IT was a record 2013 for Christie’s, which today announced global sales of £4.5 billion pounds in the year to December. This is the highest sales total for any auction house in the history of the art market. Sales were driven by an increase in new buyers, growth markets such as China and the internet. A total of 30% of buyers in 2013 were new and they accounted for 22% of sales. Sales in Asia were up by 44%.
Nine of the top ten lots sold were works of art headed by Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud. This became the most valuable painting ever sold at auction last November when it made $142.4 million in New York. The other lots in the top ten, in order, were artworks by Jeff Koons, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean Michel Basquiat, Mark Rothko, Amadeo Modigliani and Edward Hopper. At number 10 was a Pink Golconda diamond which sold for $39.2 million.
Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s, said: “
Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Three Studies of Lucian Freud – the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.
Christie’s has succeeded again by focusing on the art and connecting it to the ever-increasing audience of enthusiasts and collectors. We continue to see a surge in interest across categories and across the globe, fuelled in large part by the online platform enabling greater connectivity between buyers, sellers and the objects of their pursuit. Our strategy to invest in new markets such as China, new channels such as Private Sales and online sales, and to build on our position at the leading auction house, has enabled Christie’s to grow. Our continuing goal is to provide more to our clients and to convene new clients to enjoy art, be it through auctions, exhibitions or online.”