Auction data is in for 2013 and it points to significant shifts.
Christie's announced Wednesday that nearly one in three of its customers was new in 2013 and many came from emerging markets such as China. Sales were up 31% in the Americas, 30% in Hong Kong, 79% in Dubai and 36% in Asia and the Middle East, but down 12% in Europe.
This growth in customer base combined with a roster of masterworks for sale led the privately-held company to the highest annual result for any auction house in the history of the art market, totaling $7.13 billion, a 14% overall rise over the previous year.
Online-only sales came to $20.8 million in sales of works under $500,000, a tenfold increase over 2012. Both Christie's and rival Sotheby's took in another $1 billion in private sales.
Postwar and contemporary art were the heaviest hitters in 2013 with a number of astounding records pushing up totals. The most expensive artwork ever sold at auction was the $142.4 million paid for a Francis Bacon by Elaine Wynn, billionaire former wife of casino tycoon Steve Wynn.