The world's oldest firm of fine art auctioneers (Sotheby's was established earlier, but originally sold only books). It was founded by James Christie (1730–1803), who gave up a commission in the Navy to become an auctioneer and held his first sale under his own name on 5 December 1766 in rooms in Pall Mall, London, in the same premises in which the Royal Academy's exhibitions were held until 1779. Initially he sold diverse property, but his first specialized picture sale was on 21 March 1767. He was a friend of Gainsborough and Reynolds, and Christie's developed a tradition of holding the studio sales of prominent artists. Its main salerooms are in London and New York, and there are branches and offices in many other cities throughout the world.
Subjects: Art — Bibliography.