SOTHEBY’S have posted $4.9bn in worldwide sales for 2011, marginally up on 2010. The United States remains the company's primary market, accounting for just over $1.9bn of sales, with the UK second at $1.5bn. Continental Europe yielded $527m, while Asia - largely Hong Kong-based sales - totalled $959m.
The company's biggest grossing sale of the
year was the $315.8m Contemporary art evening sale in New York on
November 9, followed by the $199.8m Impressionist and Modern art
evening sale that took place, also in New York, a week earlier.
Together they account for 10.5% of the entire year's sales
Dedicated Contemporary art sales, as a
whole, brought in around $860m-870m, while those focusing on
Impressionist and Modern art totalled around $1.48bn. Neither of
these figures, nor those for other specific disciplines, take into
account additional material that may have formed part of mixed
sales or single-owner collections.
Of the other leading disciplines, jewellery
made around $380m, Old Masters - paintings, prints, drawings and
sculpture - around $150m, Asian art around $165m and antiquities
close to $50m.
The importance of Chinese paintings and
works of art was clearly underlined by a total of more than
Further details of the company's results
have yet to be released, but the overall picture shows an
encouraging performance in the context of the severe global
downturn, reflecting the strength of the Far Eastern economies and
the attractiveness of fine art, jewellery and works of art as
alternative assets against the backdrop of weak stock and bond
Sotheby's are also reported to have moved to
protect their interests in the Chinese art market by naming and
shaming two non-payers.
Both Sotheby's and Christie's now require
mainland Chinese bidders to submit deposits when bidding at
significant levels in this area of the market.
Now a Financial Times report has revealed
that Sotheby's are suing two bidders who allegedly owe more than
HK$150m between them - and have taken the unprecedented move of
publicising the legal action.
The two, who are both said to have paid
deposits, have been named as Ma Dong, a man from the Daxing
district in Beijing, and Ren Chunxia, a woman with an address in
Jinan, eastern China.
Mr Ma is said to have bid successfully for
three paintings at just under HK$50m in total on October 4. The day
before Ren Chunxia reportedly bid a total of HK$45m for two oil
paintings by the Chinese master Wu Guanzhong. She is also being
pursued over a bid of HK$69m - a record sum - for a work by
abstract artist Zao Wou-ki, on the same day.
Further information has yet to be released on progress in the
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