2008 in Auction Numbers

Kelly Crows wrap-up of the 2008 auction market contains these figures on Christie’s and Sotheby’s sales:

Sotheby’s said it auctioned about $4.82 billion of fine and decorative art last year, down nearly 11% from 2007. The 2008 total, aided by strong sales in the first half of the year, included $1.4 billion in contemporary art, up 4.5% from 2007; $1.1 billion in Impressionist and modern art, same as the year before; and $219 million in jewelry, down 25%.

Christie’s International PLC said it auctioned more than $4 billion, down roughly 20% from 2007. Closely held Christie’s said it would release full sales figures this month.

Given the lopsided nature of 2008, where the first half exceeded 2007 levels dramatically and the second half of the year dropped substantially, numbers for 2009 are likely to be much lower for the full year.

Art Imitates Crunch, With Few Exceptions (Wall Street Journal)