Old Master sales at Christie’s in 2016 came to £152 million, doubling the auction sales total of 2015. Classic Week, which ended in London on December 15, achieved a total of £47.8 million. This was a dedicated series of sales spanning Old Master Paintings, Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Antiquities, Japanese Art and private collections. There was global participation with more than 1,200 registered bidders from 53 countries and substantial cross category buying. The entire classic week series achieved $272.3 million in 2016.
Karl Hermanns, Global Managing Director, Old Master, 19th Century, Russian Art, said: “Classic Week in December concludes an outstanding year for the classical arts at Christie’s. Following its launch in April in New York and in July in London the new Classic Weeks series, complementing Christie’s innovative 20th-century weeks, have achieved for our clients significantly increased sales, cross-category bidders and new bidders. We are particularly encouraged by the number of 20th-century clients and Asian collectors participating in these sale. Classic Week auction sales were led by the masterpiece by Rubens, ‘Lot and his Daughters’, which achieved £44.9 million, the highest auction price for any work of art sold in Europe in 2016. Old Master and Victorian pictures also sold well alongside the best modern and contemporary art in the Defining British Art sale, the flagship event of Christie’s 250th anniversary. Christie’s also led the market in Old Master private sales, led by the historic sale of Rembrandt portraits, which sold to the French and Dutch states. Our specialists will continue to innovate and to inspire collectors with curated sales weeks of the highest quality. We look forward to hosting the next Classic Weeks in New York in April 2017 and in London in July 2017.”