Christie’s 2014 Global Art Sales Up 12% To Record £5.1 Billion

Record Year Underpinned by Strong Sales Across Categories as Post-War and Contemporary Art Collecting Hits New Heights

All Sale Channels Increase - Auction up 10%, Private Sales up 20%, eCommerce up 54%, with 48% Rise in Works Sold for Over $10 million

Digital Access and Geographic Activities Help Grow Audience – 30% of Buyers were new in 2014

London/New York/Hong Kong Christie’s today announces record results with art sales of £5.1 billion, up 12% ($8.4 billion, up 17%), for the year ending December 2014. This figure is the highest total for Christie’s or any art company in the history of the market. Sales figures were driven by an increase in activity across all geographies and strong sales of works of the highest quality, particularly in the Post-War & Contemporary Art, Impressionist & Modern Art and Jewellery departments.  All sales platforms increased during 2014 with Auction sales up 10% to £4.2 billion ($6.8 billion, up 15%), Private Sales totalling £916.1 million up 20% ($1.5 billion, up 26%) and eCommerce sales realising £21.4 million, up 54% ($35.1 million, up 60%). 

“Christie’s sales grew by 12% during 2014 and the team has succeeded by focusing on the art and connecting it to a growing global audience,” said Patricia Barbizet, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s. We continue to lead the art market by offering the broadest opportunity to collectors globally. The top end of the market grew during the year as evidenced by the 48% increase in works sold above $10 million. Our strategy to develop in new markets such as China and India and in new channels such as Private Sales and eCommerce, has further propelled the global growth of our business. Our focus remains on serving our clients whenever and however they choose to connect with art, through auctions, exhibitions or online.”

Strong Performances Across Collecting Categories

Post-War and Contemporary Art had its best year ever with total sales of £1.7 billion ($2.8 billion) up 33% on 2013 (39% in $). This made a significant contribution to the results for 2014 and was led by Christie’s Fall evening sale in New York which realised $852.9 million, the highest total ever for an auction in the history of the art market. The Impressionist and Modern Art department saw a 14% increase to £732.5 million ($1.2 billion up 19%) with strong sales across all locations highlighted by the sale of Edouard Manet’s Le Printemps (Springtime) for $65,125,000 to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A record year in luxury goods included Jewellery sales totalling £460.2 million ($754.7 million), a global year-on-year increase of 7% (11% in $), resulting in the 21st successive year of auction market leadership.  Decorative Arts was up 9%, with the inaugural Exceptional sale in New York in December, realising $41.3 million, highlighted by a beautiful bronze sculpture by Adriaen de Vries bought by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for $27,885,000.

 All Art Sales Channels Increase

Auction sales continue to be the primary driver of activity with robust global growth of 10% year-on-year at £4.2 billion ($6.8 billion, up 15%). Christie’s sold 86 works of art for over $10 million each during 2014, up 48% and 870 lots were sold for over $1 million during the year, up 19%. Private Sales grew 20% totalling £916.1 million ($1.5 billion, up 26%). New exhibition spaces were opened in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai and a busy, creative schedule drew new clients to view well received shows including among others the Bad Shepherd in London’s Mayfair, The Year of the Horse shown in Hong Kong and Shanghai and works by Michele Oka Doner at Rockefeller Centre in New York. Online-Only Sales totalled £21.4 million ($35.1 million, up 60%), a 54% increase, driven by the 78 eCommerce sales held across 21 different categories. Buyers on the online platform came from 69 countries with 32% new to Christie’s and 42% of new buyers under the age of 45. The highest price for a work of art in the live auction room via Christie’s LIVE™ was Tyeb Mehta’s (Untitled) Falling Bull which sold for $2.8 million in the India sale in December in Mumbai. Total sales for online buying via LIVE™ and eCommerce were $178 million.

 Digital Access and Geographic Development Invites New Audience to Collect

30% of all buyers were new to Christie’s in 2014 and a growing digital audience was echoed by a 39% increase in footfall to the Christie’s King Street headquarters in London. Also in 2014, Christie’s opened a second office in India in New Delhi and the stunning new Ampire Building on the Bund, Shanghai. While Auction sales in Asia totalled £514.8 million, down 14% ($844.1 million, down 10%), 2014 saw an increase in spending globally across categories from Asian clients, up 18%, with growing activity in many sale categories.  Asian clients accounted for 27% of all sales globally.  Auction sales in the Americas and EMERI countries were all up on 2013 (Americas - £2 billion, up 11% / $3.3 billion, up 16% and EMERI - £1.6 billion, up 21% / $2.7 billion, up 26%). Clients in the Americas acquired 38% of sales, an increase in spending of 13% on 2013 and accounted for the largest volume of new buyers to Christie’s.  Buying from clients in EMERI countries represented 35% of total auction sales, with sales up in Europe by 20%.  New buyers from the Middle East increased by 23% from 2013.

 Looking Ahead to 2015

Christie’s series of Old Master sales to be held in New York at the end of January are led by a portrait by Caravaggio formerly from the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds and a masterpiece by Bronzino. A remarkable Cézanne landscape from Samuel Courtauld’s personal collection will be offered in the London Impressionist and Modern art sale in February alongside the most valuable grouping of Surrealist art to be offered at auction. In New York, the Ellsworth Collection, the largest private collection of Asian art ever to appear at auction, will be offered in March.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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