2017 in numbers…


During December, Artprice looks back at some of the key figures that representing art market highlights during 2017. Here is a selection on the first semester.

From 1 to 20 years

Firstly, 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum (one of the five museums of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation) located in the Spanish Basque country, and secondly, the opening of one of the world’s most anticipated museums: the Abu Dhabi Louvre last November.

A treasure for 200 million dollars

Leonardo da Vinci was already in the news at the start of the year when his Lady with Ermine was acquired by the Polish government for just $200 million as part of the famous Czartoryski collection. With hindsight, the $200 million paid looks incredibly modest considering the quality of the collection that included masterpieces by Rembrandt, Raphaël, Dürer, Renoir, François Clouet, and Pieter Brueghel… among others.

$774,500 for a Hockney

This was the price paid for David HOCKNEY’s Steps with Shadow F (Paper Pool 2) (1978) at Phillips on January 19 in London. At almost 80 years of age, the British painter posted the first strong result of 2017 and confirmed his secondary market prestige ahead of the major retrospectives he enjoyed later in the year.

$59.3 million for a Klimt

On 1 March 2017, Gustav KLIMT’s Bauerngarten – an outstanding floral landscape measuring 110 x 110 cm – reached $59.3 million, generating a superb capital gain since the painting was purchased for $5.3 million in November 1994 as part of a major assignment at Christie’s in London.

$332.8 million: a summit for Asian art

15 March 2017 was a milestone in Asian art auction history: Christie’s in New York offered a parchment roll entitled Six Dragons by CHEN Rong (1189-1258), a Chinese artist active in the 13th century. The roll – carrying an an estimate of $1.2 -1.8 million – fetched no less than $49 million, becoming the most expensive Chinese artwork ever sold outside the country. The sale of the Six Dragons parchment was the climax of the Asian week in New York that concluded with a record sales turnover for Christie’s of $332.8 million.

$289 million: another record for Christie’s

On 15 May 2017, Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art sale generated 289 million, the best Impressionist & Modern Art sales total for François Pinault’s auction house in ten years, and substantially better than Sotheby’s total of $174 million from the equivalent sale.

100 years after Degas

Christie’s marked the centenary of Edgar DEGAS’s death by selling 55 early drawings from the artist’s family on 23 March 2017 in Paris. These studio drawings included studies of antiques, nudes, family portraits and other drawings in the styles of Mantegna, Rembrandt, Perugino, Michelangelo, Poussin and Géricault, none of which had ever been sold before.

+55% capital gain for Picasso

Pablo PICASSO’s Femme assise, robe bleue (1939) fetched $45 million at Christie’s New York just five years after being acquired for $29 million (2012) at Christie’s in London, generating a handsome return of +55%.