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Sotheby's are due to report earnings towards the end of February. The below is taken from the Christie's press release, sent out to media this morning. These are simply raw sale numbers which give us good insight into the macroeconomic swings of each geographic sector.

 Screen Shot 2016 01 26 at 18.38.01Amedeo Modigliani's Nu couché sold for $170,405,000

London / New York / Hong Kong – Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, announces 2015 sales of £4.8 billion ($7.4 billion), down 5% (by£) for the same period in 2014. The results are the second highest total in company history. Demand from global buyers remained consistent at both the highest end of the market as well as in a diverse range of collecting areas and price levels. Notable successes included the record-making sale in New York in November of Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché for $170.4 million and the highest day-sale totals seen during our corresponding 20th Century Sale week, reflecting continued strength in this core area of the art market. Christie’s continues to offer buyers broad choice from a wide range of price points, categories, geographies and online, as well as uniquely curated sales and important private collections worldwide.

“Last year saw continued strength in the art market and showed that there is breadth of demand across geographies, categories and price ranges. Amidst an increasingly challenging global financial environment we are in a strong position to adapt to the marketplace and well equipped to service the new, broader, geographically diverse audience for art. Our strong overall sold percentages demonstrated how we have achieved great results for our clients and we will remain focused on service, bringing the best art to collectors around the world", commented Patricia Barbizet, Christie's Chief Executive Officer. "It is also encouraging that new buyers represent 30% of our total buyer base, coming to us through our curated auctions, various categories as well as digital sales. As we begin our 250th year, Christie's will continue to celebrate our heritage and, with innovation and expertise at the heart of our business, continue to lead the industry."

Core categories

The Impressionist and Modern Art category (including Modern British Art, American Paintings, and Latin American Paintings) grew by 57% to £1.3bn ($2bn, up 47%) compared with the same period for 2014, continuing the team’s market leadership. The Post-War & Contemporary department also continued to be market leaders with total sales of £1.5 billion, down 14% ($2.2 billion, down 20%). Sales of Asian Art increased 9% globally to £478.6 million ($734.2 million, up 2%), highlighted by the record-breaking Ellsworth sale of Asian Art. Sales in the 20th and 21st Century Culture category increased 9% to £93.7 million ($143.7 million, up 2%). Old Master Paintings, 19th Century and Russian Art sales totalled £154.9 million, down 37% ($237.6 million, down 41%). Luxury (including Jewellery, Watches and Wine) sales totalled £493.4 million, down 13% ($756.9 million, down 19%). This category also proved to be the most successful entry point, attracting 21% of all new buyers, and maintaining its position as market leaders.

Geographies

Sales in Americas increased 19% to £2.4 billion ($3.6 billion, up 11%), with key sales including the Collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, achieving $134 million, and innovative curated sales, Looking Forward to the Past and the Artist’s Muse, achieving $705.8 million and $491.4 million respectively. Strength of demand for masterpieces complemented interest in broad areas of collecting and price points as Christie’s sold the top three works at auction of 2015. Innovation continued through the launch of new sales weeks with a focus on cross-category curation. Sales remained strong across European salerooms, with a 15% increase in Paris sales to £159.5 million, ($244.7 million, up 8%), in part due to the Exceptional Works on Paper sale from the Triton Collection Foundation in March, which beat its high sale estimate, realising €9.7 million. Overall sales in the EMERI region totalled £1.4 billion, down 18% ($2.1 billion, down 23%). The business saw growth in India, following the first Christie’s auction in Mumbai in 2013, with 2015 sales of £10 million, up 32%, ($15.3 million, up 23%). Sales for Asia increased 2% to £525.6 million ($806.2 million, down 4%) with several sales beating their high estimates including The Feng Wen Tang Collection of Chinese paintings in Hong Kong which more than tripled its high sale estimate. Reaching its 30th anniversary this year, Hong Kong saw a 5% increase in sales. Christie’s continued to attract new collectors in China, with a 5% increase in buyers. Sales in Shanghai of Asian and Western 20th Century in April and our new +86 First Open sale in October both sold above high estimate. Overall spend from Asian buyers, including China, increased by 15%, with contribution to global sales increasing to 30% in 2015. Asian buyers increased by 7%, making up 18% of global buyers across Christie’s. Japan and Singapore also attracted significant numbers of buyers, increasing 12% and 14% respectively from 2014.

Licht1Roy Lichtenstein Crying Girl estimate $7 to $9 million, sold for $13,381,000

Channels

Digital Sales continue to prove an effective way to connect with buyers across multiple geographies and categories. Overall, digital buyer numbers are up 10%, with sold value in Digital Sales up 11%. A gateway for new buyers to Christie’s, 20% of new buyers participated through this channel. Digital successes include the Ellsworth Collection (sold 435% by value), the Property of Mrs. Thatcher (sold 714% by value) and the Picasso Ceramics Sale (sold 257% by value), as well as the introduction of new online categories.

In Asia, digital buyers increased 12% from 2014, with buyer spend up 34%, largely driven by the success of the online Ellsworth Collection. In the Americas, client spend in Digital Sales rose by 13%, the second highest rise after Asia. 83% of visitors to Christies.com were new, with 27% more mobile visitors than in 2014. Christie’s LIVE, the platform that allows clients to bid in live auction via their desktop computers, also continues to gain traction. Andy Warhol’s Flowers achieved $1.3 million and was purchased via Christie’s LIVE and A Diamond Ring achieved $3.4 million, making it the second highest value lot ever sold via LIVE. Overall, Christie’s LIVE was a very robust channel for activity in 2015.

The public auction market was strong in 2015, with £4.3 billion, up 2% ($6.5 billion, down 4%). Meanwhile, the total figure for Private Sales was down 39% to £554.9 million ($851.2 million, down 43%), principally because of vendor’s decisions to sell works through the public market.

Looking Ahead to 2016

This year marks Christie’s 250th year and will be celebrated with a series of events and exhibitions later in the year. The new sales calendar in 2016 will begin with 20th Century at Christie’s, a series of sales from 2 – 12 February in London, led by a self-portrait by Egon Schiele (estimate: £6-8 million) and Francis Bacon’s Two Figures (estimate: £5-7 million). As a further step in its sales innovation strategy, Christie’s will hold a new themed week of sales, Classic Art Week in New York in April. This week of sales will include Old Master Paintings, Japanese & Korean art, Sculpture, Antiquities, and Christie’s signature Exceptional Sale of Decorative Arts. A new curated sale entitled Revolution will be the centrepiece of this auction series, and will feature masterworks from the 18th to the 20th centuries, including paintings, drawings, prints, photography and sculpture, which will explore the radical social, political and artistic changes that defined this period of history. The 10th year of Christie’s in Dubai will be celebrated this March and in May, Hong Kong will mark its 30th year. In Christie’s 250th year, Christie’s Education will hold a conference entitled Creating Markets and Collecting Art to be held in London 14th-15th July.

Screen Shot 2016 01 21 at 18.29.31

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