blog (4) Anna-Karin Laurell, CEO Bukowskis

What is happening at Bukowskis this autumn?

We have the pleasure of presenting many fine and important international works. One is a phenomenal watercolor by Anders Zorn, an exciting work by Otto G. Carlsund and Andy Warhols complete set of three sceenprints in colour in exceptional colours.

Anders Zorn, ”Kapprodd”, (1886), aquarelle, estimated price $945 000 – $1.2 million at Bukowskis International sale this autumn Anders Zorn, ”Kapprodd”, (1886), aquarelle, estimated price $945 000 – $1.2 million at Bukowskis International sale this autumn

Otto G Carlsund, ”Andra maskinen (Gröna maskinen)” (1926), oil on panel, estimated price $945 000 – $1.2 million in Bukowskis’ Modern Sale this autumn. Otto G Carlsund, ”Andra maskinen (Gröna maskinen)” (1926), oil on panel, estimated price $945 000 – $1.2 million in Bukowskis’ Modern Sale this autumn.

blog (4) Andy Warhol, "Ingrid Bergman" on sale at Bukowskis
The complete suite with three silkscreens in colours, 1983, each signed in pencil and numbered 85/250, printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York, published by Galerie Börjeson, Malmö. L./S. 96,5 x 96,5 cm.

 

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You have been at Bukowskis for exactly one year, how have your views of the company changed?

From the begining, I thought it was a certain type of customer who came to Bukowskis. Instead, I have found out that there are all kinds of people and it is not nearly as homogeneous as I first thought. I was not prepared that the interest in art, design and antiques would be so big. There are so many people, even young people who come here just to watch and visit the exhibitions, even though they might not be buyers.

Is there anything more than that?

I've been here for a year, a fall and a spring season, which is how you often talk about the auction year, I would like to emphasize that the business is running twenty-four seven. Absolutely all days a week. Bukowskis has its flagship store in central Stockholm on Arsenalgatan, but the big revenues come from what we sell online. There has been an explosive growth that we are very proud of. In the papers we read that distance trade has increased by 15% while we at Bukowskis have grown by 32%. There is a huge increase, which is a result of customers who want to buy online. In other words, it isn't us who wants to sell over the Internet, but the customers who have changed their buying behaviour and therefore our online effort is a response to the increased customer pressure.

How do you look on Fine Art vs. Online auctions?

Fine Art auctions are in a gradual shift, last year the Fine Art live auctions was equalled with the online auctions in terms of revenue. This year, online auctions have taken over, while the top lots, ie Swedish and international prestige items continuing to achieve high prices on live auctions in Stockholm. Although the procedure will have some changes this autumn. To know what it look like in numbers, we need to close the financial year of 2015. The shift in Fine Art vs. Online has already taken place. We have no ambition to let the live auctions grow larger. They are large enough as they are, both in terms of directory numbers and in exhibition shows.

Will the catalogue remain?

No, we will remove the printed catalogue this autumn. Instead, we will present an expanded online catalogue that is part of our digital initiative as we launch our new website on October 1. Starting this autumn, there will no longer be any printed catalogs but we will continue with the printed products in form of various special editions. Instead of the printed catalogues which we are used to, the digital catalogue contains more pictures than before and even movable media. The disposition will also be different. The aim is to satisfy our customers with a catalogue that is more easliy readable, accessible and educational. Many customers are of course not in place and never see objects in the real world, which is why an in-depth directory service, which in addition to more pictures and movies will also contain condition reports, an important step. This is the first step in a larger digital development chain.

Do you see any danger in the speed it requires to have continuous online auctions, do you have time to perform proper cataloging?

Our base consists of the company's overall expertise. There is a long tradition of quality and knowledge and it is no small company anymore. We have 170 employees in Stockholm, Malmö, Gothenburg and Helsinki. We have the right valuation skills and of course it is a perishable commodity. There will be on going key experts doing spot checks in the catalogue, luckily they love to follow the market as it occurs naturally. It is incredibly exciting to see so many specialists with a passion for the objects. The passionate feeling is also a prerequisite to being a really good specialist.

What experience from previous jobs can use in your new role as CEO of Bukowskis?

I have worked with leadership in my entire career and I bring experience from working in the bank world as well as working in an insurance company and at the mobile operator 3. What is in common in all my previous works is that they have all put focus on customer-oriented activities in the service sector. It is this knowledge of customer service that I have easily been able to lift over and apply on Bukowskis'.

Why did you get the job you think?

You will have to ask that question to those who recruited me.

What challenges will Bukowskis come across in the future?

To work with clarity and simplicity. There is a fallacy where you take for granted that the customers know how things works as it comes to commissions and auction terms. We must work with dedicated customer service and increase the level across the enterprise in that area. It is a challenge. We see a trend towards consumers regarding online and stores in the same way. Therefore, the right of withdrawal, which we introduced earlier this year and as from September 1 will fully be implemented, a breakthrough for the auction industry, which I welcome. It should of course be as easy to buy at auction as in a shop.

What is Bukowskis' strength?

The collective expertise available in the company form the core. Bukowskis is a company with a good reputation with many knowledgeable and reliable professionals who constitute the linchpin which now revolves around. Our whole mission in arts and crafts is something completely unbeatable.

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What is Bukowskis weakness?

What we have already mentioned. We must improve accessibility and working towards clarity and transparency and curb the feeling that it seems difficult, too fine and solemn., whilst we cherish the tradition. Last summer when I was on the West Coast and went for a walk with one of my friends, she told me that they disposed of a centenary building in the southern parts of Sweden called Skåne. Personal property she sold via Lauritz. Why did you not call me, I wondered surprised but my friend replied that there were no nice things. This is precisely the kind of thinking that we need to get away from. The worst answer a customer can get is that we can not help to sell something and as a customer you should not need to worry to hear that.

Is there something in the art world that has surprised you?

There is so much passion. When an individual work of art is to be hung, it can create drama. It is a kind of commitment that I have not seen before. In my previous job, I have worked to enthuse the staff, I do not longer need to think about that. Rather, I get the feeling that enthusiasm may have dampened and that one must realize that some things are not for life and death. The advantage is that it is much more easy to work with positive staff and it is fun every day.

Interview by Sofia Silfverstolpe

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