Year-over-year Mid-Season Sales Increase:
The year-over-year results above for all three houses during New York’s September 2013 sales of Contemporary art— $32.2m up 29% over the year before—give strong support to the claims by many that the middle market for Contemporary art is thriving.
Last week’s Mid-season sales in New York were remarkable for the record-setting sale of a Mark Bradford painting at $2.2m at Sotheby’s and the $800,000 spent on Oscar Murillo works spread across all three houses.
Beneath those attention-grabbing sales were many more solid transactions. Among those, the names that consistently sold well were hardly callow artists. Keith Haring scored strong sales at all three houses. There were good prices for Calders and Kenneth Noland works at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. So the demand for Contemporary art in the five- and low six-figure would seem to be very strong.
Christie’s seems to hold a particularly strong position in the field. Sotheby’s and Phillips saw respectable year-over-year increases of 12% and 13% respectively. But Christie’s sales this September were a whopping 62% greater than the previous year. (And the firm held an additional First Open in July that grossed $5.8m which doesn’t seem to have dampened demand.)