Christie’s Trumps Sotheby’s in Art and Luxury Sales in 2022

Christie's Made an Absolute Sale Record in 2022 of $8.4 Billion, with This Breaking Sotheby's Record of $8 Billion.

Dec 20, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
A man looks at Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn during Christie’s 20th and 21st Century Art press preview. AFP/Angela Weiss


Christie’s sets a new record in the art industry with $8.4bn. Last year, Sotheby’s reported its largest full-year sales in the company’s 277-year history. On the other hand, this year Sotheby’s result shows the institution made $8bn. Also, Christie’s sales include $7.2bn of the total and private sales $1.2bn.


Christie’s Easily Topped the $7.1 billion From 2021

Sotheby’s and Christie's Auction Houses
Sotheby’s and Christie’s Auction Houses


Christie’s easily topped the $7.1 billion it made in 2021 as the art world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. “In 2022, despite a challenging macro-environment, Christie’s achieved highest ever global sales,” chief executive officer Guillaume Cerutti said. With this, she referred to economic challenges sparked by inflation and the war in Ukraine.


For both Christie’s and Sotheby’s single-owner collections were key. At Christie’s its strong results were in large part due to its show stopping Paul Allen’s sale. The sale set an all-time high for a single-owner collection. The auction of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s collection in New York raised an $1.62bn (£1.42bn) including premium. Other collection highlights were the Ann and Gordon Getty collection and the Hubert De Givenchy sale in Paris.


leonardo da vinci salvator mundi
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” at Christie’s auction, was stored in Geneva Free Port, Peter Nicholls/Reuters, 2017, via Newsweek


“It’s an absolute record, not only for Christie’s, but also for the art market.” So said Guillaume Cerutti, the auction house’s chief executive. “We are in a challenging macro environment, but these figures show the resilience of the art market.” Also, while the Sotheby’s had its focus on real estate and car auction, Christie’s remained “pure”. “Here, we focus on art and luxury, which are our primary businesses”, Cerutti added.

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For Sotheby’s, three single-owner collections totalled more than $100m each (David M Solinger, Sir Joseph Hotung, The Macklowe Collection). Also, single owner sales accounted for $800m of its fine art auction total.


Sotheby’s Has Better Sales in Asia, Then Crhistie’s

monet auction water lilies christies modern art
Auction of Monet’s Water Lilies at Christie’s, New York, 2018, via Architectural Digest, full video here


Charles F Stewart, Sotheby’s CEO, spoke about the sales. “The flight to quality in 2022 led to sustained demand for blue-chip masterpieces – whether in established or new categories, such as classic cars or collectables.”


Asia remains a large growth market, but Christie’s sales were actually slightly down on the previous year. It’s estimate is $833m (£700m) (down 20% in US$ and 8% in £ vs 2021). However, even with this dip in sales, it was its third highest year for Christie’s in Asia. At Sotheby’s, despite the decrease in overall fine art and luxury sales, it reported continued growth in Asia.


Auction sales in Asia were $1.1bn. This result matches the company’s 2021 all-time-high record, and it plans further expansion. Next year, Sotheby’s will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in Asia, and in 2024 will open a new 24,000 sq ft location in Hong Kong. The multi-storey building will incorporate an exhibition space, and salerooms, galleries and a café.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.