During the past year, Christie’s saw auction prices reach a new high, but despite that they have announced a 5% drop.
After a great year which included the sale of Amedeo Modigliani’s painting Nu couché, which sold for $170,4 million, Christie’s announced total sales down 5% over the previous year.
In its statement Christie’s reports that impressionist and modern art grew by 47% to $2 billion. Modern art now includes modern British art, American paintings and Latin American paintings. Contemporary and postwar art sales dropped 20%, whilst Asian art was up 2%. There was also an increase in Chinese buyers over the past year.
The categories Christie’s saw decline are as follows: Old Master paintings, 19th century and Russian art and private sales. Even if the company has seen a decline, they stated both that the results for 2015 were the second highest in company history and that they are strongly motivated to expand upon their successes in 2016.
Christie’s deputy chief executive said that « at the moment, we’ve entered the year with the wind in our sails ». Stephen Brooks also reported an important statistic about Christie’s e-commerce: 45% of their buyers was under 45. This would seem to show an increase in young people interested in investing in art. To satisfy this demand, auction houses need to show creativity, and to develop new digital strategies.