The Peter Wilson era, or the international dimension

  1. Home
  2. >
  3. Patrimoine Sotheby’s
  4. >
  5. The Peter Wilson era, or the international dimension
The Peter Wilson era, or the international dimension

Peter Wilson was to propel Sotheby’s® onto the international scene, ensuring that the company played an active role in a meteoric resurge in the passion for Impressionist and Modern Art.
Under his direction, the most remarkable sale was that of the renowned Goldschmidt collection which in 1958 generated sales figures of £781 000 in just 21 minutes with seven works sold.
At the time the highest total ever achieved for a fine art sale, the sale included among others Cézanne’s Le garçon au gilet rouge which acquired by Paul Mellon for £220 000, five times the previous record at a public auction sale.
This, the most extraordinary sale of fine art of all time, is emblematic of the Peter Wilson era.
A visionary, Peter Wilson had perceived well before his competitors that the market for fine art was going international.
In 1955 he opened offices in New York, acquiring some years later the United States’ largest fine art auction house Parke-Bernet. With this acquisition Sotheby’s® was to become the major actor in the development of a North-American market for the artwork of Impressionism and Modernism.

As Sotheby’s® continued to seize new opportunities, offices opened across the globe.