Christie’s specialist Noah Davis studied absurdist theater at New York University. After more than six years at the auction house, he finds himself returning to Ionesco. Davis envisions The Chairs as a metaphor for the 21st-century art scene in which he lives.

“The protagonist is a philosopher who’s going to reveal his amazing life-unifying theory. He’s invited all these people to the event,” Davis says. “But they’re just chairs; they’re just empty chairs in a room.”