Christie's US$846m New York marquee auctions to proceed as scheduled despite cyberattack

Just days before Christie's sold around US$846 million worth of art during New York May Marquee sales, the auction house fell victim to a cyberattack that took down some of the company's systems, including its website.

The issue was first noticed on Thursday evening (9 May), and by Saturday afternoon (11 May), visitors were being redirected to a makeshift website giving access to online catalogues of upcoming sales and a link to its YouTube channel, where videos of highlight lots and upcoming livestream auctions would be available. 

Despite failing to regain control of its website, Christie's confirmed that its spring auctions – the year's most important alongside fall sales – will go ahead online, in person, and by phone as scheduled. The only auction affected is the Rare Watches sale in Geneva, which has been postponed from today to 14 May. 

Christie's New York marquee sales will go ahead as scheduled (Photo: Christie's live auction in New York from the previous year) 

The auction house did not elaborate on the nature of the cyberattack but has said in a statement: 

"Christie's confirms that a technology security issue has impacted some of our systems, including our website. We are taking all necessary steps to manage this matter, with the engagement of a team of additional technology experts. We regret any inconvenience to our clients and our priority is to minimize any further disruption. We will provide further updates to our clients as appropriate. 

We are continuing to manage the technology security incident according to our well-established protocols and practices. Multiple teams across the company are working around the clock. There are no changes in the schedule of these sales, with the exception of the Rare Watches sale, which has been postponed by 24 hours from 13th May to Tuesday 14th May.  All 8 upcoming sales in New York and Geneva will be going ahead with online bidding available. Information, catalogues and contents on these sales can be found on our website and on Christie's YouTube channel."

Christie's official website has been replaced by a temporary site

The incident comes at a crucial period for the art world: traditionally May – and November – is when major auction houses stage some of their biggest modern and contemporary art sales of the year in New York. Andy Warhol's US$195 million Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), for instance, was sold in May 2022 at Christie's. 

For this season's offerings, the first is the Rosa de la Cruz Collection, which will take place on 14 May and is expected to achieve more than US$30 million. The Cuban-American businesswoman, who passed away this past February, was a major Miami contemporary art patron and collector. All works to be sold were exhibited through almost two decades in The de la Cruz Collection space in Miami and her Key Biscayne home. 

Next up will be the regular 21st Century Evening Sale, also on 14 May. That sale is anchored by Jean-Michel Bsquiat's 1982 stretcher-bar painting, The Italian Version of Popeye has No Pork in his Diet, with an estimate in excess of US$30 million. Also highlighting the sale will be Event (2004-2007), a dynamic diptych from Brice Marden's "summation" series estimated also at US$30 million, which could set an auction record for the late American contemporary artist who passed away last year. 

Two days later, the 20th Century Evening Sale will present Vincent van Gogh’s Coin de Jardin avec papillons (1887), an abundant and colourful garden scene expected to fetch between US$25 and 35 million, and one of David Hockney's California Dreaming paintings, A Lawn Being Sprinkled (1967), from the collection of famed TV producer Norman Lear. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat | The Italian Version of Popeye has no Pork in his Diet (1982) | 152.4 x 152.4 cm | Expected to fetch in excess of US$30 million

Brice Marden | Event (2004-1007) | 183 x 244 cm | Estimate: US$30,000,000 - 50,000,000

Vincent van Gogh | Coin de Jardin avec papillons (1887) | 50.4 x 61.4 cm | Estimate: US$28,000,000 - 35,000,000

David Hockney | A Lawn Being Sprinkled (1967) | 152.4 x 152.4 cm | Estimate: US$25,000,000 - 35,000,000