Ronald Varney is a cum laude graduate of Amherst College, where he was an Independent Scholar in English. After teaching in private schools here and abroad, he worked in the film industry and in banking before joining Sotheby’s New York in 1989.
He began at Sotheby’s as Vice President and Director of Marketing Development, starting a proposals department, which organized major collection sales, and founding Sotheby’s Books, which publishes titles on collecting and connoisseurship in New York and London. He was also the Publisher of Sotheby’s Preview, the firm’s international magazine, and Art at Auction, their yearly review of the auction season. He was later promoted to Senior Vice President of Trusts and Estates, where his responsibilities included developing new clients and winning major auction consignments in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Mr. Varney was involved in the sale of many major collections and estates at Sotheby’s. Among these were: the Rick Carroll Collection of automobiles; the Saul Steinberg Collection of English furniture; the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; the Estate of Ambassador Pamela Harriman; the Estate of Greta Garbo; the Estate of Irene Selznick; the Harry A. Franklin Collection of African tribal art; the contents of Mercer House, Savannah; the Sister Parrish Collection; and the Ralph Lauren Collection of English furniture.
In 2001 Mr. Varney was appointed Worldwide Director of Trusts and Estates as well as business development for the French-owned auction house Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, where he was involved in the historic sale that year of the Smooke Collection of Impressionist and Modern Art. In 2002, he founded Ronald Varney Fine Art Agents.
Mr. Varney has written widely on the arts for Esquire, Smithsonian, House & Garden, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review and The Harvard Business Review.