Published: August 15, 2000
Christie’s International Auction Sales Total $1.172 Billion
January to June Results Increase 16 Percent over Same Period Last Year
LONDON, ENGLAND – Christie’s International announced August 14 worldwide auction sales totaling $1.172 billion for the first six months of 2000, January 1 through June 30. These figures represent an increase of 16 percent in dollars on the first half of 1999. In Christie’s salerooms around the world 124 lots sold for more than $1 million, led by the top lot of the season, Picasso’s “Nature morte aux tulipes,” which realized $28,606,000 at the firm’s spring sale of Twentieth Century Art at Rockefeller Center.
Sales in several categories, including Nineteenth and Twentieth Century art, Old Master paintings, jewelry, Asian art and European and American furniture were instrumental to these strong results.
“A number of sales reached record-breaking totals,” said Edward J. Dolman, chief executive officer. “Sales were remarkably strong throughout the United States and Europe, most notably at Christie’s London, as well as in Asia, contributing to our overall financial success. We look forward to the continued strength of the art market as we approach the fall sales season and we will continue to expand our market with inaugural sales in France and new developments on christies.com.”
European sales topped $492 million including a total of $287 million achieved by King Street alone. Sales in the United States totaled $593 million, up 12 percent in dollars from 1999, and Asian and Australian sales realized $88 million, a 84 percent increase over the same period last year.
The first half of the year also saw a newly expanded www.christies.com. Christie’s launched LotFinder(r), on online search engine that allows visitors to browse sale catalogues and view images of works of art offered at Christie’s auctions around the world, which the firm is now receiving almost 8,000 visitors daily. A new online bidding feature will be launched later this year.
Christie’s also introduced live webcasts of their sales. Webcasts of the New York evening sales of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, Twentieth Century and Contemporary art attracted 20,000 viewers of christies.com. The webcasts boasted an average viewer time of 27 minutes, with over 5,000 viewers (25 percent) remaining on Christie’s web site for 49 minutes or longer.
New programming features on www.christies.com include video interviews with Christie’s specialists and artists such as Jeff Koons, and virtual tours of collections and exhibitions.
In March, Christie’s Paris celebrated the grand opening of its new premises on Avenue Matignon, centrally located in the 8th arrondissement, between the Champs Elysees and Rue du Faubourg St Honore. The building, which was originally commissioned by the French couture house Callot Soeurs, features newly renovated galleries, auction facilities, offices and warehouse space. French laws that will allow foreign auction houses to conduct sales in France will be implemented shortly. Christie’s is anticipating sales in the spring of 2001.
The Nineteenth and Twentieth Century art department’s sales around the world realized a total of $418 million, an increase of 23 percent in dollars over the first half of 1999. Strong sales of Impressionist and Nineteenth Century art, Twentieth Century art and Contemporary art in New York and London confirmed the health of this key area of the market.
Impressionist and Nineteenth Century art realized $234 million in the first half of 2000, an increase of 49 percent in dollars on $157 million over the first half of 1999.
Christie’s Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art sales in New York achieved $122 million. In the evening sale, 23 works sold for over $1 million, led by Monet’s “Nympheas” of 1906, which sold for $20,960,000.
London’s Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art sales totaled $52.1 million in June. The evening sale was 87 percent sold by lot and 95 percent by value, with the Cezanne “Still Life with Fruit and Pot of Ginger” (circa 1895) fetching $18.2 million.
Sales of Twentieth Century art worldwide totaled $149 million with sales in New York, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam and Milan.
Christie’s New York sales of Twentieth Century art at Rockefeller Center in May realized $86.7 million. The evening sale saw Pablo Picasso’s rapturous portrait “Nature Morte aux tulipes” (1932) fetch $28,606,000.
Christie’s London sales of Twentieth Century art realized $34 million. The evening sale was led by Francis Bacon’s “Study for Portrait (Man Screaming)” (1952), which sold for $4,469,546.
International Contemporary art sales at Christie’s realized $35 million from January through June 2000, an increase of 79 percent in dollars on the same period last year. The sales of Contemporary art at Christie’s New York realized $20.3 million in May. The evening sale established 15 world records, including for Sigmar Polke, whose rare dot painting “Zwei Frauen” (1968) achieved $1,656,000.
Two days of contemporary art sales at Christie’s London in June realized a total of $8.9 million, the highest sale total ever achieved for this category in London.
Christie’s international jewelry sales achieved a total of $121 million, an increase of 19 percent in dollars over the same period in 1999. Strong sales in London, Geneva, Amsterdam, Rome, St Moritz, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Los Angeles were reported.
Sales of European Furniture and Decorative Arts in London, New York, Monaco and Amsterdam realized $117.5 million. In New York, Continental furniture, tapestries, works of art and carpets in March and important French and Continental furniture, porcelain and carpets realized a total of $10.5 million.
Christie’s Monaco’s sale of furniture and works of art from The Lagerfeld Collection achieved $21.7 million. Combined with the sale of Old Master paintings in New York, The Lagerfeld Collection realized a total of $38.9 million.
Christie’s Old Master paintings and drawings sales led the market in this category for the first half of 2000, realizing $78.9 million. Important Old Master paintings at Christie’s New York in January realized $39.3 million, making it the firm’s most successful Old Master Paintings sale in over ten years. The sale set world auction records for works by Tiepolo, Ludovico Carracci and Maratta. The Lagerfeld Collection of Old Master Pictures in May at Christie’s New York realized a total of $7.2 million with 80 percent of the lots going to private collectors.
International sales of Asian Art totaled $75 million between January and June 2000, an increase of 56 percent in dollars over the same period last year.
The second annual sales of British and Irish art at Christie’s London in June realized a combined total of $66 million, more than doubling last year’s results.
American paintings sales at Christie’s New York totaled $40.6 million, an increase of 8 percent in dollars over the same period last year. The May sale at Rockefeller Center realized $33.1 million, highest total for a various-owner sale of American paintings in Christie’s history. Record-breaking results were achieved for masterpieces by Fitz Hugh Lane and James McNeill Whistler.
Christie’s international books and manuscripts sales totaled $40.4 million in the first half of 2000, an eight percent increase in dollars over the same period in 1999. Important natural history books at Rockefeller center, which realized $10.3 million, was led by The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon, which fetched $8,802,500, a new world auction record for a printed book.
Christie’s worldwide spring sales of Twentieth Century decorative arts realized a total of $29.7 million, including $11.8 million total for the spring sales of Twentieth Century decorative arts and masterworks: 1900-2000 at Christie’s New York.
Wine sales achieved an international total of $21.2 million.
Christie’s international antiques sales achieved $16.5 million. The June sales at Rockefeller Center achieved $14.9 million, the highest total ever for any auction of antiquities worldwide, and established new world records for a Hellenistic marble statue and for a Greek red-figured vase.
American furniture and decorative arts sales, including American silver, totaled $15.7 million. A successful sale of important American furniture, silver, prints, folk art and decorative arts at Rockefeller Center in January realized $11.4 million, with the 1679 Pope valuables cabinet selling for $2,422,500, the highest price ever for a piece of Seventeenth Century American furniture.
Photographs at Christie’s in the first half of 2000 totaled $7.6 million with international sales establishing new records in the currently strong market. Spring sales of photographs in New York totaled $5.6 million and established new world records for such artists as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Karl F. Struss and Robert Frank.
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