In unison, the major auction houses have reported record sales. For Sotheby's and Phillips, it was even the best results in the company's history. At Sotheby's, annual revenues amounted to an impressive $ 7.3 billion, 71 percent more than in the previous year, 26 percent more than in 2019. At Christie's, it was $ 7.1 billion, a result that is 54 percent higher than in 2020 and 22 percent higher than in 2019. Phillips also exceeded the pre–pandemic level with revenues of $ 1.2 billion - by a whopping 32 percent. Just with the backlog of bidders who could not or did not want to invest in the first phase of the Covid crisis, the houses do not want to explain this. The magic word is digitalization. This has not only increased the proportion of online auctions quickly and effectively and thus satisfied the demand in uncertain investment times, but has also reached large new and above all affluent customer groups for art and luxury goods with new offers such as non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment.International Auctions 2021 : The most expensive works of art
People like, for example, the 31-year-old Chinese tech billionaire Justin Sun, who bought Alberto Giacometti's sculpture "Le Nez" for 62 million dollars at Sotheby's in New York in November. Sun is the founder of the cryptocurrency platform TRON. In March, he was narrowly defeated in the bidding competition for the most discussed top lot of the year: the NFT for Beeples digital collage "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" was awarded to the 33-year-old Indian "Metaverse king" and digital art collector Vignesh Sundaresan for 60.25 million dollars at Christie's in New York - who, incidentally, says himself, investments in such tokens, i.e. certificates of ownership stored encrypted on the blockchain for digital or other works are highly speculative. Sun, in turn, having brought the trophy of the first NFT sold for such a large amount, turned around and instead bought at Christie's a nude painting by Picasso and three self-portraits by Warhol. Cross-over between the genres and the hybridization of the market as virtual and physical, digital and analog, in short: art of all kinds act and collect in the metaverse – this is now the focus of great hopes.
Despite such developments that force even traditionalists to deal with blockchain technology, some old truths remain valid forever. For example, that "divorce" (divorce), "death" (death) or "debt" (debt) bring the most beautiful collections under the hammer. Soon last year, the War of the Roses between real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda forced the record auction of their collection at Sotheby's, from which four works made it into the most expensive ten works of art of the year: the said Giacometti, a Rothko, a Pollock and a Twombly. The counterpart at Christie's was the auction of the collection of the oil tycoon Edwin Cox, who died in 2020, whose passion was Impressionism and post-Impressionism. From it, Vincent van Gogh's picture of huts among olive trees rose to sixth place.Updated Date: 02 January 2022, 00:01