A Chinese face or two in the crowd at the world’s auction houses often means one thing: the gavel will fall on a price far beyond the seller’s wildest dreams.
Fierce bidding by Chinese buyers for a vase at a small London auctioneer in November, for example, drove the price up nearly 40 times beyond its estimate, from around $1.9 million to $70 million.
It was the highest price ever paid for a Chinese artwork sold at auction and equivalent to a huge lottery win for the sellers, who found the 18th Century Qianlong Emperor-era piece while clearing out a house after a relative died.
Christie’s notched up the biggest sales figures in the art auction industry’s history last year, the firm announced Thursday, with record global sales of $5 billion.
And Chinese collectors continued to increase their prominence in the auction rooms as the number of buyers from China, Taiwan and HK accounted for a fifth of the total.
Sales in 2010 were up 53 percent with the firm selling more than half the world’s works over $50 million, including the most expensive painting ever to sell at auction: Pablo Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust” for $106.5 million.
A painting of sunflowers and a nude by French artist Paul Gauguin is expected to fetch up to 10 million pounds at auction next month, Christie’s said Friday.
Gauguin’s Nature morte à l’Esperance, a still life painted in 1901 when he was living in Tahiti, will be the star lot of a sale of impressionist and modern art in London.
The painting was presented to the media on Friday, the first time it has been seen in public since 1989.
Christie’s International, the world’s leading art business, has launched its new, free App designed specifically for users of the Apple iPad.
The new App takes users on a tour of Christie’s upcoming auctions and enables “at a glance” browsing of hundreds of luxury items and objects to be sold in the company’s salerooms worldwide.
Christie’s offers over 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewelry, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more.
A large bronze sculpture of a woman’s back by Henri Matisse sold Wednesday for nearly 49 million dollars, setting a new record for the French impressionist.
Measuring 74.5 inches (189.2 cm), “Nu de dos” was the star of the auction at Christie’s in New York.
It went under the hammer just a day after rival Sotheby’s auctioned an Amedeo Modigliani painting for a record 69 million dollars.
“Nu de dos, 4 etat (Back IV),” had been estimated to sell for between 25 and 35 million dollars, before a bidding war sent the price spiraling to 48,802,500 dollars.
A rare, two-stone ring set a new record price per carat for a blue diamond at auction when it sold for $15.7 million to an Asian collector.
The ring features a 9.87 carat colorless triangular-shaped diamond paired with a triangular 10.95 carat “Fancy Vivid” blue diamond, the largest such blue diamond of this cut ever offered at auction.
The jewel had been bought in Rome in 1972 for $1 million, which is the equivalent of about $5 million today, Christie’s auction house said.
Artwork from the European branches of the collapsed US investment bank Lehman Brothers will go under the hammer in London next month in a two-million-pound auction, administrators said Sunday.
Works by Lucian Freud and Gary Hume will figure at the sale at Christie’s auction house on September 29, which comes two years after the bank’s demise.
“We think that there are many people around the world who would like to acquire some art with a Lehman connection,” said administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers.
On September 28th Christie’s in London will offer an incredible collection of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage during its Interiors: Style & Spirit sale.
Over 20 original pieces from the famed French luxury goods house dating from the late 19th century to the 1940s will go on the block.
Princess Diana’s family has sold an important Old Master painting by Peter Paul Rubens for nine million pounds at auction.
“A Commander Being Armed For Battle”, which is thought to depict the 16th-century Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, was sold to an anonymous bidder at Christie’s auction house in London on Tuesday.
The painting, completed between 1612-1614, used to hang in Althorp which is the ancestral seat of Diana’s family and the late princess’s childhood home.
A porcelain sign that once marked the intersection of Wall and Broad streets fetched $116,500 at Christieâ€™s in Manhattan yesterday.
The seller, Kevin Lessin, bought the vintage sign about 25 years ago from a dealer liquidating the estate of a collector of New York memorabilia.
The sign consists of two enamel plaques set crosswise, with Broad above Wall in white letters on a cobalt-blue background.
A sculpted stone head by artist Amedeo Modigliani sold at Christie’s in Paris on Monday for euro 43.2 million, breaking the record for a work by the Italian artist.
The sculpture dated from between 1910 and 1912 and had been estimated at between four and six million euros.
“It’s a record for a work by the artist in any category”, including paintings and sculptures, said Christie’s, which organised the sale.
A painting by leading Indian artist Syed Haider Raza sold for almost 2.4 million pounds in London on Thursday, setting a record for a modern Indian work.
“Saurashtra”, dated 1983, was estimated to fetch between 1.3 and 1.8 million pounds, but finally sold for 2,393,250 pounds including buyers’ premium.
The painting belonged to a key period in Raza’s career when he began to integrate elements of his Indian childhood and cultural heritage into his paintings.
A painting of water lilies by French impressionist Claude Monet is expected to fetch up to 40 million pounds when it is auctioned off in London.
The painting, will star among dozens of modern masterpieces this month in what is being billed as the most valuable art auction ever held in the city.
Painted in 1906, the work is part of the French Impressionist’s iconic Nympheas series and was included in his historic exhibition in Paris three years later.
A huge collection of diaries, letters and even a pristine cigar belonging to Winston Churchill was up for auction in London Wednesday.
The sale, which is expected to raise around one million pounds, is being billed by Christie’s as part of the most important private Churchill collection in the world.
It features his engagement diary for 1939 to 1945 which records meetings with leaders including US President Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin of Russia and Britain’s King George VI. It could fetch up to 120,000 pounds.
A 1932 Pablo Picasso painting of his mistress has sold for $106.5 million, a world record price for any work of art at auction.
“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,” which had a pre-sale estimate of between $70 million and $90 million, was sold at Christie’s auction house on Tuesday evening to an unidentified telephone bidder.
The Spanish master’s painting eclipses the record set in February, when Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” sculpture sold in London for 104.3 million.
In a bold recognition of the world’s fastest-growing auction market, Sotheby’s recently hoisted China‘s flag at the most conspicuous spot outside its New York headquarters.
The flag now flies between those of the US, UK, France, and Switzerland, where the auction house has established its core client base.
“We proposed it. To my great surprise, not only was the Chinese flag hoisted, it was hoisted in the middle,” Kevin Ching, chief executive officer of Sotheby’s in Asia, told AFP.
Hong Kong has become the world’s third largest auction hub after New York and London, thanks to the rising political and economic prowess of China.
A Palm Beach billionaire has uncorked a suit charging Christie’s auction house is in cahoots with counterfeit wine sellers.
William Koch is still steaming about four bottles of wine supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson that he bought for more than $300,000, which allegedly turned out to be fakes.
He’s already sued the seller – and now he’s trained his sights on the auction house, claiming it knew the Bordeaux was bogus.
A Picasso painting owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Art Foundation, which was at the centre of a dispute about its Nazi-era history, is to go under the hammer.
Lloyd Webber — composer of musicals like “Cats” — originally announced his intention to sell “Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto” for charity in 2006.
It was later withdrawn from auction after a claim that a previous owner, German-Jewish banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, had sold it under duress from the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930s.
But von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s descendants reached an out-of-court settlement in the US in January with the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, which is selling the picture, allowing it to retain ownership.
A Picasso masterpiece unseen in public for 43 years fetched more than twice its expected price at auction – going for Â£8.1million at last nightâ€™s Christieâ€™s sale.
Tete de Femme (Jacqueline), a 1963 portrait of the artist’s second wife, had not been seen in public since 1967 and was expected to fetch Â£4million.
Jacqueline had an unusually short neck and it is said that Picasso would jokingly exaggerate its size in his portraits – as in this elongated example.
Gucci has always been vigilant to crack down on counterfeiting and trademark infringement, but now they’re taking a new angle on brand protection.
On January 18, 2010, Gucci and Christieâ€™s will launch â€œGucci Collector: Presented by Christieâ€™sâ€â€” the very first Gucci-certified online destination for authenticating and appraising vintage Gucci products.
A dedicated section on www.christies.com will allow owners to upload photos of their vintage items and submit an appraisal request.