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Who's in the Video

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,[…]

It’s an addictive process, Zemaitis says.

Porochista Khakpour: It’s a very addictive process. And I myself, I’m not a formal auctioneer. I have done . . . I actually have done quite a bit of charity auctioneering, but charity auctioneering is a lot different than real auctioneering because there you’re working with numbers and you have to make tight decisions. And I’m a little too dyslexic for that, and so my goodbye to my auctions is when I’m in the room next to the auctioneers looking out over the room . . . it’s always a series of . . . For the most part I’m fortunate to say it’s been . . . it’s been, you know . . . the market has been very good to me and we’ve had quite a good run. But you still have your moments of crushing low. You still have that moment when you’ve put your heart and soul into selling a piece. And unlike a gallerist who can do an exhibition; and you can have that exhibition up for two and a half months; and you can work on a client and say, over a period of time, get that client to think with you on a piece; you know it has to happen in that second at auction, so it’s like it’s either gonna fly or it’s gonna bomb. And you just gotta get used to the bomb because once in a while it’s gonna happen.

Recorded on: 1/30/08