Late December is when the Paris rooms traditionally produce their ‘bilan’ or annual sales figures. For 2011, as in 2010, there remain three front runners who are way ahead of the others.
Sotheby's and Christie's are pretty close.
At €190m, Sotheby's France figures represent a nine per cent increase over 2010. Christie's edged ahead of their competitors, recording sales of €199m in France, a 13 per cent increase and their best figures since 2009 when the Yves Saint Laurent sale put them way out in front at an exceptional €455m. While the Saint Laurent sale would be a hard act to follow, Christie's figures were given a boost by the Château de Gourdon sales which contributed €43.8m.
In terms of individual results, the big two produced plenty of the Paris market's top prices, with 29 lots surpassing the €1m level at Sotheby's and 21 at Christie's.
Art Curial, who registered sales of €127m, held on to their third position. This represents a 23 per cent increase on the €102.8m recorded in 2010, impressive in the context of last year but slightly less than the 28 per cent increase seen the year before. They also saw seven results topping the €1m mark.
Drouot, the communal auction facility in the city centre used by most Paris auctioneers, which reorganised its management structure last summer, recorded an eight per cent increase to €475m (€440m in 2010).
Piasa, who led the Drouot roll-call of auctioneers in 2010 at €45m, thanks to results like their €9m Daniel Carasso Collection, were down this time on €23.5m (although that figure does not include any of the €10.2m Fabius Frères sale that Piasa held in association with Sotheby's).
Other Drouot totals for 2011 include Gros et Delettrez on €38m (thanks in no small part to the €23.7m garnered from the Paul Louis Weiller collection); Millon on €38.7m (Paris and Swiss figures combined), Pierre Bergé & Associés on €38.3m (Paris and Brussels operations combined), and Beaussant Lefevre on €21.3m.
Tajan recorded €42.6m of sales at Drouot, their Espace Tajan and Monaco, a 12 per cent increase that was boosted by an €8m sale of the collection of Jorge de Brito in October.
Aguttes' sales at Drouot, Neuilly and Lyon Brotteaux combined yielded €36.6m, a nine per cent increase over 2010.
In a year where 15 of their individual lots surpassed the €1m level, Drouot's top individual price was the premium-inclusive €2.91m for a Mayan figure of a seated divinity from the H Law Collection sold by Binoche & Giquello in March.
Beyond the French capital, the Ivoiregroup, which has 12 salerooms around the country, recorded €80.4m.
All figures quoted are premium-inclusive.