Art sales top $64 billion, Sotheby’s says

Getty Images Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucien Freud"

Getty Images
Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucien Freud”

Francis Bacon wasn’t the only record-breaker in the art market last year.

The sale of Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucien Freud” for a record $142 million helped the broader global art market hit a record $64 billion in 2013, according to an investor report from Sotheby’s. That marked an 80 percent increase over 2012.

Sotheby’s said $23 billion in sales came from the U.S., $15.4 billion from China, $12.8 billion from England and $3.8 billion from France.

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Combined auction sales for Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the two biggest auction houses, totaled $11 billion, up 86 percent.

That jump marked a huge increase from the annualized growth rate of 6 percent over the past 10 years. But Sotheby’s suggests in the report that art is not in a bubble and will continue to grow with more millionaires and billionaires being created every year.

It said over the next 10 years, the population of multimillionaires in Asia will grow by 43 percent, and in Latin America by 42 percent.

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Sotheby’s said China will be the main growth engine for its art sales in coming years.

“The emerging Chinese market presents new opportunities to drive global sales by engaging and educating a growing population of wealthy collectors,” Sotheby’s said.

—By CNBC’s Robert Frank.

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