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Fine Art Auction Houses -- Top 11 Established Auction Houses for the Fine Arts

Top 11 Fine Art Auction Houses


Fine art auctions help to set the market prices for emerging and established artists. Auction houses are not only for buyers and sellers, but for arts professionals, such as auction house employees, who want to gain valuable hands-on knowledge in working in the field of art and business.

1. Bonhams

BonhamsPhoto © Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Founded in 1793, Bonhams is a privately owned auction house, recognized in the fine art, antiques and collectors market, based in London and with offices and representatives in 25 countries. Sales are held in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong and Dubai.

2. Bonhams and Butterfields

In 2002, Bonhams purchased the west coast-based Butterfields, a leading auction house founded in 1865 and changed its name to Bonhams and Butterfields, which specializes in fine art, antiques and decorative objects.

3. Christie's

Photo (c) Sion Touhig / Getty Images

Christie's, which was founded in 1766, had sales of fine art, antiques and decorative arts totaling $3.3 billion in 2009.

Christie's conducts 450 sales annually and has offices in 32 countries and salesrooms in London, Paris, Milan, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai.

4. Dorotheum

In 1707, Emperor Joseph I established Dorotheum in Vienna in 1707 and today, with branch offices in Austria and Prague, it conducts 600 auctions annually.

5. Heritage Auctions

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Established in 1976, Heritage Auctions is the largest collectibles auctioneer, in addition to auctioning fine and decorative art.

6. Phillips de Pury & Company

Founded in 1796 in London, Phillips de Pury and Company is currently based in the Chelsea art district of New York City where they focus on contemporary art, photography, editions, design and jewelry.

7. Sotheby's

Photo © Michael Nagle / Getty Images

Founded in 1744, Sotheby's, with its main offices in London and New York, is one of the most renowned auction houses selling fine art and antiques.

8. Stockholms Auktionsverk

Founded in 1674, Stockholms Auktionsverk is the oldest auction house in the world. Their Fine Art and Antiques auctions are held twice a year featuring painting and sculptures by mainly Swedish artists. They also work with Cabinet Turquin in Paris, leading experts in the field of European Old Masters.

9. Tajan

Paris-based Tajan is France's largest auction house. With 60 auctions per year, and an annual sale in Monaco, Tajan also provides valuation days in over 30 cities in Europe.

10. Villa Grisebach Auktionen

Founded in 1986, Germany's Villa Grisebach, with offices in Berlin and throughout Germany, Switzerland and North America, focuses on modern art and photography and conducts a spring and a fall auction annually.

11. Waddington's

Established in Toronto since 1850, Waddington's runs over 30 auctions per year. Equipped with examination rooms, works of fine art and jewelry are analyzed and tested for authenticity, while the works are kept secure on their premises.

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