5 Questions with Bianca Cutait, Senior Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Bonhams - PART 2

Apr 26, 2024

OK, we’re back! Now we want to chat with Bianca with a little more focus on art auctions themselves and her experience in this area…

It’s no news that art auctions can be an intimidating space to step into for the first time. How would you explain to potential young collectors the benefits of participating in an auction?

Auctions are the best way to start buying something you desire, since it gives you the opportunity to purchase it at a better price than you usually could. Also, and foremost, auctions are an extremely regulated marketplace, so you know that everything you buy or make an offer on has already been cleared by several experts. Most often, these pieces have good provenance. And of course, the thrill of bidding is an unbeatable feeling! Beware: Once you’ve experienced the rush of bidding, you will want to do it more.

How do you build and maintain relationships with clients, collectors, and industry professionals?

I believe the best way to maintain any relationship is to be cordial and respectful. With colleagues and peers, we have to be nice and get along, working together as a team. With clients I have a similar approach, but I also think my outgoing personality makes it a little easier for me. Respect is key though.

Surely, some clients have made the experience easier than others! Who is your ideal client?

My ideal seller is the one that trusts us on the process and knows that we will do our best to make their work sell as best as possible. Now, my ideal buyer is the one that bids with an open mind and a set budget. But all clients are ideal, to be honest, and as our clients, we will fight for them and make sure they are treated well.

Tell us about your most recent career highlights as a senior specialist.

I wear a lot of hats being the Senior Latin American Specialist, but one of the proudest moments of my career has been consigning an amazing work by Doris Salcedo, a Colombian artist who had a solo room at Fondation Bayeler in Germany. Another highlight so far has been showcasing important Latin American artists at our private sale exhibitions, like Julio Le Parc and Pablo Atchugarry.

What is the most memorable auction you have curated and what challenges did you encounter in the process?

We as a team curate these auctions together, always helping our heads of sale, and I think the biggest challenge we have is adjusting the price estimates with the expectation of the sellers. Having that said, I'd think that one of the most memorable auctions I have worked was the Barbara Walters single owner sale.

And here’s a BONUS question, just to fulfill my own curiosity: Can you share an example of a challenging auction situation you've faced and how you resolved it?

Once, I was faced with a client who yelled at me for not agreeing to sell one of his works. I kept my cool, did not engage and reported him afterwards. But there are so many challenging situations we encounter at auction. A piece that might not sell. A client that does not pick up the phone. Sometimes buyers might take too long to pay, while the seller is expecting payment.

I think the best way to solve any of these problems is to always remain calm and work together. We are all extremely well-trained to handle all sorts of challenges, and as a team we think better. I am very fortunate to have great colleagues and to have a great Head of Department, who knows all about dealing with adversities and challenges with a smile on his face.

Find out more about Bianca here and read PART 1 of this interview here. You can also learn more from Bianca who contributed to our ArtCollect program.


Bianca Cutait

Bianca Cutait is a Senior Specialist for Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art department in Miami. She sources artworks and assists clients in Miami and Latin America.

Before joining Bonhams in 2022, Bianca founded the international art advisory firm Arte Fundamental with a gallery in Miami, exhibiting American and Latin American artists as well as NFTs and digital art. She previously...

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