As the Phones Stop Ringing, Christie's Cuts Back

The romance between Wall Street high rollers and contemporary artists was always going to be a Faustian pact, even though the Chelsea denizens who rode the wave of stratospheric prices haven't wanted to contemplate that fact. But they no longer have a choice as it becomes increasingly obvious that the collapse of the financial markets has pulled the art market right down with it.

Christie's announced a series of cost-cutting measures on Monday evening following similar measures at Sotheby's, and says it plans to lay off an unspecified number of employees as part of the move. To make matters worse for Christie's staff, though, it's also rumored that the Christie's billionaire owner, François Pinault, might be interested in selling the company entirely, apparently encouraged by his son François-Henri. Of course, that's hardly a surprise, given that these days the Gucci CEO appears more interested in inpregnating high-profile women than supporting the arts.

Christie's Cuts Costs as Art Market Slows [NYT]