German-born auctioneer Tobias Meyer is resigning from his position as head of Sotheby's contemporary art department worldwide after 20 years with the company. No replacement will be named, according to a Sotheby's press representative.
Alex Rotter is head of contemporary art in the Americas; Cheyenne Westphal serves in that role in Europe. Henceforth, Oliver Barker will conduct evening contemporary art sales, according to the press representative, who said that no decision had been made about whether to fill Meyer's role as principal auctioneer.
"With Tobias's contract expiring," Sotheby's CEO Bill Ruprecht said in a press announcement, "we all agreed it was time to part ways. We wish Tobias nothing but good fortune."
Meyer joined Sotheby's in 1992 as head of the contemporary art department in London. In 1997 he became head of contemporary art worldwide, based in New York. He has wielded the hammer at contemporary art and Impressionist and modern art sales in New York, as well as contemporary art sales in London.
"He has been instrumental in the explosive growth in the Warhol market over the last 20 years," said New York art consultant Wendy Cromwell, speaking to A.i.A. by phone today. "Anyone with a significant Warhol would have been crazy not to consider consigning it to Tobias."
The only auction expert to be profiled by the New Yorker magazine, Meyer has presided over news-making auctions including the sale of Edvard Munch's The Scream for $119.9 million in May 2012, which was at the time the most spent on a work of art at auction. Earlier this month, he hammered down an auction record for Andy Warhol, $105.4 million for his Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), a 1963 canvas.
"I will always cherish my time at Sotheby's and look forward to the next chapter in my career," Meyer said in a press release.