Booming auctions paint a pretty picture for Christie's
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 18 July 2012
The record sale of a Mark Rothko painting helped drive auctioneer Christie's to its most successful first half, as investors continued to flock to art as a good place to put their cash.
The auction house's global sales hit £2.2bn in the first six months of 2012, up more than a tenth on a year earlier. The New York sale in May saw the auctioneer bring the hammer down on Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow for $86.8m (£53.8m), the largest sum paid in auction for a post-war work.
The following month in London a buyer paid £23.5m for Yves Klein's Le rose du bleu, a record for the artist.
The high end of the auction market has remained remarkably strong. Rival Sotheby's sold Edvard Munch's The Scream for $119.9m, the most paid at auction, just a week before the Rothko sale.
Steven Murphy, chief executive of Christie's, said the soaring sales were powered by a "growing worldwide demand for art". Almost 20 per cent of bids were placed by new clients, with bidders registered from 124 countries.
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