For those trying to find a good view to watch the booming industry that is fine art, Sotheby’s (the largest international art auction house in the world) is offering intimate encounters with some of the world’s most expensive art and offering unprecedented access to live webcasts of multi-million dollar auctions, normally reserved for the social elite. Beginning in 2000, Sotheby’s was the first consumer art organization to hold auctions on the internet, sparking the launch of other major auction houses into cyber space, driving company stock prices markedly upwards, and providing outsiders a rare chance to witness a billionaire spend $95 million dollars on a Picasso portrait In September 2006, Sotheby’s Private View introduced regular video segments to supplement its auction coverage and strengthen the company’s brand while getting up close and personal with the subculture of the art world, some of its most recognizable paintings, and a handful of its most renowned specialists.

Auctions are aired live on the site in accordance with the times listed on the Sotheby’s calendar. In addition, the page hosts high-quality 5 to 15 minute informational videos, which allow users to explore the work of specific artists and learn to spot the details that make a masterpiece. Spend an evening with Tobias Meyer, auctioneer and head of Sotheby’s worldwide contemporary art department to learn about Mark Rothko’s break-out year, in which the artist made “a gesture towards greatness.” Or allow, Jan Six, expert on Old Master paintings, and Martin Bijl, painting restorer, to walk you through the rebirth of a Rembrandt. An exploration of the last years of furniture innovator and architect, George Nakashima’s life provides a distinctive perspective on his ever-changing thought process, and the unique way he looked at a simple piece of wood. The art looks beautiful and the commentary, while straightforward even for the layperson, presents much more than a superficial look at its subject matter, providing viewers with informative insider expertise.

The episode featuring Vietnamese fishermen’s’ accidental underwater discovery of 76,000 pieces of Chinese export porcelain, circa 1725, from the Ca Mau shipwreck provides fascinating insights into art, history, and childhood fantasies of buried treasure.


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