Key Takeaways from the New York November 2019 auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips
Posted by Pi-eX Research on 5th Dec 2019
Along with the New York May auctions, the New York November auctions are critical to the yearly results of auction houses. Composed of a mix of Contemporary, Impressionist, American and Latin American Art, with some additional Private Collections Sales and Curated Sales, the New York November auctions have in the past generated revenue of almost US $2.7 billion in just a few weeks.
This year the total revenue generated for Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips was smaller but still above US $1.5 billion.
Here are some of our key takeaways for the 2019 New York November auction sales:
- In 2019, the New York November sales saw a further decline from the year before, bringing this year’s revenue somewhere in between that of 2010 and 2012:
Total revenue for the 2019 New York November auctions plummeted by 27% versus the 2018 revenue, which itself came short of the 2017 revenue by 12%.
Most of the revenue decline was driven by the Impressionist evening sales, which only generated US $400m, about half the value it reached back in 2017 (US $750m).
Revenue from Contemporary evening sales also decreased slightly by 8% but this was nothing compared to the 37% drop experienced in 2018 versus the 2017 revenue.
The 2019 disappointing performance was reinforced by the absence of a strong separate private collection. While there were 4 separate private collection sales, they all together only generated US $5 m. This was insignificant compared to the 3 private collections sales of 2018 that generated over US $330m.
Finally, both the American and Latin American sales continue to be disappointing and far from the levels reached in 2013 and 2007, despite a little revival last year for American Art.
- Most of the decline in revenue was driven by evening sales, while Day Sales revenue showed a small increase
Evening sales continue to drive the ups and downs of the New York November sales as they represent a significant share of the total yearly revenue: 72% in 2019.
2019 however saw the share of revenue coming from Day sales increase as Day Sales’ revenue grew further by a modest but positive 5% versus the 2018’ sales, reinforcing the sustained growth of Day sales since 2016.
- Revenue by Auction House showed mixed results, with Phillips being the only auction house that managed to grow its revenue in 2019:
Phillips revenue from the November New York 2019 sales increased by a healthy 28% from US $117m in 2018 to US $149m in 2019. While Phillips remains a far away third player, this year’s results for Phillips are impressive, especially as both Christie’s and Sotheby’s 2019 revenue from the New York November sales decreased.
Sothebys’ decrease of revenue was a change versus the previous three years that saw small but ongoing growth.
For Christie’s, it was the second year of revenue decrease after the impressive growth the company experienced in November 2017, thanks to the extraordinary sale of the Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi painting at the Christie’s Contemporary Evening Sale on November 12th 2017.
For more insights on the New York November 2019 auctions, check out: