Another week, another purchase. Hard on the heels of last week’s announcement that it had bought the New England firm Skinner, the private equity-owned auction house Bonhams has notched up another buy.
This time it has acquired Denmark’s leading auction firm, Bruun Rasmussen, and as with its two other recent acquisitions, Bukowskis and Skinner, the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The new firm will retain its name, unlike Skinner, which has been re-baptised Bonhams Skinner.
Bruun Rasmussen is a family firm, founded in 1949 by Arne Bruun Rasmussen; his son Jesper is chairman emeritus and two grandchildren work there. They and chief executive Jakob Dupont will remain in the company, which has a staff headcount of 143. The firm has 12 departments, notably for Scandinavian art, and holds three types of auction: live, online and direct-to-consumer. This last is at lower price points than the first two: sellers photograph their works, they are estimated by Rasmussen specialists and then sold direct to buyers through the site, without salesroom previews.
Among Rasmussen’s recent successes were Vilhelm Hammershøi’s 1900 Interior, Strandgade 30, which sold in 2019 for DKK 31.5m (without fees, £3.5m) and a Ming dragon-in-waves dish which sold last year for DKK 35.5m (£3.9m).
The move is yet another sign of consolidation in the mid-level auction industry, and continues the strategy of Bonhams’ private equity owners, Epiris. They are expanding Bonhams globally, this time bolstering up its European presence, as well as strengthening its digital presence in the art market.