Christie's International has announced worldwide sales for 2010 of USD5 billion, up by 53% on the previous year. The highest sales total in the 245 year history of the firm, the figure is also the highest sales total ever recorded in the industry.
What does this mean for the art market? That it has moved from bust to boom in a sluggish global economy? Or is it a timely reminder that the day Damien Hirst abandoned the traditional method of selling art, going straight to Sothebys instead where the auction smashed top estimates to reach a record total of USD125m, was also the day Lehman's declared itself insolvent, triggering the credit crisis that left the global economy teetering on the brink of calamity and sent the art market into freefall?
Image Roy Lichtenstein's Ohhh… Alright… which sold at Christies for USD42.6 million to an anonymous buyer on the phone.