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James Zemaitis

James Zemaitis began his auction career in 1996 at Christie's, where he worked for three years in the 20th Century Design department. Prior to his arrival at Sotheby's in 2003,[…]

No, but not every piece of design should be touched.

James Zemaitis: In my market, no, because people . . . When I . . . When I exhibit my works of contemporary design at Sotheby’s on our kind of, you know, number one space – our 10th floor Richard Gluckman design area where work is meant to appear in a contemporary museum setting, I don’t want people necessarily to touch these works. Every . . . The last couple of seasons we’ve sold these tremendous Ron __________ sculptural masterworks that he produced in the early 1990s; you know where every fingerprint almost gets permanently recorded on that piece; and you know the new collector has to, you know, pay to have everything wiped off again. I mean that’s the opposite of sitting in a chair and being comfortable, isn’t it? I mean it really is . . . It’s all about giving design this high art, you know, high aesthetic kind of aura to it that increases the value.

Recorded on: 1/30/08