After 13 years with the auction house, Amy Cappellazzo will leave Christie's in February to go into business as a private dealer and advisor.

"Amy brought a very personable face to the organization," New York art advisor Wendy Cromwell told A.i.A. by phone. "She really gets contemporary art."

Cappellazzo served as co-head of postwar and contemporary art from 2001 to 2011, was named deputy chairman of the Americas in 2008, and was appointed international chairman of postwar and contemporary development in 2011.

Cappellazzo's departure follows last month's announcement that Sotheby's Tobias Meyer, head of that auction house's contemporary art department worldwide, is leaving his post after 20 years with the company. He told the New York Times that he would work as a private dealer.

"It makes for a healthy, competitive atmosphere when top rainmakers leave the auction houses for private dealing," Cromwell said. "It can help to level the playing field, taking away some market share from auction houses, which have been very dominant."

"I am privileged to have played a key role in building the world's largest market force in the field of postwar and contemporary art," Cappellazzo said in a press release. "I am grateful to have worked with some of the greatest collectors, a number of superb living artists, as well as countless signature works of art of our time."