Another Marriage of Auction Houses: Wright and Rago Unite
By CGN Staff via PR
The Chicago auction house landscape has changed so much over the past year and a half you might get whiplash trying to keep up.
Early in 2019 Leslie Hindman acquired Cowan's from Cincinnati and became Hindman. In early 2018 John Toomey Gallery announced a generational succession as well as a name change after three decades in business, becoming Toomey & Co. Auctioneers and ending its partnership with Treadway Gallery (also of Cincinnati). Phillips opened a midwest presence at the end of 2017 when Lauren G. Peterson, formerly of Christie's, joined Carol Ehlers in Chicago. And several other well-known auction and art world figures have also moved between houses in recent months: Joe Stanfield moved from Toomey to Hindman; Aron Packer joined Toomey; and Cathy Busch became a managing director at Christie's after 15 years at Sotheby's.
Today, Wright, established on Chicago's West Side in 2000, announced that it too is evolving its business model by joining forces with New Jersey-based Rago Auctions. After nearly 20 years in business, with 250+ auctions, 75,000+ lots, $375 million in sales and a reputation as the top source in the country for 20th century art and design, the time had come for Wright to ensure its future place in an increasingly competitive auction market. Both houses will continue to operate under their individual names while sharing technology, expertise and marketing efforts.
The full press statement is below.
Click to read CGN's 15 Minutes with Richard Wright from 2012.
In the increasingly competitive auction market, the joint entity will have stronger reach and a broader team of specialists. With $65+ million in consolidated annual sales, the combined company has a team of 75 and more than a century of business experience. Rago’s broad expertise in art, jewelry, ceramics and estates and Wright’s focus on design and innovative presentation will be combined to better serve their clients and maintain a strong voice in the world of art and design.
As CEO of the combined companies, Richard Wright will work in tandem with Rago’s specialists to continue to bring new concepts to our auction platform. “I welcome the opportunity of working with a larger team,” says Richard “our blended perspectives, geographic reach and experience will add to the great work we both currently do.”
“Elbert Hubbard, the Arts and Crafts era luminary, once said that the best business was done in cooperation, not competition,” says David Rago, President, “I’ve always believed in that and our merger with Wright presents us with a golden opportunity to experience this in practice rather than theory.”
“We are all excited by the potential this merger represents,” says Suzanne Perrault, President, “particularly as it pertains to increased reach and exposure for our shared clientele, consignors and collectors alike. The mix of our two cultures, while similar, presents a fascinating challenge and offers a terrific opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally.”
Rago Auctions, founded in 1984, is a leading U.S. auction house with $34 million in sales in 2018. It serves thousands of sellers and buyers yearly with global reach, personal service and competitive commissions for single pieces, collections and estates. An internationally-known venue through which to buy and sell, Rago offers free valuations for personal property as well as USPAP-compliant estate and appraisal services.
Founded in 2000, Wright has established a reputation as an innovator within the industry. With world class specialists and presentation, Wright has pioneered new categories of collecting and upped the ante for catalog and website design. Dedicated to 20th century art and design, Wright has become a renowned resource for distinguished collectors and sellers around the globe