February 29, 2012

Christie’s Elizabeth Taylor year

The prestigious auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s have, in their turn, recently made public their 2011 financial results. Both have claimed auction sales of USD 4.9 million, amount meaning, for both of them, a 14% increase over the previous years’ figures. However, it is behind the curtain, beyond the clamour and media attention of public auctioning that the real competition between the two is fiercely fought.

Because it is its private art sales that have brought Christie’s an excess of USD 808.6 million, a resounding 44% hike over the 2010 results. Moreover, this is how the total value of precious pieces of art and otherwise sold through the London auction house has amounted to over USD 5.7 billion.

From its privileged standing of high-end art auctioneer, Christie’s boasts a remarkable experience with and expertise in art and all of its forms – from haute couture dresses, to antique china. This is why, together with its own annual results, this true institution has been able to provide interesting insights into the most dynamic market trends. Contemporary pieces reign supreme, followed closely by Asian art, while impressionist and modern art share a loss in popularity, down to third place.

At the same time, Christie’s says there is visible a clear globalizing and refining of the public’s taste, knowledge and appreciation of rare and valuable pieces. The United States and Europe continue to amount to about 77% of global sales. Still, the Chinese and Russian buyers are steadily increasing and expanding their art collections.

Nonetheless, the undisputable gem of 2011 has been for Christie’s the Elizabeth Taylor collection. The amazing jewellery and other collector’s dream belongings of the iconic actress – from the miraculous Taj Mahal diamond to the famous portrait by the equally famous Andy Warhol – have all been auctioned here. And they brought Christie’s a truly glamorous year, all while raising for their owners over USD 183 million. Well, 183 million minus the obvious fees of the restorers, certifying experts and auction house, of course.

Photo credit: christies.com/elizabethtaylor