The auction house Christie’s has published its results for the first half of 2017. The figures are encouraging as sales increased by 29% on the same period last year, with sell-through rates of 81%.
As has been noted over the past six months, major masterpieces have sold particularly well. Christie’s announced that it has sold 38 works for more than £10 million in the first six months of the year, compared with which only 14 reached these giddy heights in 2016. The works that achieved the highest prices were Bird’s Hell by Max Beckmann (sold in London for £36 million), Sleeping Muse by Constantin Brancusi (sold in New York for $57.3 million) and Leda and the Swan by Cy Twombly (sold in New York for nearly $53 million).
Christies also reports the popularity of Asian art. Asia Week, held in March in New York, attracted many collectors and beat records (see Asia Week: Christie’s Achieves a Record Sale of Chinese Art in New York).
Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s CEO, pointed out that 35% of sales were made to buyers coming from Asia. “Activity from Asian buyers has reached a new high, demonstrating Christie’s strength in this part of the world. We are encouraged by these results and continue to adapt our operations to the new international context”, he said in a statement.
Online and private sales continue to attract more collectors. They increased by 14% on last year, with an increasing number of new followers.
Several important sales are still to come at Christie’s, in particular of two large collections, those belonging to Audrey Hepburn in September and David Rockefeller in 2018 (see Christie’s to Sell Peggy and David Rockefeller’s Collection).