Christie’s has released its results for the first half of 2009 and the numbers offer a fascinating picture of the entire art market. The auction house did $1.8 billion in business from January to June. That’s a 35% drop from the previous year but given the disparity between the two economic extremes of a the commodities bubble in early 2008 and the worldwide economic collapse in 2009, that 35% is a good number.
Of course, the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale was a strong mitigating factor. But Christie’s offers some other fascinating signs of health.
- The first is a global sell-through rate of 78.3%
- Private sales have declined less than auctions with Haunch of Venison recording $199.7m in sales which was only off by 13% over the same period in 2008
- The drop in business was not even. The Americas saw the worst of it with sales falling 51%; Asian and the Middle East were next with 49% drops; but the UK & Europe held up better (because of YSL) with a 23% drop.
- The US remains the single biggest location for sales with $462.9m
- Even without the YSL sale, Impressionist and Modern Art would be the highest value category with $620.7m in sales against $192.3m for Post-War & Contemporary Art
Here are all of the sale categories in order:
• Impressionist & Modern Art $620.7m
• Post-War & Contemporary Art $192.3 m
• Asian Art $166.9 m
• Jewellery, Jadeite, Watches $129.6 m
• European Furniture $98.2 m
• Old Masters & 19th Century Art $88.7 m
• 20th Century Decorative Arts $90.1 m
• Books & Manuscripts $24.7 m
• American Paintings $20.4 m
• Russian Paintings & Works of Art $19.9 m
• Latin American Art $14.3 m
• British & Irish Art $9.7 m
• Prints $5.8 m