Results released for the first six months of this year reveal auction sales grew 29% to £2.2bn and total sales rose 14% to £2.35bn at the firm.
This is an improvement on the same period a year ago when a dip in consignments led to a sharp fall in sales. However the 2017 number is still below the £2.9bn figure reported for the same period in 2015.
Chief executive Guillaume Cerutti said there was an increase in global demand and a stronger supply this year compared with 2016. He said: “We are encouraged by these results, and continue to adapt our operations to the new international context with the opening of our flagship new premises in Los Angeles.”
The wider art market in 2016 was characterised by a decline in supply, rather than a fall in demand. The sector was knocked by uncertainty ahead of the US election and the EU Referendum in the UK. Earlier this year the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report by Clare McAndrew found the value of sales at auctions in 2016 fell by 26% to an estimated $22.1bn.
Christie’s reported an increase in the number of works that sold for more than £10m at 38 lots in the first half of 2017, compared to 14 from the same period last year.
Private sales totalled £122.2m but this is below the previous year’s £322.1m.
Christie's chief auctioneer and global president Jussi Pylkkänen told ATG: "The market has certainly firmed up this year with growth in cities including in New York, London and Paris. It is really a sellers market as there are so many buyers. The sell through rates are the best I have seen in my entire career."
Christie’s half year results
rise in auction sales to £2.2bn
total sales rise to £2.35bn
auction sell-through rates
total spend online (combining winning bids made online plus amount raised from online-only sales)
online only sales
American Art online sale in May was the second highest total ever for an online-only sale at Christie’s
auction sales in the Americas, up 58%. In Europe sales reached £814.4m, up 11%. In Asia sales dipped 4% to £247.1m
increase in the number of new buyers spending more than £1m