announces worldwide sales for the first half of 2012 of £2.2 billion/ $3.5 billion, up 13% by £ (11% by $) compared to the same period last year (figures include buyers premium). This includes private sales of £413.4 million / $661.5 million, an increase of 53% by £ (50% by $) on the same period last yeari, and represents the highest total for a corresponding period in company and art market history.
Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Christies states: Weve seen a steady increase in sales at Christies driven by three key factors: growing worldwide demand for art, the quality and curation of important consignments and our consistency in offering the best service and broadest choice to our clients. Our truly global teams now serve a growing number of collectors from all around the world: in person and online, as clients are increasingly flexible about choosing how and where to acquire works of art. Christies investment in specialist knowledge across many categories allows us to offer a broad range of art at different price levels. We are dedicated to honouring our traditional values and we look to innovatively serve our clients - playing the role of a vibrant hub for all those who are passionate about art.
Post-War and Contemporary art led the categories with auction sales of £576.1 million / $921.8 million an increase of 34% by £ (31% by $) over the corresponding period last year. The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York on 8 May realised $388.5 million (£240.9 million) becoming the most valuable auction ever held in the category. The corresponding auction in London on 27 June realised £132.8 million ($207.3 million) becoming the most valuable auction ever held in the category in Europe.
The highest price for the period at Christies was paid for Mark Rothkos Orange, Red, Yellow which sold on 8 May in New York for $86,882,500 / ₤53,867,150, a world record price for any contemporary work of art sold at auction.
In the first six months of 2012, Christies sold 340 works at auction for over $1 million (376 in the same period 2011) and 26 for over $10 million (18 in the same period 2011). Average sold rates (by lot) stayed at 79%, on a par with the previous 2 years. The market at more accessible price levels also performed strongly; Christies South Kensington saleroom, which offers works of art from under £1,000, built on two consecutive years of record sales, recording its highest ever total for a corresponding period.
Christies continues to welcome new collectors; 19% of all registered bids at global auctions were placed by new clients. Christies also continues to see global collectors convene at international auctions; bidders registered from 124 countries and while sale totals decreased from the record levels of 2011 for Asian art and auction sales in Hong Kong, there was a 31% increase in Asian clients registering to bid in New York and London.
Christies continue to invest in online initiatives making the art market increasingly accessible. In the first six months of 2012, online continued to attract new clients and prompt greater interactive engagement. The website, www.christies.com, welcomed 20% more unique visitors than the corresponding period in 2011. There was a 15% increase in the number of clients bidding via the internet on Christies LIVE. Looking forward, Christies will launch the first in a series of online-only auctions for a global collecting category in August with a sale of fine and rare wines.
Steven P. Murphy continues: The first six months of the year have demonstrated a healthy market that responds to great art and intelligent pricing. We look forward to continuing to build on the traditions of Christies, while anticipating and executing opportunities in the expanding world of art. As an extension of our core auction business, we have invested in private sales, which continues to grow in demand from our clients and which is building at a steady rate. In addition, and reflecting the profound impact of the internet, we will launch the first in a series of online-only auctions for a global collecting category in August with a sale of fine and rare wines. It promises to be a great second half of the year.
The second half of the year began strongly with the evening auction of Old Master and British Paintings on 3 July which realised £85.1 million / $133.5 million a record total for the category. The sale was led by John Constables The Lock which realised £22.4 million / $35.2 million a record price for the artist at auction. The Exceptional Sale 2012, which presented the finest examples of furniture and decorative art, took place on the evening of 5 July in London and realised £18.1 million / $28.2 million.
Highlights already confirmed for the coming months:
Coinciding with the Olympic Games, Christies South Kensington will present The London Sale. An extended public exhibition will start on 27 July and run through to the auction on 3 September. The exhibition and sale will present over 150 lots synonymous with London, from paintings and topographical views, through to memorabilia, fashion, and an original double-decker Routemaster Bus.
On 6 August, Christies will launch its first online-exclusive sale for a global collecting category with Signature Cellars, an auction of fine and rare wines. As the first sale in a planned series of online-only auctions that will run in parallel to the companys traditional saleroom-based auctions, the launch marks the next major step in the firms market-leading global e-commerce strategy. Signature Cellars will open for bidding on August 6 and run through August 20. All browsing and bidding for individual lots will be done completely online, with the click of a mouse.
In September 2012, coinciding with the Paris Biennale, Christies will present two exciting events. From 11 September to 3 October 2012, Christies will host an exhibition of sculptures and works of art from the private Collection of Hubert de Givenchy. Inspired by the engravings of François Girardon, the sculptor of Louis XIV, the exhibition will comprise ten bronzes, marble busts, and gilt-bronze and marble vases, and the walls will echo Girardons engravings of 1708. On 27 September 2012, Christies Paris will offer the Collection of Mrs. Hélène Rochas. The pre-sale exhibition will be open to the public from 11 to 26 September.
Christie's New York Fall Asian Art Week will be held from 11-14 September. Christie's will bring together rare and superb examples of works of Asian art from China, Japan, Korea, India and beyond. Following the success of our previous Spring Asian Arts Week, this season will also offer exemplary works of remarkable quality, exceptional rarity and outstanding beauty from some of the most respected private collections of our time. Highlights include a selection of Ming and Qing porcelains from a Princeton, New Jersey Collection with estimates ranging from $50,000 - $60,000; a superb green jade brush pot, Bitong , Qianlong Period, (1736-1795), estimate: $500,000-800,000; Tree and three figures, by Park Sookeun (1914-1965), painted in 1962, estimate: $600,000 - 800,000; Untitled by Subodh Gupta (b. 1964), estimate: $200,000 - 300,000; and a pair of bronze and mixed-metal vases, Meiji Period (late 19th Century), estimate : $70,000 - 90,000.