Chicago’s Hindman auction house will merge with the Philadelphia-based firm Freeman’s, the oldest business of its kind in the US. Through the merger, the two are poised to become the largest mid-tier auction house with a focus on American art.
Across the two auction houses, there are six salesrooms and 18 offices, all based in the US. Combined, that surpasses the domestic footprint of larger global auction houses, like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips.
Operating under the banner Freeman’s | Hindman, the houses will consolidate their digital platforms into a unified website and will open a New York salesroom later this month. The newly formed company will continue to operate existing sale spaces in Chicago, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Denver, and Palm Beach.
The merger follows Hindman’s report that it generated $99.7 million in sales in 2023. The house said it had grown its appraisal business, which brings in funds from client fees for insurance-related valuations of artworks, by 25 percent over the past year. Freeman’s, which has been operating since 1805, brought in an estimated $32 million in sales in 2023.
The two companies facilitated a combined 176 sales in 2023, with the offerings spanning 20th century art to decorative art. The top lots included works by American artists such as N. C. Wyeth and Wayne Thiebaud that were priced between $800,000 and $2 million.
In 2016, Freeman’s changed hands for the first time when the founding family that established it in the early 19th century transferred its controlling interest to its senior management team.
In a statement, Jay F. Krehbiel, who is slated to serve as the executive chair of Freeman’s | Hindman, said the merger is a “strategic” response to the intensifying competition within the auction circuit. Fraser Niven, the auction houses’ president, said the merger could provide greater access to international clientele.
The article “Two US Auction Houses to Merge, Forming a Major Player in the Market for American Art” by Angelica Villa was published on 01/09/2024 by www.artnews.com