Fears surrounding the health and safety of antique lovers and auction house staff have forced auction houses to postpone exhibitions as the novel coronavirus continues to spread.
Auction houses such as Bonham’s and Sotheby’s have postponed Asian art auctions that were scheduled to take place in New York in March amid fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus, now named Covid-19, has killed over 2,700 people, with 80,370 cases reported in total, has been most prevalent in China, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan in January of this year.
Although many of the Asia Week New York exhibitions will go ahead as planned, Sotheby’s and Bonhams have both moved their respective exhibitions to the week commencing June 22nd 2020. However, Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary South Asian art auction will go ahead, as will the sales that the auction house has scheduled to hold in Hong Kong this April. Christie’s will also be holding their South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art sale in New York on March 18th, despite postponing their March Asian Art auctions until June.
These decisions were made by the auction houses after coronavirus caused anxiety about the safety of buyers and dealers that will be travelling to New York to take part in the auctions. Many of the dealers will still present their lots, and the exhibitions will be free to enter and open to the public.
This comes after it was reported that Art Basel Hong Kong – an art fair that attracts legions of art fans from around the world – has been cancelled, also due to fears surrounding the spread of coronavirus. Those who have already purchased tickets will be refunded, and Art Basel Hong Kong will resume in March 2021.