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Christie’s posts healthy sales growth

Auction house announces a 26% increase in sales, buoyed by Abu Dhabi’s $450m purchase of a da Vinci masterpiece

Gulf News

Dubai: Christie’s, the British auction house that holds the distinction of selling the most expensive painting ever auctioned, has announced a total global sales increase of 26 per cent for 2017.

The firm increased its sales to £5.1 billion ($6.6 billion; Dh26.43 billion), led by the record breaking November auction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, selling for $450.3 million (£342.2 million) in New York.

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism announced in December that it had acquired Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World). The work, hailed as one of the greatest artistic rediscoveries of the last 100 years, will go on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi, alongside another da Vinci masterpiece, La Belle Ferronnière, which is currently on loan from musée du Louvre.

The increased supply of masterpieces, a grade used by auction houses to judge a piece of art’s historical importance, met with continued demand as Christie’s global auction sales increased 38 per cent to £4.6 billion ($5.9 billion).

Globally, the Americas saw the biggest uptick in sales, increasing to £2.5 billion, up 68 per cent, followed by sales in Europe and the Middle East which totalled £1.5 billion, up 16 per cent, while sales in Asia totalled £582.9 million, up 11 per cent.

Auction sales led the growth, totalling £4.6 billion, up 38 per cent, with online sales reaching £55.9 million, up 12 per cent.

Christie’s said that this reflected clients’ increasing interest in this platform during 2017.

Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s chief executive, said in a statement: “2017 has been a year to remember for Christie’s, both for its record growth of 26 per cent and some unforgettable moments, notably the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi in New York, and also because of decisive action we have taken to prepare for the future. In 2018, we will focus on, continuing to expand our global client base and improving services to our customers, especially online.”

He added: “2018 Spring sales are promising, especially with the prospect of the sale of the Rockefeller collection Christie’s has been entrusted with, and we are therefore looking forward to the year ahead with confidence.”