Christie's Slashing Costs, Jobs As Art Market Slows

02/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

LONDON -- When works by the British artist Damien Hirst sold for a record $127 million on the same day in September that Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, it seemed the art market might escape the economic crisis.

But a string of disappointing auctions over the last four months showed that the art market had no such immunity, prompting Christie's International, the large auction house, to start a cost-reduction effort on Monday that will include job cuts.

"We have begun to implement a companywide reorganization, which includes significant staff reductions, not renewing many consultants' contracts and the continuation of other cost-reduction initiatives, that will ensure we remain competitive and profitable in 2009," Christie's said in a statement on Monday, without saying how many positions might be cut or giving any further details.

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