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Susanna López and the world of auctions

When you think of an auction, images of a crowd sitting on wooden chairs in a large ballroom doubtless spring to mind, with each person holding a numbered paddle while an auctioneer calls bids. But what really happens at an auction? And what fascinating stories are waiting to be revealed? Immerse yourself in the world of art auctions in Lucerne (Switzerland), where Susanna López, order coordinator at PAWI Packaging Switzerland AG, combines her passion for art with a love of nail-biting excitement.

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10 june 2024

die Welt der Auktionen

This interview with Susanna López was conducted by our apprentice commercial clerk, Selina Malgo, who also wrote this article.

Susanna López is a dedicated, long-standing employee of PAWI in Winterthur, but she helps at art auctions in Lucerne once or twice a year. Her job is to bid on behalf of a gallery’s clients who wish to remain anonymous. However, these clients don’t just come from Switzerland. They dial in from all over the world to take part in the auction: France, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, and Greece, to name but a few. It’s not uncommon for them to be household names, either.


The dance of concentration

According to Susanna, the different languages present a challenge – but so does concentrating during auctions of this nature. She needs to be constantly focused on the auctioneer. At the same time, however, she must communicate with her far-away client on the phone, keeping them informed of the bids. She can’t wait long for their response, as her fellow bidders are just as quick. You always must think ahead and know what the next bidding steps are (for example, CHF 100 or CHF 1,000). Exciting, right? Susanna likens the adrenaline rush to that of a bungee jump: the mixture of nerves, adrenaline and tension gives it a special edge.

Aufnahme des Auktionssaales in der Galerie in Luzern

Susanna got started in this field about 33 years ago. Her best friend was one of the auction house’s first employees. The auctioneer asked her if she knew anyone who spoke a wide range of languages, and she immediately put Susanna’s name forward. Shortly afterwards, Susanna took part in an auction and found that she really enjoyed it – and she still enjoys it today.


A painting – and an extraordinary bid

Which experience in recent years has had the biggest impact on Susanna? Full of enthusiasm, Susanna tells us about a painting that led to her highest bid to date. You won’t believe it: CHF 600,000 – a staggering amount!

Bild von Picasso aus der Auktion Bild von Picasso aus der Auktion Gemälde aus der Auktion

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