Total sales at Christie’s in 2015 couldn’t match the heights of 2014, the auction house announced today. The aggregate haul came to $7.4 billion, which is down 5 percent compared to the previous year.
The total is still the second-highest year-long sales figure in the history of Christie’s, and while the postwar and contemporary market couldn’t match its performance in 2014, the Impressionist and modern market lit up, increasing 47 percent for a total of $2 billion.
That sector’s growth and aggregate haul was highlighted by a few blockbuster sales that, when taken together, constitute a decent chunk of the entire sales total. In May, Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) (1955) sold for $179.3 million and Alberto Giacometti’s L’homme au Doigte (1947) went for $141.2 million, breaking auction sales records for the most expensive painting and most expensive sculpture, respectively. In November, Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu Couché (1917–18) sold for $170.4 million. When combined, those three sales accounted for $490.9 million, nearly a quarter of the Impressionist and modern sales total.
Unlike Sotheby’s, which is publicly traded, Christie’s does not have to disclose profitability. And while the house’s bitter rival will not announce its 2015 totals until next month, Sotheby’s recently addressed its disappointing fourth quarter, which brought losses between $10 million and $19 million. Earlier this month, Sotheby’s paid $50 million, with $35 million more promised if goals are reached, to acquire Art Agency, Partners, an art advisory firm founded by Amy Cappellazzo, formerly of Christie’s.