Dara Mitchell Leaves Sotheby’s After 26 Years


Dara Mitchell, Sotheby’s longtime American painting rainmaker, will retire at the end of the year. She worked for the house for 26 years, first as a senior cataloguer for the American paintings department, and as its director since 1993.

Mitchell’s tenure is studded with record sales. Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits (1849) was sold in a sealed auction bid for more than $35 million in 2005, making it the most expensive American painting sold at auction at the time. Purchased from the New York Public Library by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, it is now part of the permanent collection at Walton’s newly opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. Mitchell also oversaw the $65.1 million sale of the Rita and Daniel Fraad Collection in 2004, which remains the highest selling total for a single-owner sale of American paintings.

Sotheby’s has named Elizabeth Goldberg, currently a specialist in the Impressionist and Modern Art department, as Mitchell’s successor. Previously, Goldberg was a senior specialist in the American paintings department.