Global Collecting Demand Underpins Resilient Art Market as Christie's Art Sales Total £4 billion/$5.4 billion
Christie's Leads Global Art Market
Demand for Masterpieces Continues - 4 of 5 Top Lots of 2016 Sold at Christie's
32% of Buyers were New to Christie's
Global Taste Served by Innovative Curated Sales
Private Sales up 25%
Online Sales Platform Grows 109%, Attracting 33% of All New Buyers with Total Spend Online (Christie's LIVETM and Online) Growing to $217 million
World auction record set in September 2016 in New York for a Song Tea bowl, which sold for $11,701,000 | Claude Monet’s Meule (Grainstack) achieved a world auction record for the artist when it realised $81,447,500 in New York in November | The highlight of Christie’s Hong Kong 2016 Autumn sales was The Ratnaraj, a rare Burmese ruby, which totalled HK$78,940,000 | Ruben’s Lot and his Daughters realises £44,882,500 in London Classic Week in July, the highest price for an Old Master Painting sold at Christie’s | Eleven Alpine Landscapes, 1860s-1870s, by Adolphe Braun sold online for $8,750.
London – In 2016, Christie’s celebrated its 250th year as leaders in the art market. Over the course of the year the company reaffirmed its historic legacy and future focus on serving collectors globally, launching a new flagship office in Beijing and welcoming new clients from across the world. Private sales increased 25% and online-only sales grew by 109%. Strong sell-through rates, averaging 79% by lot across auctions and sustained buyer demand across categories and geographies demonstrated the resilience and stability of the art market. 32% of buyers were new to Christie’s, with a 16% growth in new registered bidders year on year. The consignment pipeline was more challenging in 2016 for auction sales which totalled £3.3bn ($4.4bn), a 22% decrease in 2016. Overall sales were £4bn ($5.4bn), a decrease of 16% compared to £4.8bn in 2015.
“The global appetite for art remains strong. Despite the uncertainty in wider economic and political environments, the global art market maintained momentum and Christie’s continues to lead it,” commented Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s. “Christie’s is well positioned to serve our clients, wherever and however they wish to transact. We remain confident that with the best reach, knowledge of the art market and access to global buyers, we are the house of choice for sellers. We will continue to adapt and review our organisation to ensure that we are fit for purpose. Our sales for the first quarter of 2017 are shaping up well with important consignments already announced, including works from the Collections of Barbara Lambrecht, Heidi Weber and Hubert de Givenchy as well as the Fujita Museum Collection. We are also looking forward to opening a new flagship gallery in Los Angeles as well as continuing our program in China. The outlook remains optimistic.”
Sale Highlights – Highlights included Claude Monet’s Meule (Grainstack) (sold in New York for $81.4 million), Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XXV (sold in New York for $66.3 million) and Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ Lot and his Daughters (sold in London for £44.8 million). The Jewellery team celebrated 23 years of market leadership and Christie’s in Geneva saw the Oppenheimer Blue, a sensational coloured diamond ring, set a new auction record for a jewel when it sold for $57.5 million. 22% of all new buyers came to Christie’s via Luxury sales. Demand for important Asian art continued with the sale of a very rare ‘Dragon’ Jar during 30 Years: The Sale in Hong Kong in May, which realised HK$158,040,000, as well as important jewellery. Across all auction and online sales in 2016, 79% of lots sold, demonstrating that across categories and price levels results were strong.
Private sales continue to grow, showing an increase of 25% to £694m ($935.5m, up 10%). These were led by two significant private treaty sales to public collections: Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit were acquired in an historic joint acquisition by the Louvre & the Rijksmuseum and the Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I was acquired for the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
Shifting Taste and Regional Activity – Christie’s curated sales, sales weeks and special exhibitions were extended to reflect the international dialogue between genres and eras. These included Twentieth Century at Christie’s and Classic Art Week, alongside Bound to Fail in New York, Defining British Art in London, Avant-Garde in Paris and Pioneers in Hong Kong. New buyers were up by 5% and came from America (39%), Asia (19%) and EMERI (42%). Geographically, American based clients accounted for 37% of sales value, Asian clients for 31% and EMERI clients for 32%. 35% of new buyer spend came from Asia. Christie’s Hong Kong celebrated 30 years, while in China the company opened a new flagship office on Jinbao in Beijing, reflecting continued investment in China.
Digital Growth – Total sales of art online reached £161 million ($217 million) – £111.2 million ($149.9 million) via Christie’s LIVETM (online bidding in auction sales) and online sales of £49.8 million ($67.1 million). Christie’s online sales rose by 109% to £49.8m ($67.1m, up 84%). This platform continues to attract significant numbers of new buyers, with the average selling price at $6,047. The top selling lot online was Irregular Curves by Sol LeWitt for £204,440/$269,000. Online sales in American Art, Contemporary Art, Asian Art, Prints, Photographs, Jewellery and Watches were particularly strong. Visitors to Christie’s online sales came from 184 countries and sell through rates by value averaged 91%. The top lot sold via LIVETM was a diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels which sold for £2,086,081/$2,968,661, and the average lot value was $14,618. Mobile devices accounted for 35% of traffic to the website, with visits up 35% on 2015 from 187 countries. The James Bond Spectre feature on Christie’s Daily, our online newsletter, was the most viewed of 2016.
20th Century Art Week at Christie’s will include the sale of two master works of Post-War American painting by Rothko and Rauschenberg, as well as works from the collections of Barbara Lambrecht and Heidi Weber. In March, Christie’s Paris will offer 21 historic works by Diego Giacometti from the collection of Hubert de Givenchy, while in New York Asian Art week is led by the Fujita collection. During 20th Century Week in May Christie’s New York will also offer Property from Cleveland Clinic donated by Mrs. Sydell Miller, with all proceeds benefiting Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute. Christie’s commitment to engage with clients across the globe is led by a strong program for China as well as planned expansion in America with a new flagship gallery designed by wHY due to open in April on North Camden Drive in Los Angeles.
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 Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).
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 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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