Exhibition of works of auction

They also tend to set the mood for the art market, with successful sales indicating a continuing boom and poor-performing auctions undermining confidence throughout the art world. For the initiated, they are enormous fun to watch, with record prices eliciting gasps and applause and celebrity bidders causing stirs. For those unfamiliar with the baroque logic of art auctions, they can seem impenetrable mysteries. In the interest of spreading the joys of art auctions, we’ve compiled a glossary of auction terms to explain how these glamorous contests work.