Christie’s have released the figures for art sales for the year ending December 2014. This figure is the highest total for Christie’s or any art company in the history of the market. The final tally reports £5.1 billion, up 12% ($8.4 billion, up 17%). Sales figures were driven by an increase in activity across all geographies and strong sales of works of the highest quality, particularly in the Post-War & Contemporary Art, Impressionist & Modern Art and Jewellery departments. All sales platforms increased during 2014 with Auction sales up 10% to £4.2 billion ($6.8 billion, up 15%), Private Sales totalling £916.1 million up 20% ($1.5 billion, up 26%) and eCommerce sales realising £21.4 million, up 54% ($35.1 million, up 60%).
“Christie’s sales grew by 12% during 2014 and the team has succeeded by focusing on the art and connecting it to a growing global audience,” said Patricia Barbizet, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s. “We continue to lead the art market by offering the broadest opportunity to collectors globally. The top end of the market grew during the year as evidenced by the 48% increase in works sold above $10 million. Our strategy to develop in new markets such as China and India and in new channels such as Private Sales and eCommerce, has further propelled the global growth of our business. Our focus remains on serving our clients whenever and however they choose to connect with art, through auctions, exhibitions or online.”
Strong performances were recorded across all collecting c ategories Post-War and Contemporary Art had its best year ever with total sales of £1.7 billion ($2.8 billion) up 33% on 2013 (39% in $). This made a significant contribution to the results for 2014 and was led by Christie’s Fall evening sale in New York which realised $852.9 million, the highest total ever for an auction in the history of the art market. The Impressionist and Modern Art department saw a 14% increase to £732.5 million ($1.2 billion up 19%) with strong sales across all locations highlighted by the sale of Edouard Manet’s Le Printemps (Springtime) for $65,125,000 to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A record year in luxury goods included Jewellery sales totalling £460.2 million ($754.7 million), a global year-on-year increase of 7% (11% in $), resulting in the 20th successive year of auction market leadership. Decorative Arts was up 9%, with the inaugural Exceptional sale in New York in December, realising $41.3 million, highlighted by a beautiful bronze sculpture by Adriaen de Vries bought by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for $27,885,000.
Auction sales continue to be the primary driver of activity with robust global growth of 10% year-on-year at £4.2 billion ($6.8 billion, up 15%). Christie’s sold 86 works of art for over $10 million each during 2014, up 48% and 870 lots were sold for over $1 million during the year, up 19%. Private Sales grew 20% totalling £916.1 million ($1.5 billion, up 26%). New exhibition spaces were opened in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai and a busy, creative schedule drew new clients to view well received shows including among others the Bad Shepherd in London’s Mayfair, The Year of the Horse shown in Hong Kong and Shanghai and works by Michele Oka Doner at Rockefeller Centre in New York. Online-Only Sales totalled £21.4 million ($35.1 million, up 60%), a 54% increase, driven by the 78 eCommerce sales held across 21 different categories. Buyers on the online platform came from 69 countries with 32% new to Christie’s and 42% of new buyers under the age of 45. The highest price for a work of art in the live auction room via Christie’s LIVETM was Tyeb Mehta’s (Untitled) Falling Bull which sold for $2.8 million in the India sale in December in Mumbai. Total sales for online buying via LIVETM and eCommerce were $178 million.
Christie’s series of Old Master sales to be held in New York at the end of January are led by a portrait by Caravaggio formerly from the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds and a masterpiece by Bronzino. A remarkable Cézanne landscape from Samuel Courtauld’s personal collection will be offered in the London Impressionist and Modern art sale in February alongside the most valuable grouping of Surrealist art to be offered at auction. In New York, the Ellsworth Collection, the largest private collection of Asian art ever to appear at auction, will be offered in March.