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The Female Auctioneers Running The Top Auctions
Those manicured hands wave the gavel the best.
Art Stuff 25 Nov 2019

When someone says the word “auctioneer” whom do you think of? It’s probably a middle-aged man, right? And for the most part, that’s probably true. But there are a number of leading ladies now taking charge of all of the biggest sales. Here, we let you know about the women taking charge.
 
Lydia Fenet @lydiafenet


Lydia Fenet’s website calls her “the most powerful woman in the room”, and this is the kind of girl power confidence we can certainly get behind. As Managing Director and Global Director of Strategic Partnerships at Christie’s, she has trained all of Christie’s benefit auctioneers over the past seven years. She has also raised over half a billion dollars for over 400 non-profits worldwide as the leading benefit auctioneer in the USA. Lydia tours the USA to speak to people about the art of selling, and has also just released her debut book The Most Powerful Woman In The Room Is You. With features in The New York Times, Vogue, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, it seems more than probable that Lydia is always the most powerful woman in any room she enters – and probably more powerful than any man too.
 
Jacqueline Towers-Perkins @jtowersperkins


Bonhams’ Jacqueline Towers-Perkins is a Post War and Contemporary Art Specialist as well as an auctioneer. Running both Bonhams sales and charity events across the USA, she prepared for her career studying Art History in the UK, polishing off her credentials with a Master’s at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. With previous experience as a specialist at Artnet Auctions in New York and Paddle8 in London, it seems she really is a sales-room queen.
 
Georgina Hilton @georginahilton


Georgina Hilton was the first ever woman to win the UK’s Novice Auctioneer of the Year Award in October 2017 as an auctioneer working within the art world (previous female winners worked in property). Having joined Christie’s in 2013, she has risen through the ranks and still presides over the sales rooms.
 
Helena Newman


Helena Newman is somewhat of a hero of the auction world. As Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and Worldwide Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, she presides over two flagship sales in London, and two in New York every year. Having joined Sotheby’s in 1988, she is described as being instrumental in developing the international market for German and Austrian Art. She also has the accolade of being the auctioneer to take the highest value ever sale in London, totally £213.9 million in March 2017.
 
Catherine Southon @catherinesouthonauctions


Beginning her career at Sotheby’s in London 20 years ago, after working eight years for the company, Catherine Southern went on to establish her own auctioneers. Most famous as an expert on BBC programmes Bargain Hunt, Flog It and Antiques Road Trip, she has also contributed to books including Dictionary of Art and Antiques.
 
Text Lizzy Vartanian

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