Christie’s has announced that its total global sales increased 26 percent in 2017 to £5.1 billion ($6.6 billion), led by the record breaking sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, selling for $450.3 million in November in New York.
Increased supply at masterpiece level met continued demand as global auction sales increased 38 percent to £4.6 billion ($5.9 billion). Sales in the Americas increased to $3.2 billion, up 62 percent, sales in Asia totalled $754.9 million, up 7 percent, and sales in Europe and the Middle East totalled $2 billion, up 11 percent.
Auction sales led the growth, totalling $5.9 billion, up 33 percent, with online sales reaching $72.4 million, up 8 percent, reflecting clients increasing interest in this platform during 2017.
New buyers over £1 million increased by 40 percent, with the number of works sold over £10 million rising from 26 in 2016 to 65 in 2017.
Private sales realised £472.4 million, down 32 percent. Continued focus on quality and fair estimates ensured sell-through rates increased to 81 percent from 78 percent in 2016. New buyers accounted for 31 percent of all buyers with spend by those new to the company increasing by 26 percent. Online sales remained the top entry point for new buyers (37 percent). In the traditional and online auctions the top two categories for attracting new buyers were Luxury (28 percent) and Decorative Arts (18 percent).
Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s commented: “2017 has been a year to remember for Christie’s, both for its record growth of 26 percent and some unforgettable moments, notably the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi in New York, and also because of decisive action we have taken to prepare for the future. In 2018, we will focus on, continuing to expand our global client base and improving services to our customers, especially online. 2018 Spring sales are promising, especially with the prospect of the sale of the Rockefeller collection Christie’s has been entrusted with, and we are therefore looking forward to the year ahead with confidence.”
The continued growth in the Asian client base underpinned an increase in buying from the region (up 39 percent) to represent 31 precent of global spend. Asian client spend increased at the higher price levels (works over £1 million), rising 63 percent. 52 percent of the spend of the Asian client base was outside the Asian Art sales category, both in online and traditional auction sales. Buyers from Asia in online sales rose by 23 percent, driven by purchases of Asian Art and Luxury goods. There were 15 Asian art sales held online last year, including the ‘Art of China’ series, which averaged a 92 percent sell-through rate by lot and the value of Asian Art sold online increased by 32 percent.
Americas: Ongoing success
In Spring 2017, Christie’s opened a new flagship space in Los Angeles hosting multiple exhibitions during the year. In New York, an increase of 68 percent in auction sales, reflects the world record sale of Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci. Additional successes included the record-breaking sale of the Fujita Museum Collection in March which totalled $262.8 million, the highest single-owner collection result of the year.
Other major highlights were Constantin Brancusi’s La muse endormie ($57,367,500, a world auction record for the artist), Vincent van Gogh’s Laboureur dans un champ ($81,312,500), Fernand Léger’s Contraste de formes ($70,062,500, a world auction record for the artist) and Cy Twombly’s Leda and the Swan ($52,887,500). American buyers accounted for 32% of global spend, having spent 22% more at auction at Christie’s than in 2016.
European and Middle Eastern clients spent 52 percent more at auction at Christie’s than in 2016, representing 37 percent of client spend globally. London King Street auction sales were up 23 percent, with a significant increase in new buyers, up 33 percent on 2016. - TradeArabia News Service
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