Christie's hacked as spring art auctions set to begin

Auction house set to host eight sales that could fetch up to $840 million

Christie’s website was hacked in the days leading up to its highly anticipated spring art sales, which were estimated to fetch as much as $840 million.

Beginning Thursday night into Friday, visitors to the Christie’s website were greeted by the following message from the auction house: “We apologise that our full website is currently offline. We are looking to resolve this as soon as possible and regret any inconvenience.”

The website remained down Monday morning, with eight auctions scheduled to launch this week, including sales of important paintings by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and more.

Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti’s provided his first comment since the incident in a statement Sunday evening, confirming seven of the eight planned live auctions in New York and Geneva would proceed as planned and postponing the "Rare Watches sale" to Tuesday.

“I want to assure you that we are managing this incident according to our well-established protocols and practices, with the support of additional experts,” Cerutti said in a statement. “This included among other things the proactive protection of our main website by taking it offline.”

The spring auction season is extremely important to the big three auction houses (Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips) and was set to feature more than 1,700 works of modern and contemporary art, selling for estimates ranging from $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion this week, according to the New York Times.

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct.