman has been heading his own large consulting firm again since the summer of 2020, and Adam Chin left in December 2018. As chief operating officer, he is the driving force behind Sotheby’s behind the winning instruments for guarantees and irrevocable offers.
And what are her future plans? Capellazo wants to take a two-month break first and will only focus on new ideas from September. In the future, two employees will perform her duties at Sotheby’s: Brooke Lampley and attorney Marie-Claudia Jimenez. Gregoire Biot has been promoted to chairman of the contemporary art department.