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Cryptic Announcement: Veteran Contemporary Art Head and Auctioneer Tobias Meyer Leaving Sotheby’s UPDATED

Sotheby's auctioneer Tobias Meyer at tonight’s Contemporary sale Screenshot from webcast

Sotheby’s Tobias Meyer at the podium for this month’s Contemporary evening sale
Screenshot from webcast

UPDATE: As soon as I posted this, Sotheby’s responded to a few of my queries: I have now learned from a Sotheby’s press spokesperson that Meyer has already left Sotheby’s and that the auction firm “has no plans to fill [Meyer’s former] role of Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art.” Responsibilities for the Contemporary evening sales “will be taken by Oliver Barker, Deputy Chairman, Europe, Senior International Specialist Contemporary Art.  Decisions about other sales will be made in due course.”

UPDATE 2: More on this, here.

This bombshell from Sotheby’s landed in my inbox this afternoon:

Sotheby’s announced today that the Company and Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of the Contemporary Art Department, have agreed to end his association with Sotheby’s.

“Tobias Meyer is a respected figure and has been at the center of signature moments [my link, not theirs] in Sotheby’s history for more than 20 years and we are grateful for all of his contributions,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Ruprecht. “With Tobias’ contract soon expiring, we all agreed it was time to part ways. We wish Tobias nothing but good fortune.”

“I will always cherish my time at Sotheby’s and look forward to the next chapter in my career,” Meyer said.  “I have had over 20 years of the most marvelous experiences at Sotheby’s, where I have made many friends and had wonderful times.  I wish Sotheby’s the best of luck in the future.”

This cryptic announcement raises many obvious, unanswered questions and is sure to inspire fervid artworld speculation about why and how this occurred. More later.

an ArtsJournal blog