Art & Design

How the New Christie’s App Gives You a Front Row Seat at Every Auction

With Christie’s newly updated iOS app, it’s simpler than ever to visualize artworks for the home and trace your online auctions

Driven by user insight, Christie’s has launched an improved version of its iOS app that reimagines the Christie’s digital experience. The new app lowers the barriers to access and allows users to browse without having an account or needing to sign in, which is now only required at key stages such as registering to bid.

Once you are signed in, however, you will be able to search for lots, both upcoming and past, and see them in more detail than previously. “We photograph our property using the highest definition cameras available,” says Jon-Ross Le Haye, International Head of Digital Design at Christie’s. “We use this image-capture technique for lot-page zoom tools, 360-degree experiences, and augmented reality (A.R.) experiences. As tech companies continue to develop new A.R. and V.R. hardware devices, the Christie’s app will be ready to showcase art and luxury items in more lifelike and ubiquitous ways.”

The Christie's app open on an iPad
The Christie’s app allows you to browse more than 60 auction categories, follow your favorite lots, view past results, and manage your auctions, bids, and purchases.

For example, by browsing the special lots marked with an A.R. icon, you can virtually hang a piece of art—whether it’s a masterpiece by Rothko, Picasso, or Monet, or works on paper by the Old Masters—on the walls of your home to see what it looks like before you buy. The cutting-edge technology provides an immersive visual experience and a hyperreal view of every brushstroke and intimate detail of works offered in Christie’s auctions.

With the My Christie’s section, the app allows users to keep track of any active bids they have made. Nina Milbank, Vice President, Head of Client Experience, Christie’s New York, says the app also offers “improved notifications to ensure clients never miss critical moments throughout the sale process.” An auction estimate portal allows users to submit estimate inquiries with their phone’s camera.

The new app took six months to build from scratch. “It’s completely new, a 2021 app fit for multiple screens and devices, future-ready for new technologies and devices not yet conceived,” says Le Haye.

An iPhone displays what a atrifact would look like in someone's home
Lots on the app marked with an augmented reality icon allow you to virtually place artifacts or artworks within your home, giving you the opportunity to fully explore a piece before placing a bid.

“The auction world is steeped in tradition, and translating that into digital has been an amazing challenge to work on together,” explains Dan Elsworth, product principal at Ustwo, which helped develop the app. “With the foundations now in place, we are looking forward to seeing Christie’s continued growth in the digital world.”

“The app is written using SwiftUI, Apple’s latest visual framework. As the code is easy to maintain and can be picked up by other teams, we are looking forward to quickly building more immersive and personalized features for our clients,” adds Milbank.

Banner image: Le Printemps (1881) by Édouard Manet on display at Christie’s Paris ahead of its auction. Alamy