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Arts and entertainment

Auctioneers embrace VR, as Christie’s brings Paris salesroom worldwide

November 8, 2017

Christie's VR walkthrough in its salesroom. Image credit: Christie's 


As virtual reality becomes prevalent in branding, auction houses are adopting the strategy to better serve its global consumer base.

Auction house Christie's, for example, has recently created a virtual walkthrough for its latest photography exhibit that expands the reach of its salesroom, by allowing those at home the same experience without stepping foot on-site. A highly interactive virtual walkthrough allows users to view and appreciate its inventory of work for sale.

Virtual walkthrough
Christie’s salesroom in Paris will be showcasing iconic prints from the 19th century to this century on Nov. 9-10.

The first day of the showcase comes from Swiss filmmaker Thomas Koerfer’s collection of work that all focus on the human body. There are more than 70 pieces in the collection of all which emphasize people.

On Nov. 10, visitors will be able to view a collection of 20th century prints from photographers such as Josef Sudek, Brassaï, Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as 19th century works from France by Edouard-Denis Baldus, Charles Nègre, Charles Marville and Gustave Le Gray.

Christie’s is offering at-home art enthusiasts to take a look at the collection and “skip the lines.”

The experience allows users to walkthrough its saleroom by moving their mobile device or clicking through on desktop. While traveling through the hallways, users can select red dots located on pieces of artwork that will give them a better look.

A popup appears with a larger version of the piece as well as more information about it, including its origins and estimation price.

Those with a membership on its digital platforms can log in to place a bid or add to their interests.

Auction houses and VR
VR is a common trope used within auction houses to help sell its pieces and help expand visibility.

Christie’s also recently took on a significant responsibility with its Aubrey Hepburn exhibition, using a variety of social tools and virtual reality to make a lasting impact.

Audrey Hepburn: The Personal Collection exhibition at Christie’s in London is a collection of important artifacts owned and relating to the iconic late actress. Living up to the importance of Ms. Hepburn’s legacy, the exhibition has adopted a variety of online marketing strategies to engage with consumers, most importantly being a 360-degree tour of the exhibit (see more).

Auctioneer Sotheby’s also brought surrealist masterpieces to life by using virtual reality, further demonstrating technology’s place in the art world.

Sotheby’s created a 360-degree virtual reality film, viewable on YouTube and heightened through Google Cardboard, that brought viewers within the surrealist paintings included during its March 1 auction in London. Sotheby’s Surrealist Art Evening Sale was held at 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. EST, wrapping up its Masters of Surrealism exhibit at the auction house’s New Bond Street galleries (see more).