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Art is about life and the art world is about money,” Damien Hirst famously said. And with the European Fine Art Foundation estimating $57.3 billion in global art sales last year, his observation has never rung more true. But as art prices soar, ensuring the authenticity of one’s artwork (read: its value) is becoming an increasingly muddled and costly affair.

Four years ago, the Andy Warhol Foundation dissolved its authentication board, the official arbiter holding sway over which works are certified as those of the artist’s and those that are not.

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For the fifth consecutive year, Christie’s has beaten the annual art sales record, clocking up £5.1 billion ($8.4 billion dollars) of sales during 2014, which is up 12 percent on 2013. The figure includes private (as opposed to public) sales of £916 million, and online only sales of £21.4 million. But the majority was for good old-fashioned public auction sales (up 10 per cent to £4.2 billion).

Of the many categories of sale Christie’s holds, the largest by far is for post-war and contemporary art, the driving engine of the auction market. Sales in this category at Christie’s rose by 33 per cent last year to £1.7 billion ($2.8 billion), accounting for an extraordinary 40.5 per cent of public auction sales.

Published in News
Friday, 16 January 2015 11:49

Art from the 1960s Dominates Contemporary Sales

Having noticed the growing number of works created in the 1960s that have begun to dominate the Contemporary art sales, we asked the good people at Artnet to provide us with enough data to see better how 1960s works have come into their own. Artnet looked at the top 1000 works for each year between 2000 and 2014, then they gave us the works created in the 1960s that appeared on those lists. Karolina Prawdzik turned that data into these charts.

The chart above shows the share of the top 1000 works that were created in the 1960s. Remember that many of Contemporary art’s blue chip artists did their seminal work in the decade: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, and Yves Klein.

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The art market is still crackling. Christie's International PLC said Tuesday it sold $4.5 billion of fine and decorative art during the first half of the year, up 22% from the same period a year ago—and representing a record high for the privately held company based in London. Christie's total included $3.6 billion in auction sales and $828 million in privately brokered art sales. Its private sales were up 16% compared with the first half of 2013.

Rival Sotheby's said it auctioned $3.3 billion in art during the first half, up 29.4% from the year before. The New York-based auctioneer will release consolidated totals next month.

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