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Across the globe, Christie’s salerooms sold 136 works of art for more than $1m, led by Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu couché (sur le côté gauche), which fetched £14.3m ($24m) at Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on November 4.

On sales – though not necessarily on profits – Christie’s have made what is perhaps their biggest mark on the French market. In 2002, their first full year of sales in Paris, Christie’s outsold Sotheby’s by €57.1m to €48.7m, a difference of 15 per cent. In 2003, however, Christie’s pulled well clear of Sotheby’s, posting sales of €80.3m as against €38.5m – more than double.

The firm are also exploring new markets, with a display of highlights from their New York Impressionist & Modern Art sale (May 4) in Shanghai, China.

As a wholly owned private firm, Christie’s, unlike Sotheby’s, do not publish a full set of results for public consumption.