Christie’s released its half-year sales report Monday afternoon, recording £2.9 billion ($4.5 billion) in sales so far in 2015. This, according to Christie’s, is a new record for half-year sales for the auction house. It being late July and something of a slow news day, we dutifully report this record ourselves, archiving its existence for the foreseeable future.
That Christie’s has had a good year so far should come as no surprise given that, to borrow the wording from Christie’s press release, “curatorial and sales calendar innovation [resulted] in [the] highest sales week in history,” this being in reference to the May auctions in New York, which alone saw $1.72 billion in sales. (The “sales calendar innovation” in question was the addition of a Monday night sale, “Looking Forward to the Past,” where Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) sold for $179.3 million, the record–for now anyway–for a single work at auction.) In the report, the numbers break down like this:Auction Sales: £2.6 billion ($4 billion)
Online Sales: £9.9 million ($15.3 million)
Private Sales: £333 million ($515 million) (“Private Sales are on track for a record year,” according to Christie’s.)Postwar and contemporary art made £927.7 million ($1.4 billion), narrowly edging out Impressionist and modern Art, which made £771.6 million ($1.19 billion). In a statement, Patricia Barbizet, Christie’s CEO, said, “We look forward to more innovative collaboration across categories and regions during the second half [of 2015] and remain fluid as we challenge traditional models of auction for new models of selling art.”