Auction Market Rose to $7 Billion in Record First Half

  • Pablo Picasso's "Portrait de Femme (Dora Maar)" brought $22.6 million, including commission, at Christie's on May 6, 2014.

    Pablo Picasso's "Portrait de Femme (Dora Maar)" brought $22.6 million, including commission, at Christie's on May 6, 2014.

The global art auction market rose in value by 17 percent to a record $7 billion in the first half of 2014, according to Artprice, a French company which tracks art auction results worldwide, 

During the first six months of the year, art works sold at public auction brought a total $7.15 billion, above the $6.11 billion spent in the same period last year.

"The art market is hungry," Thierry Ehrmann, Artprice's president and founder, told AFP. "We have gone from 500,000 collectors in the post-war period to nearly 70 million 'art consumers' - art lovers and collectors - worldwide," he said.

The two biggest auction houses reported huge growth in sales figures. Christie’s broke sales records in the first half of 2014 with a total of $4.5 billion sold in the first six months, a 22% increase from last year. While Sotheby's did $3.1 billion in sales, including 47% growth in Asia at $490 million.

"Digital engagement and new buyers coming to the market have continued to drive growth; new clients represented 24 percent of all buyers and 15 percent of the sales total in the first half of 2014," Christie's said.

Last year was a record year for art, with auctions worth $12.17 billion. Worldwide art sales came to 47.4 billion euros ($65.9 billion), according to Arts Economics in a report released in March by the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) in Maastricht.

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