Sotheby’s Is Opening a Pop-Up Sales Gallery in Monaco as the French Riviera Art Scene Continues to Heat Up This Summer

Hauser and Wirth and Johann König have also recently opened spaces there.

Monte-Carlo in Monaco. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images.

First it was the Hamptons, then Palm Beach and Aspen. Now, the latest fast-growing art hot spot is Monaco, where several high-profile galleries, dealers, and auction houses are setting up shop to take advantage of the concentrated population of wealthy buyers looking for art and luxury goods this summer.

Sotheby’s just announced that it will open a new private sales gallery in Monaco on July 1 through October. The office will be situated on Avenue de la Costa in the heart of the Côte d’Azur. It will feature a constantly rotating selection of Modern and contemporary works of art across two floors.

The first show will feature a selection of works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Francis Picabia, Georges Braque, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Emil Nolde, and Cy Twombly, blended with Italian pieces by Lucio Fontana, Alighiero Boetti and Alberto Burri. All of the art will be presented alongside design and luxury items, including watches, handbags, sneakers, and one-of-a-kind creations by British jeweler Glenn Spiro. 

Sotheby’s has maintained a presence in Monaco for more than half a century, with its Monte Carlo office catering to collectors in the principality and the Alpes-Maritimes. It opened its first office in Monaco in 1967 and was the first international auction house to hold a sale in the principality, an auction of the collection of Redé Rothschild in 1975.

The auction house described the opening of the new space as an expansion of the company’s private sales strategy, designed to enable its clients to buy and sell beyond the traditional auction calendar and provide them with year-round access to a range of objects.

Sotheby’s cited exponential growth in private sales in 2020, reporting a total of $1.6 billion, a 60 percent jump on the $1 billion annual sales in each of 2018 and 2019.

A visualization of Louise Bourgeois Spider (1996) in Monaco. Photo: François Fernandez and Christopher Burk.

A visualization of Louise Bourgeois Spider (1996) in Monaco. Photo: François Fernandez and Christopher Burk.


“Pop-up galleries have become an important and really popular component of our approach,” said Martin Klosterfelde, senior director of international private sales. “Our Palm Beach and East Hampton galleries continue to welcome hundreds of visitors each and every week, opening a fresh window into the quality and breadth of masterworks available via a side of business that has historically been kept away from the public eye.”

Monaco is “increasingly becoming a mecca for the world’s leading collectors and gallerists, with a culture steeped in the wonderful history of the many great artists of the 20th century who made the Côte d’Azur their home,” said Michael Gumener, senior director of international private sales at Sotheby’s.

In the next few weeks, the region will become the site of a Giacometti retrospective opening at the Forum Grimaldi, and the Art Monte-Carlo art fair, which opens on July 15. Sotheby’s will hold an auction of works from the Karl Lagerfeld collection in Monaco later this year.

Mega-gallery Hauser and Wirth also opened a new space on the Côte d’Azur last week, inaugurating the new gallery with a solo show of work by Louise Bourgeois, titled “Maladie de l’Amour,” which runs through September 25. Meanwhile, German dealer Johann König opened a showroom on Monaco’s Villa Nuvola last week. And Christie’s is organizing a selling exhibition in Monte-Carlo from July 3 trhough 18 at Cipriani, featuring contemporary art and jewelry. 

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