Today we have announced Christie’s 2010 half year art sales figures to the international media. These make good reading and are well ahead of expectations. As other markets have continued to fluctuate, we have witnessed a strong recovery as works of art continue to inspire.
In 2009, the challenge of supply contrasted with strong buyer demand leading to high sold rates but lower volumes. In 2010, increased vendor confidence has fuelled supply and we have achieved key sales of masterpieces at new price levels.
So what defines a great work of art? Why does it inspire? I think it is quite simple. It speaks to you across time, across culture and across continents.
There have been many memorable moments. Notably in May, Christie’s sold the most expensive work of art ever at auction when the Brody Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, realised $106.5 million in New York. This outcome was not isolated; stellar results have not been confined to one category or one location. We have witnessed art market history in London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong; and seen new price levels in many areas including Asian art, Jewellery, Islamic works of art as well as contemporary art including from the Middle East and Asia. Prices achieved demonstrate a sustained commitment to collecting and to art as a store of value. Well done to everyone who has helped in achieving these results.
The international interest our sales have generated bodes well for the rest of 2010. Notwithstanding this, we must approach the second half with caution as well as with optimism. The consignment environment remains demanding, the competition aggressive and the market is very measured in some areas. It is increasingly important to ensure our pricing is accurate, reflecting both buyer appetite and capacity.
As our company continues to develop, I want to take the opportunity to also acknowledge and congratulate all those who work in other areas of our business. In particular, congratulations to Christie’s Great Estates for securing several significant and high-profile pieces of business in the first half of 2010.
Thank you all – in every area of the business – for your individual contribution to these results. Everyone has worked very hard to achieve them, helping to ensure we remain in our position as the world’s leading art business.
Chief Executive Officer
See the Christie’s press release for more information: