VAN HAM Kunstauktionen GmbH & Co. KG
In 1959, art historian Carola van Ham founded the auction house "Kunsthaus am Museum" in her hometown of Cologne. As Europe's first female auctioneer she quickly led the company with much optimism, business acumen, and sound art historical knowledge to the top group of German auction houses. After completing his studies as a banker from 1989-1991 at Sal Oppenheim in Cologne, one of Europe's preeminent private banks, her son, Markus Eisenbeis, became director of the business in 1996. He rejected the possibility of a career in banking in favor of the corporate freedom of the auction house. From 1991 to 1995, he studied art history, archeology, and economics in Bonn and London, and at the same time gained practical experience at Christie's in London as well as at the Etude Jean-Louis Picard (now PIASA) in Paris. Markus Eisenbeis converted the auction house, preserving the tradition, into a modern company, competitive at an international level. The first move to larger premises in 1999 was a necessary step. Today VAN HAM has about 60 employees. The young and dynamic teams are particularly distinguished by their commitment and continuity. The company's move to its own new building in the summer of 2014 sets new standards in the industry in every way. It confirmed not only VAN HAM's clear commitment towards Cologne, but also demonstrates its economic success. VAN HAM conducts an average of 18 auctions annually in the following categories: Contemporary Art, Modern Art, Fine Art, European Applied Arts, and Jewelry and Watches. The opening of the new building was accompanied by that of a new department. Following the acquisition of the auction house "Kunsthandel Klefisch" Asian Art broadened the repertoire of VAN HAM. Such cooperation arrangements are a true exception on the auction market. Philosophy and expertise The route to VAN HAM's current success constitutes a balance between complementary matters: on one hand, modernization with an international focus; on the other, proven traditions. Our close and trusting relationship with collectors and close, personal communication with museums and foundations form the basis of successful auctions. VAN HAM places great emphasis on personal consultation and comprehensive customer service. Our dedicated team of specialists is highly valued by customers at home and abroad, ensuring customer confidence in the long term. A network of international offices and regular Expert Days throughout Germany successfully complete our concept. Our customer magazine Art Magazine presents auction highlights and a significant amount of editorial content, making it unique in Germany. The sector's innovation driver When it comes to digitization, VAN HAM is taking the leading role in Germany, it is the only national auction house to offer curated online auctions with a focus on Modernism and contemporary art, thus keeping its finger on the pulse of time. ONLINE-ONLY auctions complement the auction portfolio at two-week intervals, offering entirely new auction experiences. Since January 2019 VAN HAM has been the only German auction house with its own online auction portal, which allows it to operate independently of large technology platforms. In addition to being able to present the catalogues of the face-to-face auctions digitally and allowing live participation in the bidding process, it also constitutes an important innovation for the online auction format. Moreover, the customer data is stored on German servers and is exclusively managed by VAN HAM. Well-presented information and transparency are particularly important to Markus Eisenbeis. Our consistent use and expansion of our online offerings has successfully transformed VAN HAM into an internationally oriented auction house. Detailed information for buyers and sellers; online bidding for collectors worldwide; a comprehensive database (the "Best Auction House Archive" according to Weltkunst, 2008); and our Gallery of Records: all these features have made our website an exciting, informative platform. In recent years, and with the backing of guarantees, customers have increasingly decided to purchase objects without ever having seen the original. The progressive international nature of auctions made possible through the Internet ensures that the market will remain transparent for collectors and dealers. VAN HAM checks all objects valued at over �1,000 for theft and looting with the Art Loss Register, the world's largest private database of lost and stolen art. The process ensures that our auction house knows the proper provenance of each work of art. As these initiatives exemplify, VAN HAM's success is grounded its continued reputation as a trustworthy and professional auction house. VAN HAM Art Estate With VAN HAM Art Estate, VAN HAM demonstrates yet another commitment that is unique in Germany: the professional management of artistic pre-mortem bequests and estates. The objective is to keep an artist and his or her work alive even posthumously. Currently VAN HAM Art Estate handles the eminent pre-mortem requests or estates of Bernd Berner (1930-2002), Karl Fred Dahmen (1917-1981), Friedrich Grasel (1927-2013), Karl Hofer (1878-1955), Tata Ronkholz (1940-1997), Bernard Schultze (1915-2005), Ursula Schultze-Bluhm (1921-1999) and Sarah Schumann (1933-2019).
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