Market Overview

Christie's Continues to Lead Art Market


Sales up 26% to Almost £3 Billion / up 35% to $4 Billion in First
Half of 2018

Highest Half Year Sales Total in Company History

  • Sales Up Across all Platforms: Auction, Private and Online
  • Historic Sale of the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller
    Achieves $835m
  • 27% of all Buyers New to Christie's
  • Sell-Through Rate of 84% (compared to 81% in First Half of 2017)

Continued global demand, audience engagement with the diversity of
collecting categories and the historic Rockefeller sales helped drive a
26% rise in Christie's
overall sales to almost £3bn ($4bn, up 35%) compared to £2.35bn in the
first half of 2017. Auction sell-through rates across all lots bands
increased to 84%. Sales were up across all three selling platforms, with
auction sales increasing 20% to £2.65bn ($3.61bn, up 28%), private sales
up 135% totalling £287m ($390.3m, up 151%) and online-only auction sales
up 40% to £27.7m ($37.7m, up 50%).

Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "It has
been a record-breaking first half for Christie's. 27% of all buyers were
new to us during this period and we also achieved consistently high
sell-through rates averaging 84% by lot. We are also encouraged by an
array of strong consignments to offer collectors in the Autumn."

Highlights at Auction

  • 80% of the highest selling objects in the first half of 2018 were sold
    at Christie's, with 55 lots sold over $10 million.
  • Online sales attract the largest number of new buyers (40%). By
    category the Luxury group continues to draw the highest percentage of
    new clients at 29%, with Asian clients spending 10% more in this
    category in the first half of 2018. Decorative Arts was also the
    second highest entry point for new buyers (19%). The number of new
    buyers for lots over £1 million rose by 32%.
  • Global audiences continue to visit Christie's both in person and
    virtually with Rockefeller public exhibition enjoyed by over 85,000
    people around the world. To welcome new audiences to collecting, Christie's
    programme gathers momentum in New York and London
    complementing increased digital engagement with Christie's editorial
  • Total spend online was £88m ($119.7m) for the first half of 2018, when
    combining the totals for Christie's LIVETM, £60.3m ($82m) and
    online-only sales, which jumped by 40% to £27.7 million ($37.7
    million, up 50%). 47 online sales were held in the first half of 2018
    including a third of the volume of lots in the Rockefeller collection
    being sold online. Sell-through rates by lot for sales online rose to
    87% and the average price per lot was $8,483. For the second year
    running, Christie's was named top of the annual Hiscox online art
    platform ranking in April 2018. 44% of all website traffic came from
    mobile devices, an increase of 19%. Last week, Christie's hosted the
    first Art Technology Summit exploring the future of Blockchain on the
    art market.
  • Across the board, collections achieved strong results: the celebration
    of the Cobra artistic movement, which was 100% sold at the new sale
    venue in Amsterdam; masterpieces by Richard Diebenkorn were sold to
    benefit the Zucker Family Foundation for $46,068,750 in New York; and
    the Tisch Collection selling for $107,089,100. As part of Christie's
    continued investment in Christie's Education celebrating its 40th year
    the London faculty will relocate in September to 42 Portland Place.
    Since the launch of online learning courses in October 2017, 18% of
    all students are now enrolled on this platform.

Regional and Client Activity

In the first half of 2018 American-based clients accounted for 45% of
spend, Asian clients for 24% and EMERI clients for 31%; these figures
reflect the engagement with the Rockefeller Collection. Auction sales by
region totalled £1.57bn in the Americas, up 36% ($2.13bn, up 45%),
£782.9m in Europe, Middle East, Russia and India, down 4%, ($1.06bn, up
6%) and £306.4m in Asia, up 24% ($416.7m, up 33%). America accounted for
59% of auction sales, EMERI, 29% and Asia 12%. 27% of all buyers were
new to Christie's in the first half of 2018, coming from America (43%),
Asia (22%) and EMERI (35%). The new buyers spend in the first half of
2018 increased by 29% compared with first half of 2017. In Asia, there
was a 24% increase in new buyers from Mainland China. 60% of Asian
client spend globally was on works outside of Asian art categories.

Asia – The first half of the year in Asia saw sales, exhibitions
and specialist visits in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Japan, South
Korea and Malaysia, with increased interest in Christie's global sales
as a result. Eighteen themed and curated sales were held across six days
in May in Hong Kong that realised a total of HK$3.11bn. The Asian 20th
Century and Contemporary Art evening sale made the highest total ever
for an evening sale in Asia achieving HK$1,040,390,000. Sales of Asian
Art were highlighted by Zao Wou-Ki's 14.12.59, (HK$176,725,000, May,
Hong Kong), a rare doucai and famille rose ‘Anbaxian' vase
(HK$130,600,000, May, Hong Kong) and Syed Haider Raza's Tapovan
($4,452,500, March, New York).

Americas The
Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller
achieved the highest total
for a private collection and became the most significant charitable
auction ever, totalling $835,111,344,100% sold. The top lots of the sale
included Picasso's, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie ($115,000,000),
Monet's Nymphéas en fleur ($84,687,500), and Matisse's Odalisque couchée
aux magnolias ($80,750,000), with the Monet and the Matisse achieving
artist records. There were 2.4 million page views for the 50 Rockefeller
web features on Immediately following the Rockefeller
sale, the regular Spring auction series of Impressionist, Modern,
Post-War, and Contemporary Art achieved a combined total of
$961,006,000, a 14% increase over the same series of sales in May 2017.
Highlights included Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist Composition
($85,812,500) and Constantin Brancusi's La jeune fille sophistiquée
(Portrait de Nancy Cunard) ($71,000,000), both setting new world records
for the artists at auction. In the May New York, Post-War and
Contemporary Art sales, 7 world auction records were set, including for
works by Joan Mitchell (Blueberry, $16,625,000) and Richard Diebenkorn
(Ocean Park #126, $23,937,500). The sale totalled $397,159,500 and was
91% sold by lot. The series of sales in April for Classic Week totalled
$71,785,625 and included Daniel Craig's Aston Martin, numbered 007,
which achieved $468,500. The top lot of the season was the Portrait of
John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Elder, which
realised $7,737,500, against the high estimate of $2,000,000. John James
Audubon's Birds of America sold for $9.65 million in New York in June,
the second highest price at auction for the work.

Europe, Middle East, Russia and India – London sales were led by
the Spring and Summer 20th Century sales. The March Post-War and
Contemporary Art evening auction made the highest total for any auction
in the category in Europe (£137,459,750, sold 92% by lot), and combined
with the Impressionist and Modern sales, ensured the series was up 24%
on the equivalent sales in 2017. Claude Monet's La Gare Saint-Lazare,
vue extérieure was a highlight of the June, Impressionist and Modern Art
evening sale, realising £24,983,750 in London. During the same week, the
Modern British Art evening and day sales achieved the highest total for
the category, realising £32,689,125, with sell-through rates for the
evening sale of 94% by lot. In the Paris saleroom, eleven world auction
records were set, and due to the success of the Hessel and pre-Columbian
Pregogine sales, Christie's led the sale of single-owner collections in
France. The annual Dubai sale in March marked the highest total for a
watch sale in the region. During Christie's 60th anniversary year in
Italy, the April Milan auction was 91% by lot, with Achrome by Piero
Manzoni selling for €2,970,000, becoming the most expensive work of
Post-War Art ever sold at auction in Italy. The May Magnificent Jewels
sale held in Geneva saw 16 lots selling for over 1 million, with the
sale achieving CHF81,620,500, and the Wine auction making CHF4,290,960,
the highest result in the category for 4 years, 95% sold by lot. A new
European record for a handbag was set in London in June when a 2008
Hermès, Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 30 with 18k
White Gold & Diamond Hardware sold for £162,500.

A series of public exhibitions were held across the regions including
Beauties and Beasts: Making and Collecting Art in Germany in Berlin in
April, coinciding with Gallery Weekend Berlin; Sacred Noise in London in
June; works by Mathieu Lehanneur in Paris and Monte Carlo; a selling
exhibition by designer Michael Lau in Hong Kong in April; and Great
Beauty on Earth – Chiang Hsun's Art and Life in Shanghai in June. In
order to forge stronger partnerships with other industry players,
Christie's also partnered with three dealers who successfully showed
works during our Hong Kong May auctions.

Outlook for 2018

Current collection and consignment activity remains particularly strong
with the outlook continuing in this vein for the second half of 2018. In
London in September Christie's will offer the first part of the
visionary designer Michael S. Smith sale of Interiors, concluding in New
York later that month. Christie's three Shanghai sales will be held in
September. In Paris, sales of the collection of the late Juan de
Beistegui, including classical furniture, works of art, books and
jewellery, will be offered on 10th September to coincide with La
Biennale Paris. To celebrate Italian design during the London Design
Festival, Christie's will offer works by Pierluigi Giordano, Paolo Buffa
and Paolo Venini on 17th October. The Collection of Eugene V. Thaw,
advisor to David Rockefeller, will be sold in a dedicated Collection
sale on 30th October, with additional individual highlights offered
across Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, American Art and
Prints and Multiples sales in London and New York in October, November
and April 2019. The Estate's sale proceeds will benefit the Eugene V.
and Clare Thaw Charitable Trust.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!