After a tough economic year, several French auction firms have now released their sales figures for 2012.
Christie's France saw €193.5m of sales at
public auction. The increasingly important area of private sales,
which have been permitted in France since September 2011,
contributed a further €37.9m, producing a combined sales total of
This compares to a combined figure of
€205.4m for 2011 and represents an 12.7% increase making it the
best year for Christie's France since 2009 when the
Saint-Laurent/Bergé auction boosted their figures to
an as yet unrepeated €455m. Among Christie's key trends in 2012
were a 53% increase in online sales and an increase in non-French
purchasing with 77% of lots by value acquired by foreign
Sotheby's France, achieved €182m worth of
sales at public auction, a figure that was slightly down on the
€190m recorded for 2011 and what they described as "solid results
in a more difficult economic context". Sotheby's do not publish
separate private sales figures for their French operation but
reported an increase in private sales in line with results
worldwide and they also saw a dominance of foreign clientele with
77% of their lots going to countries outside France.
Artcurial recorded €144.2m in their public
auctions, a 13.5% increase over 2011. Private sales, which were not
included in this figure, comprised around 5% of their total.
This was another firm that saw significant growth in foreign buyers
who represented 67% of the total value of sales for this year.
Several firms who use Drouot for some or all
of their auctions also published their sales figures. Piasa racked up
€27.3m which represents a 20% increase on 2011 but is still some
way behind the €45m they managed in 2010 when they sold the Carasso
Beaussant Lefèvre recorded
€23.25m, 9% up on 2011, helped by two substantial paintings results
which were amongst the highest picture prices seen at Drouot last
year, while Aguttes, who sell at Drouot but also at Neuilly
just outside Paris and in Lyon, recorded a combined sales figure
for all these venues of €37.6m, a 2.76% increase over the previous
A substantial contribution to that figure
came from the marble bust of the Marquis de Gouvernet by Edmé
Bouchardon that was pre-empted by the Louvre for £3m (£2.5m) in
Out of town, the Ivoire group, which comprises ten auction firms
across the country, produced €77.2m worth of sales between
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