Brooke Lampley knows the auction world inside and out. As vice chairman of the fine art division at Sotheby’s, which she joined in January 2018 after a long career at Christie’s, she was instrumental in selling one of Claude Monet’s “Meules,” his series of haystack paintings, for $110.7 million, a world record for an Impressionist work, in May.
But Lampley also knows the auction market is changing, and Sotheby’s is changing with it. “We’re inviting people to participate in auctions in new ways, not just with online bidding”—which is now a given at all the major houses—“but also with online-only auctions and advance bidding in live sales,” she explains. (Sotheby’s is also a leader in private sales, which hit $1 billion in 2018.)
Last year, the auction house acquired Thread Genius, a startup that provides artificial intelligence based on visual data to predict what past buyers might purchase in the future. “We’re very good at the historical framework,” Lampley notes, “but we’re less aesthetically intuitive, and algorithms may pick up on what we don’t see. And the best part of that is that we have both.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Fall issue under the headline “Women Changing the Art World” Subscribe to the magazine.