Business / Economy

Record sales for Christie's in 2013

By Lin Qi ( Updated: 2014-02-07 15:11

Christie's had record art sales of $7.13 billion in 2013, prompted by a 30 percent increase in new buyers including strong participation from growing markets such as China.

Along with the auction house's extended presence in China and India, its Asian art sales experienced continuous demand to gross $940.6 million — a 42 percent increase. More Chinese buyers flaunted their purchasing power by contributing 22 percent to Christie's global sales, a 63 percent increase.

Following a positive response to its inaugural Shanghai auction, Christie's debut spring sales on the Chinese mainland will be held in April and feature 20th-century Asian art and a contemporary section.

Christie's online-only channel, the sales from which totaled $20.8 million, showed great potential for attracting new buyers with registrations from more than 100 countries. Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-ki's painting 09.05.61 was sold at the highest price for a work of art via the online bidding platform Christie's LIVE, at HK$13.2 million ($1.7 million).

The "star" category, post-war and contemporary art, had an impressive year with total sales of $2 billion, and generated seven of Christie's top 10 highest-grossing lots. Among them, Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud realized $142.405 million, a world auction record for any work of art.

"We continue to see a surge in interest across categories and across the globe, fuelled in large part by the online platform enabling greater connectivity between buyers, sellers and the objects of their pursuit," said Christie's chief executive officer Steven Murphy.

He said the company's strategy to invest in emerging markets such as China and promising channels including the private sale sector and online sales has guaranteed its growth. They also plan to attract new buyers to purchasing art via auctions, exhibitions and online sales.

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