Phillips auction house gave the art world a glimpse of its financial situation today by releasing sales results for the first half of 2021.
The house, which moved to a new bespoke headquarters on Park Avenue in New York, said it had revenue of $542.7 million in the first six months of the year, an increase 25% compared to the same period in 2019.
Private sales totaled $90.7 million, which the house says represents a 107% increase from 2019.
Meanwhile, auction sales also rose, albeit to a lesser extent, by 15% to a reported total of $452 million from 2019.
Homes have generally used 2019 as a barometer of comparison, given that the shutdown that hit most of the world in March 2020 skewed that year’s overall numbers to the extreme.
The house said sales in Asia, another big growth engine, were up 107%.
In a statement, Phillips CEO Edward Dolman called the results “truly extraordinary.” He referred to several “white glove” sales, in which all the works at auction were sold, in New York, Geneva and Hong Kong which he said demonstrated “a great sense of optimism and confidence in the market”.
“There’s a palpable energy around the next generation of artists, and this season has produced soaring artist records for emerging artists who are making a big impact in our time,” added the Phillips Global President. , Cheyenne Westphal.
Overall, auction houses have benefited from the growing demand for art and luxury items since the start of the pandemic. Overall, the three major auction houses said private sales had also been extremely busy.
Part of the boom stems from a rapid shift to hybrid and online auctions, which have attracted new buyers from around the world looking for everything from watches to Basquiat paintings and of course NFTs.
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