Francis Outred, Christie’s Head of Postwar Art, Resigns

Joe Sperrin

Francis Outred has resigned from the auction house Christie’s, as head of post-war art in Europe following a ten-year career. Outred supposedly resigned following the death of his father-in-law so that he could dedicate more time to his family without having to balance an “intense” position in the auction house.

Gautier Deblonde,  Francis Outred,  2018, Photograph, Courtesy of

Gautier Deblonde, Francis Outred, 2018, Photograph, Courtesy of

Outred joined the art industry superpower in 2009, following a career at Sotheby’s, and is well-known for having gained employment at Christie’s during a boom of the art market. Although the resignation was submitted during the summer months, he agreed to stay on during the all important New York auctions, an extremely important auction for the auction house. Having left Sotheby’s with membership of the team that made the highest European sale of a post-war piece (£95 million) under his belt, he continued to carry Christie’s to further success. In 2013, Outred was responsible for the sale of Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) that fetched $142.4 million, a record for any post-war piece. It is thus clear that Outred’s influence in the art market has been one of the most significant of the past few years. 

Francis Bacon,  Three Studies of Lucian Freud,  1969, Oil on Canvas in 3 Parts, Courtesy of

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969, Oil on Canvas in 3 Parts, Courtesy of

Christie’s has recently caught media attention with last year’s sale of the Salvador Mundi (1490-1500), the most expensive work of art sold at auction. The auction house’s post-war department, a department responsible for £871 million for a 53% share of the market, shows quite how powerful the house is. The market as a whole, however, has recently been experiencing a “tightening” and so is seemingly a good time for Outred to step back from the role. In an interview with The Art Newspaper, Outred reflected upon some of the developments that he has experience over the past 20 years in industry. Mainly he contemplated the development of social media such as Instagram as a new platform for dealing art. These developments in addition to the more focused media attention, such as the recent shredded Banksy, however, have not prevented the drying of the market. Despite the £2 billion worth of sales in New York recently, the market is still indicting a shrinking. 

Christe’s Auction House , 2010, Photographer: unknown, Courtesy of

Christe’s Auction House, 2010, Photographer: unknown, Courtesy of

Despite, Christie’s loss of Outred, we can still expect this auction house to continue to be a key player in post-war art transactions. Outred’s contribution to the auction house overall contributed a new strategy and approach to art dealing as both a career and an industry. We can expect both Christie’s and Outred to continue to shock the market in the future.



Shaw, Anny. “Christie’s head of post-war art in Europe Francis Outred leaves after ten years”, The Art Newspaper, Accessed 22nd Nov. 2018, 

Greenburger, Alex. “Francis Outred Resigns as Christie’s Head of Postwar Art”, ArtNews, Accessed 22nd Nov. 2018, 

Kinsella, Eileen. “Auction Rainmaker Francis Outred, Who Brought a ‘Masterpiece Mentality’ to Christie’s, Resigns as Postwar and Contemporary Head”, ArtnNetNews, Acessed 22nd Nov. 2018,