“It’s an absolute document, not just for Christie’s however for the artwork market.” So mentioned Guillaume Cerutti, the public sale home’s chief government, of the $8.4bn racked up by the agency in 2022, at a press convention at present. “We’re in a difficult macro setting, however these figures present the resilience of the artwork market.”
Public sale gross sales accounted for $7.2bn of the entire and personal gross sales $1.2bn. Greater than 45,000 tons have been bought by Christie’s throughout the yr, with a powerful common sell-through fee of 85%.
Not like Sotheby’s, which mixed its actual property and basic automotive auctions with its high-quality artwork and luxurious gross sales for the primary time this yr, Cerutti famous how Christie’s are “purists”. He added: “Right here, we deal with artwork and luxurious, that are our major companies.”
Nice artwork, significantly works from the twentieth and twenty first centuries, contributed considerably to the agency’s backside line. Gross sales in that class alone totalled $6.2bn, a 21% rise on final yr. Luxurious items made $988m, up 2%; classics racked up $789m, up 37% on 2021; however Asian artwork was down 20% to $397m.
The buzzword for 2022 was collections. Cerutti described the Paul G. Allen sale, which fetched a record-breaking $1.6bn (although all successfully pre-sold by way of ensures), as “a defining second for the artwork market, for artwork and for philanthropy”—although Christie’s has nonetheless not introduced which charities will profit the sale.
That and different single-owner collections, resembling the primary sale devoted to the artist couple Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne within the US, contributed to a pointy rise (73%) in gross sales within the Americas, which racked up $4.55bn in whole. Christie’s France raised round $500m, its highest whole ever, with collections together with that of designer Hubert Givenchy once more elevating half the income. Spending in Asia, in the meantime, was down 20% to $833m—unsurprising in a yr nonetheless marred by Covid restrictions, significantly in Hong Kong and China.
Nonetheless, Asian collectors are nonetheless seen as key to development, significantly in terms of millennial consumers, 40% of whom got here from Asia in 2022. General, millennials accounted for 21% of worldwide consumers and generated 10% ($172m) of the entire world buy of latest artwork, with scorching younger artists together with Matthew Wong, Adrian Ghenie and Anna Weyant among the many favourites. An extra $110m was spent on watches, jewels, purses, trainers and wine. Proving the facility of digital, a rare 89% of consumers bought by way of on-line channels.
As purchasers search for extra certainty in a much less frothy market, ensures have been up 86% on 2021 (688 in 2022 versus 369 final yr). Although, as Cerutti famous, “ensures are fairly often in play for increased worth tons”, in order that they have been “not a defining issue within the excessive promote by fee”. Certainly, ensures accounted for simply 1.6% of all tons bought by Christie’s this yr; in 2021 this was 0.9%.
Waiting for 2023, Ben Gore, Christie’s chief working officer, described what is going to occur subsequent as “the trillion greenback query”. He famous how the agency has been grappling with inflation and the warfare in Ukraine amongst different headwinds. However, he mentioned: “The ability of what we do—with collections, with curation, with a powerful group—will take us by.”