TOP 3 MOST EXPENSIVE
Christie's: Fine Art Auctions
Christies is the world's largest auctioneer with auction sales in excess of $6.3 billion (2007), the highest in art auction history. The firm has 85 offices in 43 countries and 14 salerooms around the world including London, New York, Los Angeles, Geneva, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. Recent expansion into emerging markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, has led to successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Dubai, and Moscow.
Established in 1766, the firm organized the great auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and remains the leading global salesroom for beautiful products in many areas including fine art painting and sculpture, decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, cars and more.
Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890)
By Vincent Van Gogh.
$82.5 million (1990)
Founded in London by James Christie the Elder (1730-1803), on 5 December 1766, the firm took advantage of the city's new found status as the major centre of the international art trade following the commercial weakness of Paris in the wake of the French Revolution of 1789, and rapidly established a reputation as the premier auction house in the British capital. The friend of many artists and master craftsmen, such as the painter Thomas Gainsborough, the portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds and the furniture maker Thomas Chippendale, James Christie set up premises in Pall Mall which rapidly became a gathering place for art collectors, dealers and other leading lights in society. In addition, the venue hosted the annual exhibitions of The London Royal Academy of Arts for 13 years until 1779. After 1803, the firm was run by James Christie the Younger (1773-1831), an expert in ancient Greek sculpture and Greek pottery. In 1823, the firm relocated to it's present London headquarters at 8, King Street, St James's Square.
TOP IRISH ART PRICES
IRISH FINE ARTS
Later, after the death of James Christie the Younger, his two sons, James Stirling and George Henry, joined with William Manson and his brother Edward Manson to form, Christie, Manson and Woods. Since 1778, the firm has handled the sales of many historic collections, such as: the sale of Sir Horace Warpole's Art Collection to Catherine the Great of Russia (1778); the contents of Sir Joshua Reynold's studio (1794); Madame Du Barry's jewels (1795), the Stowe House Collection (1848); the Hamilton Palace sale of paintings (1882); and the Sir George Drummond Collection (1919); In 1973, the firm went public. In 1999, it was taken into private ownership by French industrialist François Pinault.
Christie's World Records
Christie's is currently the world's largest auction house by revenues, and excels in the field of both modern art and contemporary art. It has handled: the sale of the Ford Collection of Impressionist Paintings (1980); the first sale of international art in Beijing, China (1995); the famous Archimedes Palimpsest (1998), and in addition has sold personal possessions belonging to a host of famous celebrities and artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, and Diana Princess of Wales, to name but a few.
MEANING OF ART
WORLDS TOP ARTISTS
In November 2006, May 2007, and June 2007, the company hosted the five highest grossing art auctions of all time.
In May 2008, the Impressionist masterpiece Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas by Claude Monet, was auctioned for $80.4 million, a world record for a work by Monet.
Other Record Auction Prices
Third highest price paid at auction for a work of art: Adele Bloch-bauer II (1912) by Gustav Klimt. Sold by Christie's New York, November 2006, for $87.9 million.
Fifth highest auction price paid for a work of art: Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890) by Vincent Van Gogh. Sold by Christie's New York in 1990, for $82.5 million - a world record at the time.
Third highest price paid at auction for a post-war work of art: Green Car Crash (1963) by Andy Warhol. Sold by Christie's New York in 2007, for $71.7 million.
Portrait de l'Artiste Sans Barbe (1889), self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh. $71.5 million at Christie's New York, in 1998.
Femme aux Bras Croisés (1902), by Pablo Picasso. $55 million at Christie's New York, in 2000.
In 2000, allegations surfaced of price-fixing between Christie's and its deadly rival Sotheby's. Following the confession and cooperation of a senior Christie's employee, the firm was granted immunity from prosecution in the United States. However, several senior executives from Sotheby's were fired, while both Alfred Taubman, the largest shareholder of Sotheby's at the time, and CEO Diana Brooks were convicted of conspiracy.
Irish Art Auctions
Christie's has achieved numerous record-breaking sale-prices for works by Irish artists, including:
Three Studies for a Self Portrait,
by Francis Bacon.
Version No 2 of Lying Figure
with Hypodermic Syringe, by Francis Bacon.
Study from the Human Body, Man
Turning on the Light, by Francis Bacon.
Portrait of George Dyer Staring
into a Mirror by Francis Bacon.
The Whistle of a Jacket, by Jack B Yeats, was sold by Christie's London in May 2001, for £1.4 million.
The Bridge at Grez, by Sir John Lavery, was sold by Christie's London in December 1998, for £1.4 million.
Bowl, Eggs and Lemons, by William Scott. Sold at Christie's London, June 6 2008, for £1,071,650.
The Honeymoon, by Sir John Lavery. Sold at Christie's London, May 2006, £915,200.
In addition to its auctioneering activities, the firm also maintains an important educational division, called Christie's Education, which runs accredited colleges in London and New York offering Masters and Undergraduated Degree courses in Early European Art (Antiquity, Middle Ages and Renaissance); Fine and Decorative Arts (15th Century to the mid-19th Century); Modern and Contemporary Art; Postmodernist Art; and the History of the Art Market, to name but a few.
Christie's Images is the firm's picture library, which owns a multi-million item archive of fine and decorative art images, consisting of items auctioned in its sales rooms around the world.
Art Loss Register
In association with Bonhams (the third largest auctioneer after Sotheby's and Christie's) as well as members of the insurance industry and various art industry associations, Christie's is a shareholder in the London-based organization Art Loss Register (ALR). Founded in 1991, the ALR is the worlds largest privately-owned international database of lost and stolen art, antiques and collectibles. It offers recovery and search services to private individuals, collectors, insurance companies and law enforcement agencies. Reportedly, the ALR has helped to recover over 1,000 works of art worth over $150 million.