Art auction revenue increased in 2017 – Robb Report

Amid a lackluster financial market backdrop in February, global auction figures rose significantly in 2017 for major auction houses, with sales led by Christie’s at $5.9 billion, Sotheby’s at $4.7 billion. dollars and a distant third Phillips at $625.4 million. In this same pecking order, Christie’s figures increased by 33%, Sotheby’s by 13.1% and Phillips by 25%.

Although primarily a coin and collectibles company, Dallas-based Heritage

Auctions totaled $815 million, down from $850 million in 2016, due to a weaker U.S. coin market.

Keeping Heritage out of that percentage mix, 29.3% of those totals came from the post-war and contemporary art sector, according to London-based art data firm Art Tactic, while art impressionist and modern accounted for 21.5% of the cake. Another indicator of strength, Chinese and Asian art auctions accounted for 15.5% of the auction market in 2017, up 21% from 2016.

You don’t have to look far to see how Christie’s has maintained its market-leading position since capturing seven of the 10 most expensive works of art sold in 2017, including the rarefied 16th-century painting by Leonardo DeVinci. Salvator Mundi, which grossed a jaw-dropping $450.3 million; The Dappled Sun by Vincent van Gogh Plowman in a field (1889), sold for $81.3 million; and Fernand Léger’s modernist masterpiece Contrast of shapes (1913), sold for $70 million.

Post-war, Christie’s sold Francis Bacon’s expressionist triptych Three studies for a portrait of George Dyer (1963) for $51.7 million, Cy Twombly’s lyric Leda and the Swan (1962) for $52.8 million, and Andy Warhol’s Leonardo inspired and appropriated Sixty Last Suppers (1986) for $60.8 million.

Andy Warhol’s massive canvas, a riff on Leonardo’s Last Supper (1495-1498), sold for $60.8 million at Christie’s in New York in November 2017.

Photo: Courtesy of Christie’s

Although lagging behind its great rival, Sotheby’s had plenty to brag about, especially Jean-Michel Basquiat’s record-breaking $110.5 million masterpiece from 1982, Untitled, which was sold to Japanese e-commerce billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and ranks as the most expensive artwork sold by an American artist.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1982

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s monumental canvas sold for an artist record $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York in May 2017.

Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Other market laurels include Gustav Klimt’s radiant oil-on-canvas landscape Bauerngarten (1907), which grossed $59.3 million, and Wassily Kandinsky’s Dynamic Abstraction Bild mit Weissen Linien (Painting with White Lines) (1913), which grossed $41.6 million.

Sotheby’s also marked with Asian art, led by the very rare 900-year-old Ru Guanyao brushwasher, a Northern Song dynasty ceramic vessel bearing an intense bluish-green glaze which sold for 37, $7 million in the company’s Hong Kong auction house, boosting its Asian auction total to $850 million for the year.

On the classic car front, RM Sotheby’s recorded worldwide sales totaling $526 million for the year, led by a race-proven 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 that fetched $22.6 million, a record for any UK car sold at auction and the highest price for any car sold at auction in 2017.

There was also plenty of action at Russian private boutique Phillips, which also increased its non-auction private sales output to $83.5 million for the year, a healthy 23% increase from 2016.

Back in the auction arena, Phillips sold Peter Doig’s stunning and cinematic 1991 landscape for a record $28.8 million along with a double-sided painted bronze sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein, Woman: sunlight, moonlight (1996), for $10.3 million – a record for the artist in this medium. These 20th Century and Contemporary Art sales brought in $421.8 million for the house, a 32% increase over 2016. The house also sold the iconic Rolex “Daytona” wristwatch. by Paul Newman for a staggering $17.8 million, a world record price for any wristwatch at auction, helping it secure its market share in this burgeoning category.

Cheyenne Westphal, newly installed Chairman of Phillips and former contemporary art rainmaker for Sotheby’s, said: “Our results reflect growing confidence in the market as collectors respond positively to our curated and thoughtful sales.

Returning to the private sales arena – an important and prestigious area for auction houses as they compete with private galleries – Christie’s $611.8 million tally fell 35% for the year. It makes sense in the sense that nothing comes close to the joint sale of the business with the Rothschild family in 2016, when they sold two portraits of Rembrandt van Rijn from 1634 to the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum for 160 million dollars. euros (about 197.8 million dollars), the cost of which the museums will share. Christie’s is convinced that these figures will increase this year since the house has returned to a remuneration system for its globe-trotting specialists.

“For me,” said Marc Porter, Christie’s President for the Americas, who recently returned home after a very brief stay at Sotheby’s, “the most exciting development of the year has been the continued confidence in the market This phenomenon of spending these huge sums of money on the rarest and the best is true.

Sotheby’s will release its private sales figures in the next fiscal quarter, so the world will have to wait and see if 2017 exceeds the $640 million sold in 2016.

Tad Smith, CEO of Sotheby’s, is also confident for 2018, particularly in light of the company’s ability to attract new customers across a range of sales categories, a desirable development which “continues to have a tendency to the rise”.

Laura J. Boyer