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Leonardo boosts Christie's sales to record high
Agents speak on their phones with their clients while bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" during the Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale at Christie's on November 15, 2017 in New York City. The rediscovered masterpiece by the Renaissance master sells for an historic $450,312,500, obliterating the prevous world record for the most expensive work of art at auction. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP.


LONDON (AFP).- Sales at Christie's hit a record high last year of £5.1 billion (5.8 billion euros, $7.3 billion) boosted by blockbuster sales including Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", the auction house said on Friday.

The Britain-based auction powerhouse was responsible for sales of seven of 10 top works of art sold globally in 2017 including the Leonardo, which was bought for $450.3 million.

"2017 has been a year to remember for Christie’s both for its record growth and some unforgettable moments," said Guillaume Cerutti, Christie's chief executive officer.

At New York's November Impressionist and Modern evening sale, six auction world records were made, with Vincent Van Gogh's "Laboureur dans un champ" fetching $81.3 million and Fernand Leger's "Contraste de formes" making $70 million.

Auction sales led the growth in 2017 with a 38 percent increase totalling £4.6 billion while sales of art online, via Christie's live platform and online absentee bidding, reached £165.6 million.

New clients at Christie's provided a significant boost to the auction house, accounting for 31 percent of all buyers with online sales remaining their preferred point of entry.

"In 2018 we will focus on continuing to expand our global client base and improving services to our customers, especially online," said Cerutti.

Globally, European and Middle Eastern buyers led client spending, accounting for 37 percent while buying in the Asia region increased 39 percent to represent 31 percent of global spend.

Christies.com received 12 million unique visitors, with those visiting the website and app coming from over 190 countries.


© Agence France-Presse





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