Sotheby’s shares surged 10 percent today as the auction house announced a rise in fourth-quarter and full-year results. Full-year net income was $118.8 million. This was a 60 percent jump from the year before at $74.1 million.
The U.S.-based publicly traded auction house said it was helped by the sale of museum-quality works by boldface-name artists during the year such as Picasso. (Last night it sold a Picasso portrait in London for the equivalent of $69.2 million.) It also benefitted from a 28 percent growth in private sales over the year to about $744.6 million, a four-year high. In addition, 23 percent of 2017 lots were bought by online bidders for a total $180 million, a 16 percent increase over the prior year.
“We had a very good year in 2017, and we are planning to have an even better one in 2018,” Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith commented in a statement.
He set out auction achievements including records for any diamond or jewel (the CTF Pink at $71.2 million); for Marc Chagall ($28.5 million); for any work by an American artist (Jean-Michel Basquiat for $110.5 million); for an English car (a 1956 Aston Martin for $22.6 million); and an English watch (a George Daniels `Space Traveller’ at $4.3 million).
Some of this list also reflected the presence of Asian clients, who spent a total of $1.6 billion during the year. For example, a Ru brush-washer fetched $37.7 million in Hong Kong; the Basquiat, an untitled work from 1982, was bought by Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa.
Smith was previously president and CEO of New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was announced as the replacement to William Ruprecht in 2015.
Fourth-quarter 2017 net income was $76.7 million, an increase of 17 percent.
Founder Louise Blouin: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/artists/louise-blouin--2953510