Published: August 17, 2004
Christie’s International reported worldwide sales totaling $1.253 billion for the first six months of 2004, an increase of 19 percent on last year’s figure of $947 million from the same period. This figure represents auction sales of $1.192 billion and private sales of $62 million.
In Christie’s salesrooms around the world, 99 works of art sold for more than $1 million, compared to 87 works sold during the same period last year.
Edward Dolman, chief executive officer, Christie’s International, commented “The success of our sales in Hong Kong, the record-breaking $104 million total of our postwar and contemporary art sales in New York, and the continued market dominance of Christie’s France, are proof that Christie’s business is strong.”
The spring 2004 sales of Impressionist and modern and postwar and contemporary art in New York totaled $204,580,825. The postwar and contemporary art evening sale on May 11 was the most successful sale of postwar and contemporary art ever, fetching $102,111,650 and established nine world auction records for artists, including Jackson Pollock, Ed Ruscha and Joan Mitchell.
The Doris Duke collection, sold to benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and offering jewelry, wines and the contents of several residences of the legendary American heiress, totaled $34.5 million. A series of sales was nearly 100 percent sold, while a group of works of art from the collection, offered in specialized sales, achieved what the gallery called “equally impressive results.”
Highlights included a world auction record for the French symbolist Odilon Redon at $3,815,50 and a world auction record for a Tiffany Dragonfly lamp at $903,500. A selection of Asian art from the collection will be part of Christie’s Asian art sales in September.
Asia Week, offering Chinese, Japanese and Korean and Indian and Southeast Asian art, achieved the highest sale total ever in this category for Christie’s New York at $20,061,100. The results of both the Chinese as well as the Indian and Southeast Asian art sales were the second highest ever achieved by those departments for a various owner sale.
The Americana sale in New York featured two rare discoveries from the Chippendale era – the Haraden-Ropes bombé chest of drawers and the Townsend family block and shell bureau table. Both of them broke records; the Haraden-Ropes piece at $2,023,500 and the Townsend family bureau at $1,911,500. The sale totaled $12,460,158.
The sale of Important American paintings, drawings and sculpture showcased a portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale. The painting sold for $6,167,500, not only setting a new world auction record for the artist but also for an American portrait.
The Crossroads guitar auction – Eric Clapton and Friends for the Crossroads Centre – placed Christie’s New York in the spotlight for guitars fans around the world. The sale realized $7,438,624 and established a new world auction record for a guitar with $959,500 for Clapton’s “Blackie.”
In the United Kingdom and Europe, the evening sales of Impressionist and modern and postwar and contemporary art totaled $121,496,370 and set several records, most notably for Lyonel Feininger’s “Zeitungleser (Newspaper Reader II),” which sold for $4,498,974. The Art of the Surreal, part of the evening sale series, realised its highest total ever at $17,096,591. The highest selling painting in the postwar and contemporary art field was a London scene by Lucien Freud, which made $3,817,986.
The Islamic Art week conducted in April brought a total of $24,834,238, surpassing all previous results for this category. The star of the sales was a Seventeenth Century Mughal jade-covered flask from the Clive of India Treasure, which sold for $5,210,209, a world auction record for any Indian work of art.
Several significant books and manuscript collections also performed at high levels. In March, the Halsted B. Vander Poel collection of English literature realized $3,782,311; in April, the Quentin Keynes collection Part I: The Important Travel Books and Manuscripts, fetched $6,181,216; and in May, a newly discovered collection of Conan Doyle rdf_Descriptions totaled $1,681,772.
The total result of the Paris salesroom was $55 million, an increase of nine percent on the same period in 2003. Highlights of the spring auction season were the sales of Chäteau de Gallerande ($2,161,893), Ancienne Collection de Madame Bernheim ($1,670,790) and Bibliothéque Daniel Filipacchi, a library of surrealist works ($7,087,226).
Christie’s Geneva saw an extraordinary result for its sale important watches and pocket watches in May. Achieving the highest total ever for any watch auction at Christie’s, $10,443,698, the sale also set various world auction records, notably $1,779,080 for a Patek Philippe platinum watch made for H. Graves Jr in 1930.
In May, Christie’s House Sales department organized the sale of works of art from the collection of antiques dealer Axel Vervoordt at Kasteel van’s-Gravenwezel, the residence of Vervoordt in Belgium. The sale realized nearly $7 million, doubling its presale estimate.
In Asia, the spring 2004 sales season in Hong Kong saw sales totaling $87,670,223, the highest seasonal total ever achieved at auction in Asia and a clear indication of the continuing growth of this rapidly evolving buyers’ market. The Imperial sale showcased an early Ming blue and white “Dragon” brushwasher, which sold for $5,322,688, a world auction record for Ming blue and white porcelain.
The series of Asian art sales, including imperial art, snuff bottles, Twentieth Century Chinese art and paintings totaled $56,123,000, a record total for Asian Art sales in Hong Kong.
The jewelry ($25,912,153) and watches ($5,725,070) sales were deemed successful.
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