Antiques Trade Gazette offers some stats on Parisian art sales that show the French market resisting the depths of the US and UK markets. Sales in Paris were off 20% in 2009. Even without the massive YSL/Bergé sale, the drop was far from what the rest of the market witnessed:
Christie’s, whose sales of 455.2m euros (£410m) were treble their 2008 total, regained the top spot they have held with one exception since 2002 (the first full year they and Sotheby’s were allowed to sell in France). Excluding the Bergé/St-Laurent sale, that total would have read 112.8m euros (£101.6m), a drop of 25 per cent – prompting Christie’s French boss François Curiel to observe that: “We’re back at 2005 levels, before the upsurge and speculative bubble.”
Even without the Bergé/St-Laurent sale, Christie’s would still have regained the top spot they lost in 2008 to Sotheby’s, whose 98m euros (£88m) total was a 37 per cent fall (albeit after successive annual hikes of 92 and 30 per cent). At both firms, foreign buyers accounted for over three-quarters of turnover.
Of the leading French firms, Artcurial resisted best, consolidating their third position with sales of 81m euros (£73m), down a relatively modest 13 per cent: a shortfall largely accounted for by a 9m euros (25 per cent) drop in sales of modern and contemporary art.
Auction Sales Drop an Average of 20% in Paris (Antiques Trade Gazette)