Cyberattack Hits Christie’s Website Ahead of Spring Auctions

Christie's Photo © Artlyst

Update London:  As of Monday, 13th May, the website is operational. Just days before its marquee spring auctions, Christie’s, the leading auction giant, has fallen victim to an apparent cyberattack, causing its website to crash. This disruption comes as the company prepares to auction off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art, with clients eagerly anticipating in-person and online bidding.

Observers in the art industry first noticed the issue on Thursday evening. By Friday morning, Christie’s website was redirecting visitors to a placeholder page, listing telephone numbers for its offices in major art capitals such as London, New York, Paris, and Hong Kong, along with a generic email address.

“We apologise that our website is currently offline,” reads a message on the placeholder page. “We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and regret any inconvenience. To register your interest or to bid for an upcoming sale, please use the contact details provided.”

When approached for comment by Artlyst, a spokesperson for Christie’s did not delve into the specifics of the cyberattack or provide a timeline for restoring the website’s functionality. However, they assured us that steps were being taken to address the issue promptly.

“Christie’s confirms that a technology security issue has impacted some of our systems, including our website,” the spokesperson stated. “We are taking all necessary steps to manage this matter, with the engagement of a team of additional technology experts. We regret any inconvenience to our clients, and our priority is to minimise further disruption. We will provide further updates to our clients as appropriate.”

Next week, Christie’s is offering a major Claude Monet riverscape, Moulin de Limetz (1888), which is partially owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and expected to bring as much as $25m, and one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s coveted 1982 stretcher-bar paintings, The Italian Version of Popeye has no Pork in his Diet, estimated to sell for around $30m. The auction house also handles the sale of the coveted holdings from the influential Miami-based collectors Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz following Rosa’s death in February.

Despite the setback caused by the website outage, collectors, advisers, and dealers remain highly anticipatory of next week’s marquee spring sales in New York. Among the highly anticipated offerings is a major Claude Monet riverscape, “Moulin de Limetz” (1888), partially owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

As of Saturday morning and the writing of this article, the website was still down. The following message was posted:

Important Information

We apologise that our website is currently offline. We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and regret any inconvenience. Please use the contact details provided to register your interest or bid on an upcoming sale.

Christie’s, one of the world’s most prestigious auction houses, boasts a rich and storied history dating back over 250 years. The company was founded by James Christie in 1766 when he held his first auction in London. Originally situated in Pall Mall, the heart of London’s aristocratic district, Christie’s quickly became a leading auctioneer of fine art, antiques, and other valuable collectables.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Christie’s expanded its reach beyond London, establishing itself as an international powerhouse in the art market. The auction house played a pivotal role in shaping the tastes and trends of the art world, attracting a global clientele of collectors, dealers, and connoisseurs.

In the early 20th century, Christie’s pioneered the sale of significant private collections, including the celebrated Rothschild Collection in 1935. This landmark auction solidified Christie’s reputation as a premier destination for prestigious collections and rare artworks.

Over the years, Christie’s has continued to innovate and adapt to changing market dynamics, embracing new technologies and expanding its services to meet the evolving needs of its clients. In 1973, Christie’s became the first international auction house to open a branch in the United States, marking a significant milestone in its global expansion.

Today, Christie’s operates in major cultural capitals worldwide, including New York, Hong Kong, Paris, and Dubai, hosting diverse auctions spanning fine art, jewellery, wine, and collectables. The auction house remains committed to upholding its legacy of excellence, integrity, and expertise, attracting collectors from every corner of the globe to its prestigious salesrooms. With its illustrious history and unwavering dedication to the art of the auction, Christie’s continues to set the standard for the international art market.

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