Auction Houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s Gear Up for New York Art Sales

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NEW YORK (REUTERS).- Buoyed by record results amid a dramatic art market recovery and an increasingly global clientele, Christie’s and Sotheby’s are gearing up for spring auctions with nearly $1 billion of art for sale. Last year proved one of the best with Christie’s posting a record $5 billion in sales and Sotheby’s making $774 million in revenue — six times more than 2009 and its second highest ever apart from 2007. It was a far cry from 2009’s dire drop in sales amid the global financial crisis. “We had not budgeted for such robustness last year,” said Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas. “It was rather amazing.” But he added that it is still a market where you can’t push prices — that doesn’t change. What has changed is the ascendance of the contemporary and post-war sector, which has nipped at and sometimes eclipsed the once indomitable Impressionist and modern arena.