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2018 WAS GOOD FOR CHRISTIE'S
20 February 2019
Category : MARKET

Christie's has announced that their 2018 sales totaled $7 billion (including 653.3 million in private transactions), up six percent from 2017, however below results achieved in 2014 ($8.4 billion) and 2015 ($7.4 billion). 

Online-only sales reached $87 million, 16 percent more than in 2017 with 32 percent of all buyers new to the auction house.

Last year, Christie's sold the collection of the late Peggy and David Rockefeller, which generated a total of $832.6 million, and the collection of the late travel magnate Barney Ebsworth, which made $323.1 million. Combined, they accounted for more than 16 percent of Christie's total reported sales.

Notably, both estates carried a financial guarantee, meaning they were essentially pre-sold ahead of time.Among the highest-priced works sold in 2018 were Edward Hopper's  Chop Suey (1929),  which achieved $91.9 million and David Hockney‘s poolside scene, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972), which went for $90.3 million, a price making Hockney the most expensive living artist at auction ahead of Jeff Koons.

Another record was the price of just under $31 million paid in October for a  gypsum relief of a Winged Genius (circa 883–859 BC) made for the palace of Ashurnasirpal II, marking the second-highest price ever paid for a work of ancient art.

Christie's said sales in Asia totaled $815.4 million, a five percent increase over 2017. The result was surprising in view of China's slow economic growth last year where auction sales declined by 16.2 percent in 2018.

Still, Asian buyers accounted for 25 percent of total global sales (including in New York and London) and more than half (57 percent) of their spending was for works outside of the Asian art sales category. On the other hand, sales fell eight percent, to $1.8 billion, in Europe and the Middle East, two regions experiencing both political and economic problems.

Meanwhile, Sotheby's posted preliminary global auction sales of $5.3 billion and private sales of $675 million for the first nine months of the year.

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