Christie’s Will Debut a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Option

The auction house's new payment plans could make the art market more accessible to new collectors.

Collage of colorful prints in 4x5 rows
Henri Matisse, Jazz, (1947). Courtesy Christie's

“Buy now, pay later” loans are coming to Christie's, which will offer the option during its Prints and Multiples sale on April 16. The catch is that art lovers can only use the deferred payment plan (which divides the purchase price into ten monthly installments) to pay for lots costing $800 to $800,000. Should the complete set of twenty Matisse pochoirs leading the sale exceed its high estimate, the winning bidder will have to settle up the old-fashioned way.

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The payment plan is the result of a partnership betweent he auction house and Art Money, an art-focused fintech company. Christie’s Ventures, the venture capital firm launched by the auction house in 2022, invested in the lender earlier this year for a non-control minority stake.

“Specialty consumer financing is a core part of our FinTech thesis at Christie’s Ventures,” Ryan Ludgate, international director of Christie’s Ventures, told Observer. “It’s a staple of virtually all consumer-led industries—but until recently, was selectively used in the art world.”

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Christie’s Ventures primarily funds emerging technology businesses operating in the art market. Other investments include funding for Echomark, a startup providing information security; LayerZero, a company focused on moving assets across blockchains; and MNTGE, a brand fusing vintage clothing with blockchain technology.

Buy Picassos now, pay for Picassos later

Comic-style work of woman with blonde hair singing into microphone
Roy Lichtenstein, Reverie from 11 Pop Artists, Volume II, (1965). Courtesy Christie's

The ‘buy now, pay later’ option will be available on more than 170 lots offered at the Prints and Multiples sale, which will offer works by Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and others. Highlights include Henri Matisse’s 1947 Jazz, which is expected to sell for between $600,000 and $800,000, and a 1967 Marilyn Monroe print by Andy Warhol that has an estimate of between $250,000 and $350,000. Buyers should be aware that the fintech company will charge a fee of up to 10 percent of Christie’s total invoice, as reported by the Financial Times.

Paul Becker, CEO and founder of Art Money, sees his company as helping collectors feel more confident, making them more likely to follow through on purchases. “What that translates to is more sales going through, because people are actually buying rather than not buying, and also buying higher-priced [work] because they can spread it out over time,” he told Observer. “I would say that the availability of financing at a consumer level—a normal person level rather than $1 million plus level—is the next generational change in the art world.”

The payment plans could also make the art market more accessible to collectors who “might previously have been hesitant to engage,” according to Ludgate, who explained that Christie’s Prints and Multiples auction was chosen as the first sale to offer the ‘buy now, pay later’ option because of its accessibility in terms of both price and content. “The Prints & Multiples category includes the best names in contemporary art, but at price points accessible to a more entry-level collector base—and a category that we’ve seen to have an incredibly high level of online engagement,” he said.

Christie’s Will Debut a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Option