Christie's rides art boom in India, China

The Economic Times

LONDON : Auction house Christie’s says it has recorded a 63% growth entirely due to the emergence of Indian and Chinese buyers of both their own art and western art. Christie’s total worldwide sales in the first half of this year amounted to £1.8 billion, a rise of 10% on the same period last year.

That includes both auction sales and private treaty sales. It sold 457 works for more than half a million pounds each, compared with 430 sold in the same period last year.

Europe and Britain comprised £837 million in sales, and the in the US £631 million, Asia and the Middle East contributed £179 million, and Dubai reported separately contributed £20 million, according to the ‘Financial Times’.

Artist records were established, including for 38 Japanese artists, 10 Indian artists, eight Chinese artists and 11 Korean artists. Ed Dolman, the chief executive of Christie’s, said in a statement: “Christie’s robust results for the first half of 2008 reflect the ongoing strength of the international art market. Christie’s extensive international network has introduced an increasing number of buyers to the international art market from growth markets including Russia and the CIS States, the Middle East, India and China.”

Asian art that went under the hammer at Christie’s in this period is worth around £139 million, making it the third biggest sales category after Impressionist and modern art worth £497 million and Post-war and contemporary art worth £408 million.

According to, the auction of South Asian Modern/Contemporary Art realised £5.4 million, the highest total for the category in London.

The auction saw 12 artist records broken with Francis Newton Souza’s ‘Birth’ (1955) selling for £1.3 million setting a record price for an Indian modern and contemporary
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