The bizarre world of art auctions at sea
Art Business

The bizarre world of art auctions at sea

Over the past two decades almost every major cruise company has offered auctions on board its ships. From onboard water parks, to rock climbing and bungee trampolines, today’s cruise ships offer no shortage of thrills and spills for paying passengers. But among the eclectic mix of activities available is one that appeals perhaps more to the head that the heart: the chance to buy a rare Picasso, or possibly an unmistakable Dali. With a captive audience seeking a memorable experience – and willing to spend big to get it – cruise ships have proved popular places to hold art auctions that were once the preserve of land-based galleries. Over the past two decades almost every major cruise company has offered auctions on board its ships. Park West Gallery, the largest supplier of artwork for cruise lines, says it currently operates auctions on over 90 ships around the world and conducts thousands of auctions per year on board. Founded in 1969, the Michigan-based company has seen annual sales as high as $400m. “Our cruise ship programs continue to grow every single year,” says John Litchenberg, Park West Gallery’s vice president of marketing. Enduring appeal The enduring appeal of art auctions […]

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