17 Jul, 2009

Christie’s turns iPhone into work of art

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

The auction house is bringing art into the digital age with a virtual catalogue application for the Apple iPhone

In an attempt to bring art and antiques into the digital age, Christie’s is rolling out a new application to bring impressionists to the iPhone and heirlooms to the experts.

The auction house will begin reaching out to a global community of Apple mobile device users with a draw never envisioned by Picasso, let alone Monet or Renoir. Virtual versions of Christie’s catalogues, with high quality images, and real-time sales results, lead the new app’s features. It also allows users to submit objects for appraisal by Christie’s specialists using the iPhone’s camera.

Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch devices will be able to zoom in on and rotate any object on offer from 450 auctions. Eventually the auction house hopes to add a live-bidding component.

The new application seeks to tap into the increasing reliance of the auction world’s clientele on mobile devices, said Michael O’Neal, Christie’s director of digital media. “We hope to attract new clients but the goal is also to provide a convenient tool for current clients, should they be open to the technology.”

With sales figures from big-ticket art in steep decline, the auction houses are struggling to cut staff and slash expenses while developing new approaches. A year ago Christie’s began text-messaging clients about forthcoming sales and giving price updates during bidding.

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