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Strong results for Christie’s in 2021


The auction house is dedicated to achieving and maintaining a more equal and diversified reputation

By IANSlife

January 7, 2022 (IANSlife) Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s Chief Executive Officer, commented,"We are pleased with our 2021 achievements. Beyond our auction and private sales results, which are exceptional, Christie’s has also made a breakthrough in new sales formats and categories, NFTS in particular. They have allowed us to showcase works by new, emerging, and under-represented artists and to reach out to a new audience of younger clients. We have also made great progress on other priorities, with important investments in Asia and with our commitments to becoming carbon net zero by 2030 and to building and sustaining a more equitable and diverse profile for our company. Growth, innovation, and responsibility remain at the forefront of our objectives for 2022. "

Christie’s full-year highlights

Total Sales by category

Total projected 2021 global sales by category, including (live and online) auctions and private sales:

  • 20/21 (Impressionist, Modern, Post-War, Contemporary, Design, Prints, Photography):

            $5,050 million (up +57% from 2020)

  • Luxury (Jewellery, watches, handbags, wine):

$980 million (up +153% from 2020)

  • Classics (Old Masters, Russian Art, Iconic Memorabilia, Antiquities, Decorative Arts):

$570 million (an increase of 62% over 2020)

  • Asian and World Art (Asian, African, Oceanic, Islamic Art):

$500 million (an increase of 56% over 2020)


Christie’s offered the top two most valuable artworks sold at auction in 2021: Pablo Picasso’s monumental masterpiece Femme assise près d’une fenêtre for $103.4 million and Basquiat’s In This Case for $93.1 million, both highlights of Christie’s inaugural 20/21 category sales in New York this May.

In November, the Cox Collection, one of the greatest privately held collections of Impressionist art to be offered at auction, featuring three works by Van Gogh from the end of the artist’s lifetime, was 100% sold for $332,031,500. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles purchased Gustave Caillebotte’s Jeune homme à sa fenêtre from the Cox Collection for $53 million, the highest value work bought by a museum at auction this year.

Non fungible tokens

In 2021, Christie’s launched the world’s NFT market at auction and has helped to propel this new category into a powerful force for the future of the global market. Christie’s contemporary art 2021 sale total included 8% of NFT sales.

Sales of the more than 100 NFTs sold by Christie’s in 2021 attracted new and younger collectors, 74% of whom were new buyers to Christie’s; Christie’s first NFT sale in London took place in October; and in November

Partnerships with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Gucci, and collectibles behemoth Superplastic are among the NFT's other highlights.The first-ever NFT sale in Asia, hosted by Christie’s in its No Time Like the Present online auction,

The first-ever on-chain NFT auction, curated by Christie’s and hosted by OpenSea, achieved $3.5 million in December.

Luxury (Jewels, Watches, Handbags, Wine)

Luxury at auction and through private sales reached almost $1 billion in 2021, marking a strong rebound compared to previous years.Auction sales totaled a 73% increase over 2020.

Sales were led by the Sakura diamond in Hong Kong, weighing 15 carats, the largest purple pink diamond ever offered at auction..

Watches: The most expensive watch sold online in Dubai for USD $1,590,000; Christie’s sale in November in Geneva was 100% sold, highlighted by the first Rolex Deep Sea Special No. 1 Also in November, at Christie’s, more than 800 bidders and viewers participated in Geneva’s ONLY WATCH, the prestigious charity auction.

Handbags: Hermès Himalaya Diamond Kelly 28 became the most valuable handbag ever sold at auction.

Wine: sales achieved a very solid 93.6% sold by lot, led by multiple 100% sold sales, and saw the largest wine auction ever held at Christie’s King Street in December.

Plus, Michael Jordan’s game-worn and signed Air Jordan Nike Sneakers sold for USD $375,000 and a SUPREME Branded Pin Ball Machine sold for $52,000.



  • In 2021, total auction sales (live and online) in the Americas a +92% increase over 2020.
  • American buyers contributed 35% to Christie’s global auctions in 2021.

2021 highlights in Christie’s Americas include the Spring and Fall Marquee 20/21 sales, which proved to be a successful format that accurately predicted clients' tastes by offering diverse artists.

2021 saw exceptional results for single-owner collection sales across multiple categories, from Cox to Image World to Sydell Miller.

Christie’s Americas debuted a new hybrid salesroom in 2021, which hosted the return of in-person bidding in a global format.

The New York saleroom generated $50 million in sales, with proceeds to benefit charitable organisations including the New York Aids Memorial Fund.

EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

EMEA buyers contributed 34% to Christie’s global auctions in 2021.

The sale of Banksy's Game Changer for £16,758,000, the highest value work sold for charity this year at auction, with revenues to help healthcare in the UK, was one of the highlights for 2021 in London.

The enhanced global reach of Christie's Parisian auction room is reflected in the number of auctions held in 2021. By providing 24 private collections and a total of 7,340 pieces, the auction created a total of 62 new global auction records.

This is also the greatest total for any Christie's France collection sold in the last decade. Christie's France sold 50% of the properties it presented in 2021 to online bidders.


Highlights from 2021 in Asia: This year, the Hong Kong saleroom alone achieved a record for Christie's Asia's highest ever total achieved auction, this fall with combined sell-through rates of 90%, demonstrating market strength in Asia; Basquiat's Warrior became the most valuable western work ever offered in Asia

Four sales in December drew 1.8 million livestream viewers as Christie's Asia's highest ever auction total for 20th and 21st Century Art; after the Hong Kong and Shanghai 20/21 art and Luxury exhibitions, the number of clients buying at Christie's Asia's Private Sale increased significantly.

Christie's made its debut at Shanghai's China International Import EXPO (November) with the Radiance show, which featured 11 works by Basquiat and was held in conjunction with Shanghai Art Week.

When Christie's moves its Hong Kong offices to The Henderson, Zaha Hadid Architects' iconic and sustainably built tower in the city's luxury centre, it will open its first year-round saleroom and state-of-the-art gallery space in Asia in 2024. Christie's Shanghai office and galleries are relocating to BUND ONE this spring, with the first Shanghai sales taking place in March alongside those in London.

Responsible Culture

As a firm and via the art and objects we sell, Christie's is dedicated to achieving and maintaining a more equal and diversified reputation. This year, female artists set 66 records, while BIPOC artists set 47. The ongoing collaboration with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair has enabled us to support new artists through exhibitions hosted at Christie's galleries and an online platform for the fair on Christie's new 20/21 department and nighttime sales format for art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, which debuted in May, has remained a forum for underrepresented artists. The auctioneer staff in the 20/21 category is now evenly split between male and female colleagues throughout all salerooms, including our marquee evening events.

Christie's, in collaboration with the Gallery Climate Coalition, staged a global series of philanthropic sales of works contributed by modern artists to benefit environmental charity ClientEarth in 2021, generating USD$6.1 million to date, with two more sales scheduled in 2022.




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